Pound-for-pound boxer Dmitry Bivol may well be "wasting some of his time" in boxing, according to Joe Smith Jr.
Just a few years after a knockout win over Bernard Hopkins that elevated his profile in 2016, Smith ran into the fire by booking a bout with Dmitry Bivol in 2019 but came unstuck and lost by decision.
Bivol has since gone on to upset Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez in one of the best performances and wins in boxing's modern era, however, he has only fought once since then, to Smith's upcoming opponent Gilberto Ramirez, and is in danger of becoming a sidelined figure.
For Smith, there seems to be a combination of trying to find the right fight, yet wasting some of his time doing so.
"It's probably tough for him to get fights as well as making sure he's getting the right fight, so, I mean, he's definitely wasting some of his time, but if they get the right fight at the right time, then maybe it'll be worth it," Smith told ProBox TV this week.
Bivol was linked to a Canelo rematch, yet the Mexican fighter signed a three-fight deal with Premier Boxing Champions and competes in a Showtime pay-per-view on September 30 against Jermell Charlo in Las Vegas. It is one of the year's big events.
Bivol, meanwhile, continues to search for his next dance partner.
The 32-year-old could take part in his own big event should he come to terms with fellow champion and light heavyweight rival Artur Beterbiev, yet that super fight continues to be talked about by fans and media rather than fighters and promoters.
"A lot of these fighters are taking so long to fight each other because you get one loss, you lose, and you're not worth anything anymore," Smith told us. "That's what it seems."
He added: "You want to get as many titles defenses and stuff as possible before you take those big chances and risk."
Smith said he wasn't too concerned with that scenario as he not only fought Bivol, but Beterbiev, too, losing by knockout last year.
He returns to the ring in a big bout at a catchweight within the cruiserweight limit, headlining a Golden Boy Promotions show in Las Vegas on October 7 against one of their key athletes 'Zurdo' Ramirez.
"Me, on another hand — I jump right into taking those risks, you know, trying to fight the best right away.
"Do I regret it? No, because light heavyweight was getting tough for me to make that division, and that weight. So I wanted to win those titles as quickly as I can, but just didn't work out."
Victory over 'Zurdo' next month, though, will line Smith up well for a shot at one of cruiserweight's four major championship belts.
It is an ambition he has following his WBO light heavyweight title win over Maxim Vlasov in 2021, which he defended once in 2022, before relinquishing it to Beterbiev in his second fight as champion.
DAZN will broadcast the Smith and 'Zurdo' fight.