Artur Beterbiev: Is he too POWERFUL for Canelo Alvarez?
By Sean Jones: Artur Beterbiev is viewed as being a guy that ultimately is too good for Saul Canelo Alvarez to dare to ever face inside the ring. The unbeaten Beterbiev’s recent 10th round knockout victory over WBC light heavyweight champion Oleksandr Gvozdyk (17-1, 14 KOs) on October 18 may have scared off Canelo and his team off for good.
Can Alvarez face the real thing in Beterbiev?
Canelo Alvarez impressed a lot of fans with his 11th round knockout win over WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev on November 2 in Las Vegas, Nevada. However, what a lot of boxing fans fail to realize is that Canelo wasn’t fighting the top fighter at 175 in Beterbiev.
Kovalev was the equivalent of fool’s gold with the way he had the casual fans tricked into believing that he had a chance against Canelo. It would be a different story with Beterbiev. He’s the genuine article. Would Canelo DARE to take on the real mccoy in Beterbiev or is too dangerous?
A lot of casual fans don’t even know who Beterbiev is, which makes things easy for Canelo. He doesn’t take the flak from them like he got from the hardcore for fans for him choosing the passed his best 36-year-old Kovalev to go after for his 4th division title.
There are a lot of boxing fans that believe the Kovalev fight was a set-up match for Canelo. They think the fix was in due to Kovalev throwing punches without his usual power behind them.
Canelo would be showing courage to face Beterbiev
If Canelo wants to prove to the boxing world that he’s not afraid of Beterbiev, it would look great if he agreed to fight him next. Right now, almost no one believes Canelo Alvarez (53-1-2, 36 KOs) will get anywhere near Beterbiev, because it would be such a bad match-up.
Beterbiev’s body punching, pressure and fearlessness would be something that Canelo wouldn’t likely be ready for. Virtually everyone that’s faced Canelo in the last six years have shown fear against him. Even Gennadiy Golovkin was backing away from Canelo, and that’s obviously why he lost to him.
Kovalev looked terrified of Canelo from the opening bell. Beterbiev wouldn’t do that. He got right after Canelo, and look to wear him down like an old clock.
Max Kellerman of ESPN said last month that he thought that Gvozdyk had quit against Beterbiev. He later admitted that he was wrong in saying that.
Kellerman talks about Beterbiev’s win over Gvozdyk
“Artur Beterbiev stopped Oleksandr Gvozdyk in the 10th round of a light heavyweight unification fight that lived up to the billing,” said Kellerman on Max on Boxing. “It was a pick ’em match-up that nevertheless that more or less went as I expected. Gvozdyk, the sharper boxer-puncher, got off to an early lead on my card. But Beterbiev, the confident pressure fighter, broke him down and knocked him out.
“[It was a] Technical knockout, of course. It used to be where the referee didn’t count to 10, but that distinction between KO and TKO is hardly used anymore. They’re all recorded as KOs because ultimately if one fighter can’t finish the fight, he’d been knocked out of the contest. Knocked punch out.
“He can’t hang in. Teddy trained Oleksandr Gvozdyk for the Beterbiev fight, and was in his corner. He had previously guided Gvozdyk to the lineal 175-lb championship in a fight where Gvozdyk survived some dangerous moments against a long-reigning power-punching champion Adonis Stevenson to win by knockout,” said Kellerman.
This writer saw the fight Beterbiev-Gvozdyk fight as having only one winner, and that was Beterbiev. I’d seen both fighters from the start of their career, and it was clear that Beterbiev was going to be WAY too powerful for Gvozdyk to deal with.
I don’t blame Kellerman for not knowing that, because he probably hasn’t seen these guys as much as me. There was no way on earth that Gvozdyk was going to win this fight. Yeah, he’d beaten Adonis Stevenson by an 11th round knockout in December 2018, but he was fighting a 41-year-old. Gvozdy didn’t look good against Stevenson. He won, but he wasn’t impressive.
Beterbiev took the fight out of Gvozdyk
“After nine rounds of punishment in a fight that he was winning on the official cards, Gvozdyk came back to his corner a week ago from today, and [his trainer] Teddy [Atlas] exhorted him to essentially believe that he could still win in a fight that was turning against him,” said Kellerman.
“Gvozdyk made it clear to me through his body language and muted responses that he didn’t believe, and that he’d had enough and that his spirit was broken. Maybe he sensed that his flesh was too. He got up off his stool and faced Beterbiev anyway, because he is a professional prize fighter, and he technically had more to give. But that was just a technicality.
“Beterbiev dropped him three times, and technically knocked him out. I was hosting the broadcast, and said Gvozdyk had quit in his corner, and have since been criticized for using that term ‘quit,’ especially in light of all the recent ring fatalities we’ve seen.
“The arguments are one, Gvozdyk didn’t in fact quit, and two, we in the media should perpetuate a boxing culture where a fighter it seems must be willing to die. Let’s take the second one first.
A fighter doesn’t need to be willing to push himself already passed the point where he’s jeopardized his health to be good or to make money or have a successful career. But he usually does to be great, because boxing is not just a contest of skill, but of will. It is a very dangerous sport,” said Kellerman.
Gvozdyk was fortunate to make it as far as he did in the fight, because Beterbiev was dominant. In looking back at that fight, the only reason Gvozdyk made it to the 11th round is because Beterbiev didn’t attack his body enough in the early rounds.
It was bad timing for Gvozdyk to face Beterbiev
“The second criticism that we in the media should not perpetuate that essentially is exploitative of culture that sacrifices the health of young people for popular entertainment is legitimate,” said Kellerman. “Words of quit invokes a sense of shame, and in Gvozdk’s case, who after all, did answer the bell, are not entirely accurate.
“I should have said, ‘it looks to me like Gvozdyk has had enough.’ Everyone has a threshold, even the great ones. Even The Greatest, Muhammad Ali, had enough. Moments before Joe Frazier’s corner, Eddie Futch, threw in the towel in ‘The Thrilla in Manilla,’ one of Ali’s greatest victories in one of boxing’s all time most brutal fights, Ali wanted to quit.
“Sorry. Ali had had enough. Gvozdyk wound up in the hospital for two days after last Friday night’s fight. Maybe in the corner before the 10th, he sensed something was wrong. And maybe had he fought more effectively in the 10th round and extended the fight, he would have suffered a fate far worse than a two-day hospital stay.
“Maybe if the late Patrick Day decided that he’d had enough, I’d have said he quit. In that happy scenario, he’d be around to hear it,” said Kellerman.
Considering the tragic circumstances that happened with Gvozdyk’s fight against Stevenson, it was the wrong time for him to face Beterbiev in a grueling match. Mentally, Gvozdyk didn’t look engaged in the week of the fight You have wonder if at the back of his mind he was thinking about the Stevenson fight. Dealing with the aftermath of what transpired in that fight had to have been mentally tough for Gvozdyk to deal with.