Hulu Theater: Madison Square Garden, NYC

The fight was billed as “into deep waters”. But in the battle between Artur Beterbiev and Joe Smith Jr quite the antithesis happened. In just five-minutes 19-seconds total (2:19 of round two), Artur Beterbiev remained perfect TKO’ing the Long Islander.

Bob Arum congratulating Beterbiev post-fight

The fight did start decent enough for Smith, looking to keep his jab in the Russian’s face. But it quickly went sideways for “The Beast From The East”. In an early exchange Beterbiev stung Smith, and the look in Smith’s face said he didn’t want to be there anymore. A couple of clubbing overhand rights put Smith down to a knee for the first-time in his career.

He then did it again twice in round-two before referee Harvey Dock saved a wobbly Smith. The 32-year old was then taken to a hospital overnight for observations. According to CompuBox the numbers were:

Artur Beterbiev Remains Perfect… For Now

For the 37-year old who defended his straps for the sixth-time he remains a bit of an enigma. At 18-0, his resume isn’t littered with future Hall Of Famers. But he’s the only champion in “The Sweet Science” that has a 100% finish rate. And that’s an anomaly in boxing.

Is he tearing through fighters with Mike Tyson-esque speed and a Deontay Wilder power shot? No. It’s all perfect laser-like placement, with a touch of speed and power. Beterbiev might go down as one of the most underrated wrecking balls ever. A solid puncher that knows where his bread is buttered. Very seldom do you see him throwing anything when not in mid-range. And that’s a mark of a special gift. A great in-ring IQ. Although his foot work could be a tad better, and sometimes he doesn’t keep his hands up high.

What’s Really Next…

At Thursday’s final presser, Bob Arum said that he expects Frank Warren’s Anthony Yarde to get Beterbiev next, possibly October in London as WBO mandatory. And not going for undisputed just yet with Dmitry Bivol. With Bivol still in the running for a rematch with Canelo Alvarez, it puts a “one name one face” on an indefinite holding pattern.

Yarde deserves next crack, and it’s all but final. However, the demand from “fans” is high to put the two Russians in the ring now. Warren would have to explain to Yarde that taking step-aside money might be worth more in the long run.

Beterbiev said he rather go for undisputed as well. However, Bivol is a much tougher fight. And should Alvarez avenge his loss and pick up the WBA belt, that puts Beterbiev right in the middle of an Alvarez sweepstake. One thing is for certain in boxing now. There’s a lot less of squirming away from big fights. It seems everyone now does want some smoke.

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About Author


Cyclone, considers himself the Chris "MadDog" Russo of combat sports. He got the nickname in 1984 after riding the roller coaster multiple times, and then made it his professional name. He's been officially covering combat sports since January 2017 when Chael Sonnen fought Tito Ortiz. Cyclone's been lucky enough to do some regional mma play-by-play. Loving to entertain since childhood, he continues to round out his schedule as a comedian, actor, producer, and show host. Away from the "bright lights", he enjoys cooking, fishing, and gambling. A lover of animals Cyclone hopes to one day return to working at an animal shelter.

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