Artur Beterbiev And Joe Smith Jr. Set For Light Heavyweight War On June 18th
By: Hans Themistode
From the moment Joe Smith Jr. wrapped light-heavyweight gold around his waist in 2021, the Long Island native was anxious to face off against the best that the 175-pound division had to offer.
Although initially, Smith Jr. had been linked to pound-for-pound star Canelo Alvarez, he quickly rebuffed those original rumors. Instead, Smith Jr. had set his sights on facing Artur Beterbiev. Following several months of back and forth negations, the hard-hitting titleholder has officially landed the one bout he’s craved more than any other.
On June 18th, in Madison Square Garden’s Hulu Theater, Smith Jr. and Beterbiev will collide in the main event. Ticket sales for the event are set to go on sale on May 12th.
Earlier this year, Smith Jr. made the first successful defense of his newly won world title, pounding longtime journeymen Steve Geffrard, resulting in a ninth-round stoppage victory. With three world titles set to be on the line during his showdown against Beterbiev, Smith Jr. has even bigger aspirations. If the hard-hitting Long Islander were to emerge with his hand raised in victory on the 18th of June, he’ll look to become an undisputed world titlist.
But, regardless of Smith Jr.’s ambitions, Beterbiev will look to add another world title to his ever-growing collection. Following an idle 2020, the Russian native got back to his winning ways in 2021.
First up on his pugilistic calendar, was a showdown against Adam Deines. While the fringe contender proved to be durable, Beterbiev eventually found his stride, scoring the knockout victory in the 10th round. Next up for the heavy-handed unified champion, was a date with former Olympian Marcus Browne.
In an effort to keep away from Beterbiev’s knockout power, Browne boxed cautiously on the outside. To further complicate matters for the Russian, blood poured from a deep gash that opened near the top of his right eyebrow. Still, despite the severity of his wound, Beterbiev continued to push forward.
As Browne appeared to lose steam during the second half, Beterbiev dropped his man in the seventh and ninth, before ultimately scoring the stoppage win moments later. Presently, Beterbiev is pleased with his recent performances. However, he’s well aware of the dangers Smith Jr. presents in the ring.
Ultimately, while Beterbiev will prepare himself for what’s expected to be a grueling affair, he refuses to allow Smith Jr., or anyone else for that matter, come between himself, and his undisputed title dreams.
“I look forward to the challenge ahead of me,” said Beterbiev. “Joe Smith Jr. is a worthy champion, but I am coming to Madison Square Garden to add another world title to my collection. This fight will get me one step closer to becoming undisputed champion.”
Shawn Porter Believes Canelo Would Have No Issues Dealing With Artur Beterbiev: “I Think It’s A Relatively Easy Fight”
By: Hans Themistode
Artur Beterbiev has gained a reputation as being one of boxing’s biggest and most violent punchers. The current unified light heavyweight titlist has stopped every single one of his brave opponents to amass a perfect record through 17 fights.
Most recently, Beterbiev completed another stellar year. The Russian native scored a tenth-round knockout win over fringe contender Adam Deines. At the tail end of the year, Beterbiev registered a ninth-round stoppage victory over Marcus Browne.
Despite blood pouring down the face of Beterbiev profusely due to an inadvertent head butt, the unified champion pounded Browne into submission. Immediately following the win, Beterbiev revealed that if newly crowned undisputed super middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez were willing to move up in weight, Beterbiev would be more than willing to grant him a world title opportunity.
Still, while Beterbiev would be considered one of Alvarez’s most difficult opponents, former two-time welterweight champion Shawn Porter views their possible future showdown as a walk in the park for the pound-for-pound star.
“I think it’s a relatively easy fight, I really do,” said Porter on The Porter Way Podcast Clips.“I really think Canelo’s experience will allow him to do what he has to do fighting off the back foot. I don’t think Canelo is the kind of guy who’s just going to come into the ring with ‘this is who I am and this is what I do and I’m going to beat you.’ I think his experiences will allow him to accept the fact that I have to fight off my back foot a little bit more. This guy is a little bit bigger than me. He has a lot of power but I can make him walk into some stuff and I can beat to the punch every time.”
Before a hypothetical matchup between Alvarez and Beterbiev can come to fruition, the Mexican product will first attempt to achieve more history. With Alvarez becoming the first undisputed world champion in super middleweight history, he’s now set his sights on the cruiserweight division.
Eddy Reynoso, who both trains and manages Alvarez, was recently given the green light by the WBC sanctioning, to allow Alvarez to move up in weight to take on the winner of WBC champion Ilunga Makabu and Thabiso Mchunu who are set to face off on January 29th. Should Alvarez defeat the winner, he would become the first fighter of Mexican descent to win world titles in five separate weight classes.
Tony Bellew: “I Think Canelo Would Stop Beterbiev”
By: Hans Themistode
There’s a long list of violent punchers in the sport of boxing. But even with the likes of Deontay Wilder, Anthony Joshua, and Gervonta Davis at the forefront, none of those aforementioned names have been able to register knockouts in every single one of their ring appearances. However, Artur Beterbiev, the current WBC/IBF light heavyweight titlist, has been able to stop every opponent he’s faced in their tracks.
The hard-hitting Russian native once again placed his pernicious power on display this past weekend against highly ranked contender Marcus Browne. The two squared off in Beterbiev’s adopted hometown of Montreal, Canada, in the Bell Centre.
Early on, the American boxed well on the outside. He refused to engage in a long-drawn-out slugfest. Instead, he boxed and moved and tied up his man when need be. Still, despite performing well in the early goings, Beterbiev eventually found his rhythm. The 36-year-old broke down the former 175-pound interim titlist before stopping him in the ninth round.
With the win, Beterbiev has successfully gotten rid of all of his opponents before the sound of the final. Yet, despite proving that the judges are inconsequential to his success, former cruiserweight titlist Tony Bellew believes he’s seen several red flags.
Following Beterbiev’s win, whispers of a possible future showdown against undisputed super middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez have gotten louder. If Alvarez does in fact find himself standing across the ring from the Russian monster, Beterbiev would be considered the strongest opponent he’s ever faced.
Despite those claims, Bellew believes that a matchup between them would end before the final bell. This time around, however, Bellew is confident that it would be Beterbiev who finds himself staring up at the ceiling lights.
“I think Canelo would stop Beterbiev,” said Bellew to DAZN Boxing. “I’ve seen the warning signs there already, I’ve seen the shots that he can be hurt with.”
Alvarez, 31, is no stranger to facing larger men. Before wrapping every 168-pound world title around his waist, Alvarez moved up to the 175-pound weight limit in November of 2019. The Mexican star would go on to claim his fourth divisional world title against Sergey Kovalev, stopping him in the penultimate round.
Next up for the pound-for-pound star appears to be a date with destiny. Following his 11th round stoppage victory over Caleb Plant this past November, the Mexican native has set his sights on moving up even higher than the 175-pound weight limit to land a matchup between the winner of Ilunga Makabu and Thabiso Mchunu for the WBC cruiserweight crown. Should Alvarez become successful, he’ll become the first fighter of Mexican descent to win world titles in five separate weight classes.
If Alvarez does in fact decide to face Beterbiev, Bellew believes the Mexican stars punching power will be more than enough to carry him to victory.
“It did against Sergey Kovalev,” said Bellew as he dived into Alvarez’s punching power. “If it does with Kovalev then I think it will with Beterbiev but as I said, styles make fights.”
Andre Ward Rates Artur Beterbiev’s Recent Performance: “You Will See More Guys Trying To Fight Him Now”
By: Hans Themistode
Andre Ward has always revered Artur Beterbiev. The newly inducted Hall of Famer has marveled at the Russian’s punching power and durability. He’s also credited the unified light heavyweight titlist for having under-the-radar boxing ability.
But while Ward believes Beterbiev is arguably the best in his weight class, he’s also noticed a few alarming trends. At numerous points in Beterbiev’s career, he’s been plagued by inactivity. In 2017 and 2018, the Russian star stepped into the ring only once. In 2020, he failed to compete at all.
This year, Beterbiev has made two successful appearances in the ring. But, despite the uptick in activity, Ward believes that his most recent trip to the squared circle accentuated what could be Beterbiev’s steady decline.
This past weekend, in front of a jam-packed crowd at Bell Centre in Montreal, Beterbiev took on highly ranked contender Marcus Browne. Early on, the 31-year-old enjoyed mountains of success, boxing on the outside and countering when need be. Nevertheless, Beterbiev would eventually find his rhythm and go on to drop and later stop Browne in the ninth round.
Although Ward couldn’t quite pinpoint the unified star’s issue, he believes that his skills could be deteriorating.
“Beterbiev looks very beatable tonight,” said Ward on his social media account as he watched Beterbiev closely. “I don’t know if it’s his age or the layoffs but Beterbiev saw a lot of shots that he could not get off tonight.”
Beterbiev, 36, has experienced his fair share of difficulties in terms of getting marquee names into the ring. He has, however, expressed an interest in facing light heavyweight champions Joe Smith Jr. and Dmitry Bivol. In addition to those names, Beterbiev has kept a close eye on newly-crowned undisputed super middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez.
In Ward’s opinion, Beterbiev is still an excellent fighter. However, the days of him struggling to find top-level opposition are now officially over.
“You will see more guys trying to fight him now.”
Artur Beterbiev Ordered To Face Marcus Browne
By: Hans Themistode
It appears as though Artur Beterbiev (16-0, 16 KOs) has his next opponent currently lined up.
The unified light heavyweight champion has officially been ordered by Mauricio Sulaiman, President of the WBC sanctioning body, to take on Marcus Browne. The two sides will now have approximately 30 days to work out a deal before a purse bid is ordered on September 17th.
Browne (24-1, 16 KOs), who currently occupies the number one position in the WBC rankings, has battled inactivity as of late. After picking up the biggest win of his career against Badou Jack in January of 2019, Browne attempted to defeat another titleholder. This time, in the form of multiple division champion, Jean Pascal. The two would swap fists in early August of 2019.
With the former Olympian outboxing his man in the first few rounds, Pascal ducked low, clenched his fist, and fired an overhand right that floored Browne. Clearly stunned, Browne managed to climb back to his feet before hitting the deck twice more in the seventh.
Their contest would come to an abrupt ending in the following round due to a severe cut suffered by Browne due to an accidental headbutt. With more than three rounds of action, their contest went to the judges’ scorecards for a decision. Due to the three knockdowns scored by Pascal, Browne suffered the first defeat of his career as all three judges scored it 75-74 in favor of Pascal.
He’s since bounced back from that lone defeat. In his return to action earlier this year, Browne outpointed journeymen Denis Grachev. While he’s shown tremendous promise, a matchup against Beterbiev figures to be the most difficult of his career by far.
The hard-hitting Russian native unified light heavyweight titles against Oleksandr Gvozdyk in October of 2019. He’s recently gone on to defend those titles with relative ease earlier this year in mid-March, dropping and ultimately stopping Adam Deines in the 10th round.
Artur Beterbiev Unsurprisingly Stops Adam Deines
By: Hans Themistode
It was viewed as a grotesque mismatch on paper and it proved to be just that.
Unified light heavyweight titlist Artur Beterbiev (16-0, 16 KOs) had long been known for his concussive knockout power. However, his inability to actually step inside the ring had recently plagued him.
Coming into his showdown against mandatory challenger Adam Deines, many were wondering how the mostly unheralded fighter managed to work his way to the mandated position. With most giving him little to no chance of actually pulling off the upset, Beterbiev wasted no time in squashing any hopes Deines had from the very beginning.
The first round saw a more patient Beterbiev. He came out stalking his man and looked to land big shot early on. Deines, to his credit, was aggressive, he pushed the action and out-landed the long reigning champion. But just when Deines (19-2-1, 10 KOs) appeared to be banking the first round, Beterbiev landed what appeared to be a meaningless shot. That is until Deines went down from the seemingly inconsequential blow.
Deines managed to peel himself up off the deck and fight well but no matter what he threw in the direction of Beterbiev, the unified titlist moved forward with reckless abandon to land an assortment of his own shots.
For much of their contest, Deines moved just enough and punched just enough to allow himself to stay in the contest. With 17 months since his last ring appearance, Beterbiev appeared content with getting the rounds in.
But as the punishment began piling up, Deines began deteriorating.
As round ten rolled around, Beterbiev really turned on the pressure. He trapped his man against the ropes leaving him nowhere to go. Rather than allowing him to take a beating, the referee stepped in to put a halt to their contest.
Next up for the power-punching knockout artist is a date with the winner of Joe Smith Jr. and Maxim Vlasov. The two are slated to face off on April 10th, for the vacant WBO title.
Ranking The Five Best Opponents For Canelo Alvarez
By: Hans Themistode
The music is playing, but Canelo Alvarez is yet to find a dance partner.
The four division world champion has been in the market to find a suitable opponent, but no one has taken the bait. As of late, names such as Anthony Dirrell, John Ryder and Sergiy Derevyanchenko have reportedly been in the running.
While some of those names may gain the attention of fans, the vast majority of them have no interest in what they bring to the table. Regardless of COVID-19 preventing fans from entering arenas, Alvarez won’t be given a pass for facing a soft touch.
Although his promoter has already watered down his opposition for his September date by stating that Alvarez won’t be fighting a fellow champion, we’ve decided to come up with a list of our own. Since the Mexican star campaigns at three weight divisions, we’ve sprinkled a few names from each weight class to make our list more compelling.
So with that being said, here’s our list for the top 5 opponents that Alvarez should choose for his next contest.
5. David Benavidez
David Benavidez (22-0, 19 KOs) may only be 23 years of age, but the argument can easily be made that he’s the best fighter at 168 pounds. From a stylistic standpoint, Benavidez would be the toughest matchup for Alvarez. With a staggering seven inch reach, the pound for pound star would have a difficult time getting in.
At some point though, the shorter Alvarez will bulldoze his way inside, and when he does, how will Benavidez react? Also, does he have the experience to out box his man from the outside?
This matchup brings so many questions, but there’s only one way to answer them.
With two fights already in the books, it feels as though the score will never be settled between Canelo Alvarez and Gennadiy Golovkin (GGG). The reason behind it is simple, GGG seems to have gotten a raw deal.
Their first matchup in 2017 left most of the boxing world shaking their collective heads when it was announced a draw. Most believed GGG (40-1-1, 35 KOs) did more than enough to bring in the victory. Their rematch one year later was much closer, but most were inclined to score it either a draw, or a close win for GGG.
At the age of 38, the former unified middleweight champion has seen better days. And although most would believe that Canelo wins a third fight easily, the storyline and long lasting feud is good enough to see them do it one final time.
3. Demetrius Andrade
At this point, it’s becoming ridiculous. Two division world champion and current WBO middleweight belt holder Demetrius Andrade just can’t seem to land a big fight.
He’s always been regarded as one of the most talented fighters in boxing circles, but he has yet to get on the big stage to prove it. Andrade (29-0, 18 KOs) has been calling for a matchup with Alvarez for years now. Yet, the four division world champion has said on numerous occasions that Andrade is a boring fighter that doesn’t put any butts in seats.
Well, with COVID-19 currently running amuck, Andrade doesn’t need to be a draw. Even with Alvarez currently campaigning at 168, Andrade has said that he has no issue moving up in weight.
There has been a growing narrative around Alvarez. His resume looks impressive but most of the names associated with it were past their primes when he took them on. If Andrade were to hit the Alvarez sweepstakes however, that narrative no longer applies.
2. Jermall Charlo
There’s something about Jermall Charlo (30-0, 22 KOs) that leaves fans with more question marks than answers. He’s currently an undefeated world champion and former two division titlist.
His physique is intimidating and his fighting style makes you question the sanity of anyone who steps into the ring with him.
Through 30 career fights, he hasn’t come close to losing. His resume isn’t as deep as it probably should be, but he’s fought solid opposition. Julian Williams, Austin Trout and Matt Korobov were all handed one sided losses when matched up against him. With that being said, we still want to see more.
There is a growing belief that the Houston born Charlo is the best fighter at 160 pounds. His reign at 160 could be truncated however as he’s told multiple media outlets that he would move up in weight in order to get his hands on Alvarez.
The interest surrounding this matchup would be high, and the fans would run to their television screens in order to see who wins.
1. Artur Beterbiev
If Canelo Alvarez chooses any of the names on this list, then boxing fans will be beyond satisfied. But if for some reason, unified light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev (15-0, 15 KOs) is chosen, they’ll shed tears of joy.
For as great as the names associated with this list are, Alvarez would be favored against all them. Well, except for Beterbiev. The hard hitting knockout artist has never met a chin that he couldn’t dent. Alvarez however, is known for not only his impregnable defense but his iron will.
Unlike every other fighter on this list, Alvarez would have a noticeable disadvantage in terms of strength. The deck will be completely stacked against him from start to finish in this one. But that is exactly why it ranks number one. Canelo Alvarez is regarded by many as the best pound for pound fighter on the planet, but he can really stamp that notion with a win over Beterbiev.