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Artur Beterbiev look out, Callum Smith could be heading your way

Artur Beterbiev Callum Smith

By Charles Brun: Trainer Joe Gallagher says Callum Smith will move up to 175 to Artur Beterbiev for his IBF/WBC light heavyweight titles if he can’t get the crucial fights he wants at 168. Beterbiev is the Plan-B for Callum if he can’t get any of the top super middleweights to face him.

Beterbiev would be a handful for Callum Smith if he chooses to come up in weight, and the match would be a real firefight.

For the first time in Callum’s career, he would be facing an opponent the same size as him. Will Callum be able to handle the power and pressure from the two-time Russian Olympian Beterbiev, or would he fold as Oleksandr Gvozdyk did?

With Callum’s colossal size, he should have been fighting at 175 a long time ago, as he’s been looking like a zombie on the scales. Beterbiev (15-0, 15 KOs) could probably meltdown to 168 if he wanted to be an opportunist to beat up on smaller opposition the way Callum has been making his entire career, but he doesn’t want to do that.

Making weight for his fights at 168 has to be a tremendous ordeal for Callum, and it’s hard to believe he’s still putting his body through this process.

Some boxing fans have been calling Smith a ‘weight bully’ because of how big he looks compared to his opposition at 168.

Beterbiev is coming off of spectacular performance in defeating WBC 175-lb champion Gvozdyk by a 10th round knockout last October in Philadephia.

Callum wants to face these fighters at 168:

  • Canelo Alvarez
  • David Benavidez
  • Caleb Plant

Artur Beterbiev Callum Smith

Beterbiev vs. Callum Smith?

“I know Callum Smith is wildly intent on fighting [David] Benavidez and Caleb Plant,” said trainer Joe Gallagher to Pro Boxing Fans. “Those are the fights that he wants, and if they’re not going to come, then he’ll move up to light heavyweight to fight Gilberto Ramirez and Artur Beterbiev.

“Those fights are exciting to him as well. If the fights can’t be made, then that’s the plan-B option. It’s a shame really that the fighters that he wants to fight are with other TV networks. I said to him the other day, ‘If they made Tyson Fury vs. AJ, then there’s still hope for you, and then there’s a Plant or Benavidez fight.’ I’m not sure about that.

“Callum has never come to me to say, ‘I got an offer to fight Plant.’ Maybe there was an offer, but as far as I’m aware, no offer was made. Perhaps it was along the lines, ‘we’re willing to fight,’ but as far as a pen or paper offer on the table, no, I’m not aware of,” said Gallagher.

We’ll believe it when we see it when it comes to Callum Smith moving up to face the powerful knockout artist Artur Beterbiev. At this point in Callum’s eight-year professional career, he should step up and take the fight with Beterbiev because it’s one that CAN be made.

Beterbiev would walk Callum Smith down and battle him on the inside in the same manner that his last opponent John Ryder did. Ryder exposed Smith.

If Callum stays at 168, there’s not much for him aside from facing domestic-level opposition like John Ryder and Billy Joe Saunders. Those aren’t the substantial world-level clashes that Callum is eager to take, and it’s clear that he’s NOT going to get a fight against Canelo.

Callum Smith still wants Canelo Alvarez fight

“I hope so,” Gallagher said when asked if the Canelo fight could be an option again for Callum Smith now that Billy Joe Saunders is out of the picture for September. “I saw that Canelo put a list out of fighters that they’re looking at, and Callum’s name wasn’t on that.

“If Canelo wants to fight Callum Smith, all he has to do is phone DAZN and the fights made. We’ll say an amount of money, and Canelo can give it, and that’s it.

Artur Beterbiev Callum Smith

“If Canelo wants the fight, he wants the fight. I’ll agree to what Liam [Smith] said about them [Team Canelo] trying to make a fool of Callum [during the brief negotiations], but more a red herring.

“There’s an offer for Callum, but he didn’t take it, and that was it. There was an offer made [from Golden Boy Promotions], and there was an offer agreed as well, but they never came back to.

“So, Callum was all for that fight. So you don’t know if its smokescreens and mirrors and that type of thing, but if he [Canelo] wants to be #1 at 168, at the moment it’s still Callum Smith,” said Gallagher.

It’s perfectly understandable why Canelo chose not to stick it out with the negotiations with the light-heavyweight-sized Callum Smith. There’s a reason why Canelo decided to vacate the WBO 175-pound title after beating Sergey Kovalev last November.

The 5’9′ Canelo isn’t big enough to compete against the likes of Beterbiev and Dmitry Bivol. Although Canelo weighs the same as those light heavyweights after he rehydrates, he doesn’t have the height.

Smith dreaming of facing Beterbiev and Plant

WBA super-middleweight champion Smith (27-0, 19 KOs) was hoping to get a big-money clash against WBA ‘regular’ 168-lb champion Canelo Alvarez, but Golden Boy Promotions chose to move in another direction.

Gallagher says an offer was made by Canelo’s team, which they agreed on, but they never came back to make the fight.

Joe still has hopes that Canelo will look in Callum’s direction now that it looks like Billy Joe Saunders is out of the picture. However, the odds of that happening aren’t looking good right now. If Canelo wanted the fight with the 6’2″ Callum Smith, his promoters at Golden Boy would have already made contact to restart the negotiations.

Artur Beterbiev Callum Smith

The obstacle that could get in the way of Callum facing Benavidez or Plant is the fact that they compete on a different network platform in the U.S in fighting on FOX. It’s not likely that Callum will get a chance to face Benavidez and Plant due to the network problems.

Also, Smith’s lack of popularity is the main problem. If Callum had the star power of a Canelo Alvarez, then the networks wouldn’t stand in the way of making a fight between Canelo. There would be enough money to share between DAZN and FOX.

Saunders is a fight that can get made for Smith, but other than that, it’s just going to be simple title defenses for Callum against the contenders in the division. That would be enough to suffice Callum if the contenders were popular, and if he could good money fighting them.

Unfortunately, the top 10 is mostly obscure fighters aside from Daniel Jacobs, who probably won’t agree to fight Callum. Jacobs is talking about facing 2nd tier journeyman Gabriel Rosado next. Maybe a year from now, Jacobs could look in Callum’s direction, but that’s unlikely to happen.

Jacobs has a contract with DAZN, and he’s not shown interest in fighting the big names other than Canelo Alvarez, who already beat him.


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