When Joe Smith Jr. defeated Maxim Vlasov to win the WBO Light Heavyweight Championship in April 2021, the merger with WBC and IBF title holder Artur Betterbiev immediately became a Miss Matchup.
The two biggest boxers in boxing will meet at Madison Square Garden in the Hulu Theater in New York on Saturday (10 a.m. on ESPN / ESPN +, 6:30 p.m. on ESPN + with Prelim). As long as it lasts. The only boxing champion with a 100% KO percentage is Betterbive, according to Kaiser Sportsbook, and 8-1 for good reason.
Russia’s Betterbayev (17-0, 17 KO) is consistently at the top of the pound-for-pound list – if not in the top-10. He’s an accurate puncher who knows where and when to put his shots. , And that is the engine that carries the power to the next round.
Betterbiev won the title in October 2019 by Betterbiev, when he missed the enemy three times.
But Betterbeav is 37 years old and he showed insecurity when he was dismissed by Callum Johnson in the 2018 fight. And he’s inactive, competing only twice since defeating Gvozdic. And during that time Smith (28-3, 22 KO) has shown a lot of improvement.
Here are three things to look for in Saturday’s fight for three 175-pound titles:
Leading winners Dmitry Bivole or Canelo Alvarez will have to face
Whoever emerges by hand on Saturday will be just one championship short of becoming the undisputed light heavyweight champion of the world. The second belt, of course, belongs to Bevol, who upset boxing star Alvarez in May.
Despite the scorecard, Bevol-Lavarez was not so close and Lvarez wisely chose to fight Gennady Golovkin instead of a rematch with Bevol on September 17.
It wouldn’t be a surprise if Alvarez had another fight with Bivol next year. If he does, the match between the winner and the betterbearer (assuming he loses to Smith) immediately becomes one of the greatest fights in boxing.
Although Alvarez doesn’t weigh in at 175 pounds, the fight between Beaver and Betterbeav is a mouth-watering matchup featuring two of the best boxers in the world.
Bevol’s manager, Vadim Kornilov, said in May that the fight between Bevol and Betterbev was being discussed before Alvarez entered the matchup. There is no reason why they should not be seen again.
Betterbiv and Bevol in Kyrgyzstan are both good in style. Bivole prefers boxing from the outside and uses his shiny force, but he has shown against Alvarez that he can also punch together. Beterbiev likes to push in a more crowd-pleasing search-and-destroy style. And he also has a great blow.
The Beacons had already beaten Smith in 2019 and the fight was not so competitive. Smith outscored Beverly at the end of the 10th round, but otherwise dominated the 12th round.
Smith has a good jaw and a large right arm
If a 32-year-old man from Long Island, New York, prays against Betterbay, his success will depend on one or two umpires.
Smith is undoubtedly a heavy handed man, and he has been setting that big right hand hand with many improvements lately.
Smith’s most notable victory is his Bernard Hopkins’ KO, who sent the then-51-year-old by the ropes and into retirement. But since losing to Bivole, Smith has opened more eyes with former champion Alidar Alvarez’s ninth-round TKO best win.
And in that fight, Smith was so light on his feet, he chose to box and use force instead of fighting like before in his career.
He also tricked Jesse Hart into winning the 2020 decision.
Smith was knocked out in a six-round match in 2010, but has shown a steady chin against global opposition. He will need it against Betterbeav.
The power and pressure of BetterBive
Betterbiev Light has stood at the top of the heavyweight division – and for a number of reasons – for years. But nothing bigger than a combination of its strength and pressure-fighting, the exact jab and the underrated ring are tied together with the smart.
The Montreal-based boxer is incredibly strong in the clinch, and is hard to stop when he starts to fall to the side. Betterbive left Marcus Brown in a pool of blood in December.
Beterbiev is always able to find the sign and do not waste energy in the ring. Once he found the range with his exact job and began to cut the ring, it seemed almost impossible for him to cope.
Betterbive’s chin is the real question mark. Johnson, a hard-punching fringe contestant, left when they met, but Betterbive rallied for KO victory. Smith is undoubtedly a tougher puncher than Johnson – and a better boxer. And Smith has the shape and strength to handle Betterbeave from the inside.
It is doubtful that Smith will be able to overtake Betterbev in the 12th round, but he will have a chance to get his right-hander to change his fight. Of course, he must first overcome the piercing, power, and pressure of Betterbayev, a difficult puzzle that no one has come close to solving.