Artur Beterbiev vs. Joe Smith Jr. possible for Canelo-Fielding card on Dec.15

By Boxing News - 11/01/2018 - Comments

Image: Artur Beterbiev vs. Joe Smith Jr. possible for Canelo-Fielding card on Dec.15

By Jeff Aranow: Artur Beterbiev (13-0, 13 KOs) will be defending his IBF light heavyweight title against Joe Smith Jr. (24-2, 20 KOs) before the end of 2018, possibly on the undercard of WBC middleweight champion Saul Canelo Alvarez vs. Rocky Fielding on December 15 on DAZN at Madison Square Garden in New York.

The two-time Russian Olympian Beterbiev will know soon when his fight with Smith Jr. will be taking place. Having that fight on the undercard of Canelo vs. Fielding would be good, but it’s unclear whether there will be enough money to add the Beterbiev vs. Smith Jr card. The card already has super featherweight Ryan Garcia on the undercard, as well as middleweights David Lemieux and Tureano Johnson.

Beterbiev-Smith will be taking place. The only question is will it take place on the Canelo-Fielding card on December 15, according to TVA Sports. If the Beterbiev vs. Smith Jr. fight gets officially added to the Canelo vs. Fielding card, it would be great news for the boxing fans. Beterbiev is a major talent, and Smith Jr. is one of the hardest punchers in the 175 lb division.

This is a quick turnaround for the 33-year-old Beterbiev, who last fought on October 6 in stopping KO artist Callum Johnson (17-1, 12 KOs) in the 4th round in an exciting fight on DAZN at TD Garden in Boston, Mass.

“The deadline is short, but I will be ready,” Beterbiev said to TVA Sports in talking about whether his fight against Joe Smith Jr. will be added to the Canelo vs. Fielding card on December 15. “Smith is a good boxer who bangs hard. He looks a lot like Callum Johnson. I will try to be more careful,” Beterbiev said.

Smith Jr. is nothing like Johnson with his fighting style. Johnson jumps on his opponents quickly the way that the late heavyweight Corrie Sanders did in the first two rounds. Beterbiev found out the hard way how dangerous Johnson can be in the early going. Smith Jr. is more of a methodical puncher, who wears his opponents down with big shots. Smith Jr. is capable of scoring quick knockouts if his opponents get careless like we saw in his fight against Andrzej Fonfara in 2016. Smith Jr. stopped Fonfara in the 1st round in that fight.

Callum Johnson knocked Beterbiev down hard in the 2nd round in their October 6 fight, and he had him badly hurt. Instead of going after Beterbiev to finish him off, Johnson let him off the hook. Beterbiev changed tactics and boxed the remainder of the fight. In the 4th, Beterbiev caught Johnson with two big shots that put him down for the count.

Smith Jr. has notable wins over Bernard Hopkins, Fonfara and Will Rosinsky. Last year, Smith Jr. suffered a jaw injury early on in his fight against Sullivan Barrera and ended up losing to him by a 10 round unanimous decision. Smith had Barrera down in the 1st, but he struggled after suffering a jaw injury,