Artur Beterbiev and Dmitry Bivol. Check out the best bookmakers for betting on boxing.
Talented and undefeated champions.
Bivol is business-like.
Both are undefeated.
Light heavyweight world champion (IBF, WBC) Beterbiev (18-0, 18 KOs) traveled to the Big Apple to face WBO holder Joe Smith Jr last weekend. Beterbiev was favored to win by 8-1 odds. But Smith entered the bout flying high with confidence, and his hometown crowd haling his every move.
Beterbiev muted both. Smith came out aggressively, as the Beterbiev team expected. He was hoping to catch the usually slow-starting Beterbiev with a game-changing punch. Beterbiev, impassive, dodged, parried, and moved. He let fly with a counter right that floored Smith for the first time in his career.
Smith got up wobbly but was down again a minute later, a confused expression on his face. Smith survived the round and hoped for something different in the next stanza.
Beterbiev removed all hope quickly. Near the two-minute mark, he trapped Smith on the ropes and unloaded. Smith crumbled to the mat, pulled himself up, and engaged, eating a three-punch combination that staggered him like a guy who had downed one too many.
He had. Referee Harvey Dock waved the fight off.
Beterbiev had fought like a calculating, cold-blooded assassin.
Bivol (20-0, 11 KOs) recently faced super middleweight champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez. Many picked him to lose.
Many were wrong.
He handled Alvarez, who hadn’t lost a fight since 2013, like a man fighting a boy. Bivol used his size and angles to jab Alvarez silly. He forced Alvarez to fight when the former pound-for-pound king didn’t feel like it.
His performance was systematic and convincing.
Beterbiev and Bivol should fight next, but not in today’s boxing. Beterbiev will throw hands with Anthony Yarde in London this fall. No clamoring for this one.
Yarde’s claim to fame is tangling with an over-the-hill Sergey Kovalev in 2019. He fought hard before being knocked out in round 11. His last ring appearance was seven months ago-he knocked out one Lyndon Arthur.
Artur had won their first go around. Yarde has been victorious in 22 of his 24 fights, scoring 21 knockouts. His resume is thin, but he likes his chances against Beterbiev.
“Yes, he’s the best light heavyweight in the world,” said Yarde, a witness to Beterbiev’s obliteration of Smith. “But even in this brief fight, I saw many ways to beat him. The man has serious power, but he’s not as fast as I expected. Check out the top new sportsbooks for betting on boxing.
“The key to beating Beterbiev is to be sharper, quicker, and more intelligent,” he added.
Trainer Joe Gallagher believes Yarde might try to box Beterbiev.
“Can he keep Artur Beterbiev at bay for 12 rounds?” Gallagher explained to secondsout.com, “There’s going to be a lot of leg movement.”
Boxing Beterbiev might be wiser, but as a two-time Olympian showed against Smith, he can box as well as punch.
After Beterbiev disposes of Yarde, we can discuss the Beterbiev versus Bivol matchup, the most intriguing light heavyweight title match since Michael Spinks and Dwight Muhammad Quai got it on in 1982.