Several boxing insiders are picking Callum Smith to beat Artur Beterbiev this Saturday in Canda.
Smith,33, is one of them.
“I’m confident in my own ability, and I feel I can beat him when I’m at my best. I believe the best version of me beats anyone in the world,” Smith told Boxing social last week.
He expanded on his feelings a few days later to sky sports.
“I know how good I am, I know how good I can be. Sometimes you don’t really get the opportunity to show that.”
So, how would he go about defeating the favored Beterbiev?
“I think you’ve just got to be smart,” Smith said.
“He’s a big puncher. But nothing in my career shows that my chin’s a bit suspect. I’ve always been very confident defensively. I believe I’m pretty tidy, and I can stay quite tight. I know the dangers.
“You can’t afford to take any silly shots,” he continued. “That’s the difference between a good fighter and a great fighter. It’s not how hard you can punch or how fast you are. It’s knowing when to punch, when not to punch, the mistakes you make – limiting them down.”
The laconic Beterbiev is also impressed by Smith.
“(Smith’s) a good fighter,” Beterbiev said to TheRing.com. “He has good experience in professional boxing. He’s tall. We’ll see.”
Sounds good as far as words go. Beterbiev is right. Smith IS a good fighter.
He’s lost only once in 30 professional fights. That one was to Canelo Alvarez – who controlled the 12-rounder from the opening bell. Smith lost his WBA super middleweight belt.
Roughly a year later (2021) after losing to Alvarez, Smith moved up to the light heavyweight division and flattened Gilbert Castillo Rivera in two heats. Eleven months later, he stopped Matthieu Bauderlique in four rounds. Smith made Bauderlique his 21st knockout victim. Smith looked good against the lesser competition in both fights.
Beterbiev, built like a bulldozer, has fought 19 times without a loss. Every one of his wins has been by knockout. Injuries have been a problem recently – causing lengthy absences from the ring. Beterbiev captured the light heavyweight title (IBF) six years ago. He picked up the WBA belt by stopping amateur rival and defending champion Oleksandr Gvozdyk in 2019.
In January 2022, he took the WBO strap from Joe Smith Jr., annihilating the working-class hero in less than five minutes. Last year, he traveled to cheery old London to fight local hero Anthony Yarde. Beterbiev, favored by as much as 9-1 by some oddsmakers, had his hands full. The muscular Brit stunned Beterbiev in round five and opened a cut over his left eye.
The slugfest continued in round eight until Beterbiev caught Yarde with a straight right – followed by another right that floored him. Yarde pulled himself up but wobbled. The referee stopped the fight.
Age and inactivity could be catching up with the soon-to-be 39-year-old Beterbiev, but will that be enough for Smith to prevail?
We’ll find out this Saturday.
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