Saturday, July 2, 2022

Artur Beterbiev vs. Joe Smith Jr.: Fight prediction, undercard, odds, start time, preview for unification bout

Boxing’s run of huge clashes and multi-belt unifications continues on Saturday with what guarantees to be an all-action conflict between WBC and IBF mild heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev and WBO champion Joe Smith Jr. The bout goes down from Madison Square Garden’s Hulu Theater on Saturday night time (10 p.m. ET, ESPN).

Beterbiev (17-0, 17 KO) is likely one of the most feared punchers within the sport, having knocked out each man he has stepped into the ring with as an expert. He received the vacant IBF title in November 2017 with a knockout win of Enrico Kolling. Kolling almost grew to become the primary man to take Beterbiev to the scorecards, however the relentless stress of Beterbiev ultimately caught up as he scored the knockout with simply 27 seconds left within the combat.

Three fights later, Beterbiev added the WBC belt to his assortment with a stoppage of Oleksandr Gvozdyk in a highly-anticipated combat that noticed Beterbiev methodically break down an elite mild heavyweight. He has twice defended his unified titles for the reason that stoppage win over Gvozdyk.

“This is a very important fight for me. With regard to the place, it’s not different for me. I’m more focused on the fight. I’m more focused on my opponent, not on the place. I always ask my boxing coach and my conditioning coach about how I’m doing. I ask them if it’s less than I was doing two years ago. They tell me that I’m doing better than two years ago,” Beterbiev stated on the closing press convention.

“If we compare it to the last one, this camp went very well. This camp was better. I want to thank my team, my conditioning coach, my boxing coach, all my team and all my sparring partners who helped me. We had a good camp.”

In Smith (28-3, 22 KO), Beterbiev faces a fellow hard-hitting brawler who tries to make use of his energy and grit to ultimately catch his opponent and end the combat.

It’s been a future to a world championship for Smith, who beat Maxim Vlasov by majority determination in April 2021 to win the WBO title. That was Smith’s thirtieth skilled bout. Prior to that, Smith had obtained a shot at WBA champion Dmitry Bivol in March 2019. Bivol dominated Smith within the combat, taking a large determination that noticed Smith solely win two rounds at most.

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“I believe this guy is in his prime right now. I don’t think age has anything to do with it. I know he’s here at 100 percent and ready to go. I know I’m here fighting one of the best, so I trained at 110%,” Smith stated. “I made this camp a little longer. I made sure that I improved things that I wasn’t doing at my best. I stayed more consistent with my training, so I feel comfortable about this weekend.”

Bivol’s presence within the division looms giant forward of Beterbiev vs. Smith. After Bivol scored a giant upset over Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, he has essentially the most identify worth — and presumably essentially the most talent — within the division. The winner of Saturday’s combat could possibly be arrange for a four-belt unification with Bivol to crown an undisputed champion at mild heavyweight.

The co-feature bout on Saturday brings the return of a extremely regarded prospect in Robeisy Ramirez. The Cuban native will get a troublesome check in veteran Abraham Nova. Ramirez is 9-1 since making his professional debut in 2019 in a shedding effort. Since then, he is overwhelmed each man put in entrance of him with relative ease. 

“My level increases with the quality of opponent that I have in front of me. So, I think my growth is due to me increasing the level of my opposition and because we’ve been increasing our work, both mentally and physically,” Ramirez stated on the closing press convention.

“We decided to take this fight because it would lead to a title shot. We all know who Abraham is. We all know the kind of record he has. So, a victory would put us one step away from fighting for a title. This was the step we wanted to take and the fight we were looking for. We weren’t looking to make a fight that wasn’t this one.”

Beterbiev vs. Smith card, odds

Odds through Caesars Sportsbook

Artur Beterbiev (c) -700

Joe Smith Jr. (c) +500

Unified mild heavyweight championship

Robeisy Ramirez -450

Abraham Nova +350

Featherweight

Prediction

Smith can punch and punch exhausting. Given he is a gifted fighter with severe energy, he is a really dwell underdog at +500. That stated, Beterbiev is a incredible fighter and a stage above Smith. Smith wants to seek out some approach to maintain Beterbiev off of him and have area to let his rangy energy punches go. That’s a giant ask, nevertheless, as Beterbiev is excellent at closing distance, getting inside and mauling with work to each the physique and head.

That strategy to fights is how Beterbiev has been so profitable. He forces opponents to combat on the within, the place he has the sting, and he breaks them down till they merely haven’t got something left. Smith is hard sufficient to outlive for some time however not for a full 12 rounds. Pick: Artur Beterbiev through TKO9

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