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Cloud vs. Beterbiev tonight

Tavoris CloudBy Allan Fox: In a tossup fight, former IBF light heavyweight champion Tavoris Cloud (24-2, 19 KOs) will be facing two time Russian Olympian Artur Beterbiev (5-0, 5 KOs) tonight at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Canada.

The 32-year-old Cloud has clearly slipped a couple of notches in the last three years, and he’s not same exciting fighter that he once was earlier in his career when he was knocking opponents out left and right.

Beterbiev, 29, is taking a big step up in class in this fight, and it’s hard to say for sure whether he’ll be ready for the kind of step up that he’s taking. In looking at Beterbiev’s amateur experience, he looks more than good enough to come in and beat Cloud.

The thing that we don’t know is how Beterviev will respond in having a guy with Cloud’s power in his face for 12 rounds throwing nothing but power shots. Beterbiev hasn’t prove to be the most mobile fighter in his early fights of his career, and that means he’s going to be coming straight at Cloud looking to slug tonight.

Say what you want about Cloud being a limited fighter, he does well against fighters that come straight at him rather than the ones that use their boxing skills to negate his power and work rate.

“Really interesting fight,” Dan Rafael of said about the Cloud-Beterbiev fight. “I know Cloud is on the downslide and lost a couple of fights in a row, but Beterbiev, although a top amateur, only has a few pro fights. It’s a huge step up.”

Rafael is right about this being a huge step up in class for Beterbiev. In his five pro fights, he’s beaten Alvaro Enriquez, Gabriel Lecrosnier, Billy Bailey, Rayco Saunders and Christian Cruz. None of those guys are even close to being as good as Cloud.

To be sure, Beterbiev has done his job in knocking them all out in the early rounds, but it still doesn’t take away the fact that Beterbiev is going to be taking a huge step up in class in this fight tonight, and that might be too much of a step up in class for his own good.

Beterbiev’s management appears to be willing to push him a little faster with his career than they would another fighter without the Olympic background that he has going for him.

With Beterbiev being 29, they kind of have to push him at a very fast pace because they can’t afford to have him brought along slowly for 6 or more years like you see with a lot of pros before he fights for a world title for the first time. If they do that with Beterbiev, he’ll be 35, and likely on the downside of his career.

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