Miami, FL - Rugged welterweight Antwone Smith, who has been on the verge of the world rankings in recent years, eyes his upcoming fight with Ronald Cruz as perhaps his last chance to get back into the big-time.
Smith and Cruz meet in a scheduled 12-round contest for Cruz' WBC Continental Americas title on Friday evening, Sept. 21, at the Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem. It is part of the NBC Sports Network Fight Series card. The NBCSN broadcast will begin at 9PM ET.
Joining Smith and Cruz in the televised triple-header: Gabriel Campillo, of Madrid, Spain, vs. Sergey Kovalev, of Chelyabinsk, Russia, 10 rounds, light-heavyweights; Charles Whittaker, of Georgetown, Cayman Islands, vs. Gabriel Rosado, Philadelphia, PA, 12 rounds, IBF junior middleweight eliminator.
"I'm ready and I feel this is my last opportunity to get the big fights I've wanted and worked for," Smith said. "Come Sept. 21 you all will see a very determined man in the ring."
"It is a dream fight on NBC (Sports Network). I'm very excited. I want to thank my manager Don Herron and my trainer Chills Davis for getting me prepared for this opportunity."
A pro since 2006, the 25-year-old Smith is 21-4-1, 12 K0s. Though he is only 3-3 in his last six fights, Smith has been in tough matches with Roberto Garcia, of Weslaco, TX, Kermit Cintron, of Reading, PA, and Lanardo Tyner, of Detroit, MI.
Smith's biggest wins have come against Henry Crawford, of Paterson, NJ, and Richard Gutierrez, of Miami, FL.
"Cruz better be in shape because I am," Smith said. "This is my last big shot. I'm going to put it all on the line; it's do or die."
The 25-year-old Cruz is 17-0, 12 K0s. He won the vacant WBC Continental Americas welterweight title in his last fight June 1 when he out-pointed Prenice Brewer, of Cleveland, OH, at the Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem.
Cruz currently is ranked No. 10 in the world by the WBC, No. 11 by the IBF.
In his only other fight in 2012, Cruz pounded out a 10-round decision over Allen Conyers, of the Bronx, NY, on Feb. 25 at Bally's Atlantic City.
The only foe common to both men is Martinus Clay, of Winston-Salem, NC. Smith and Cruz each beat Clay by knockout in 2010--Smith in five rounds, Cruz in three.
Four additional bouts complete the Sept. 21 card. First fight 7.15pm.
ABOUT SEPTEMBER 21
The Campillo-Kovalev and Cruz-Smith fights top a seven-bout card at the Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem. First fight is 7.15 pm. Tickets priced at $130 (luxury suites), $80 and $55 can be purchased through the offices of Peltz Boxing (215-765-0922), all Ticketmaster outlets (800-745-3000) or at the box office at the Sands Event Center (610-297-7414). Tickets also can be purchased online at www.peltzboxing.com, www.SandsEventCenter.com and www.Ticketmaster.com. In Bethlehem, tickets are available at Deja Brew, Inc., 101 West 4th Street (610-865-2739) and at Pronto Insurance Notary, 232 East 3rd Street (610-419-6790). NBC Sports Network will televise the Campillo-Kovalev and Cruz-Smith fights, beginning at 9 pm. The card is being promoted by Main Events and Peltz Boxing Promotions, Inc., in association with Sampson Boxing and the Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem.
Who will win? Wladimir Klitschko or Tyson Fury?