Artur Beterbiev faces Adam Deines on Saturday, wants Canelo after

By Boxing News - 03/17/2021 - Comments

By Allan Fox: Artur Beterbiev emerges from a year and a half layoff this Saturday to make his long-awaited title defense of his IBF/WBC light heavyweight titles against Adam Deines on ESPN+ at the Khodynka Ice Palace in Moscow, Russia. The fight card starts at 3:00 p.m. ET on ESPN and ESPN+.

Although Deines is ranked #5 by the International Boxing Federation, a victory for Beterbiev is seen as a forgone conclusion.

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Indeed, this fight is viewed as a showcase for the powerful Beterbiev to show off his tremendous punching power. Heading into Saturday’s fight with Deines, Beterbiev is a -4000 favorite with BetMGM.

It’s important that Beterbiev look good in this fight, as it’ll be shown on ESPN, and there are a lot of casual fans that have never seen him in action.

Obviously, if Beterbiev had been more active in the last three years, he might be a household name by now with American boxing fans.  Staying active is important for Beterbiev, especially now that he’s on the wrong side of 30.

Fighting two to three times a year would be ideal for Beterbiev, and it would also help if one of the super middleweights like Canelo Alvarez, David Benavidez, Caleb Plant, or Billy Joe Saunders moved up to 175 to face him.  That’s probably too much to hope for, unfortunately.

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The last time the two-time Russian Olympian Beterbiev fought, he rallied to stop WBC 175-lb champion Oleksandr Gvozdyk by a 10th round knockout in October 2019. Not long after that fight, Gvozdyk retired from boxing.

Beterbiev had planned on returning to the ring a lot sooner to face #1 IBF Meng Fanlong, but a combination of visa and injury problems made that fight impossible.

Beterbiev (15-0, 15 KOs) says he would like to face former WBO 175-lb champion Canelo Alvarez f he’s successful in his defense against the Russia-born Deines (19-1-1, 10 KOs).

Unfortunately, Canelo doesn’t seem interested in going back up to 175 to take on anyone from that division. In Wednesday’s appearance on Mike Tyson’s Hot Boxin, Canelo said he’s not interested in returning to the 175-lb division.

“No, it’s difficult to go up too much weight up,” said Canelo when asked by Tyson if he’ll move up to 175. “168 is my weight now, and I feel good. I feel like this is my best moment, and not anybody can beat me now.”

Well, if Canelo changes his mind at some point in the not too distant future, a fight between him and Beterbiev would be an intriguing match-up. But he’ll need to face Beterbiev soon, as he’s 36-years-old now, and he’s only fought sporadically since 2017.

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“He is technically very good, and it would be no problem on my side if there a chance to make that fight,” Beterbiev said to Yahoo Sports News about him wanting to battle Canelo. “I would like to take it. That would be the kind of fight I want.”

I don’t understand why I can’t fight more often,” Beterbiev continued. “In 2020, I didn’t miss a week of training. I trained all year long. I do that because I want to fight, and I hope that in 2021 [he’ll be more active].”

Thus far, this will be the first fight for Beterbiev in 2021, and the year is now one-fourth over. If Beterbiev can return by the summer for his second fight this year, he could fight three times in 2021, but we can only hope.

Obviously, a fight with Canelo is likely impossible, but there are great options for Beterbiev. His promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank wants to match him against the Joe Smith Jr vs. Maxim Vlasov fight winner.

Those two are fighting for the vacant WBO 175lb title on April 10th on ESPN. They’re fighting for the belt that Canelo vacated after he beat Sergey Kovalev in 2019. If Beterbiev beats the Smith – Vlasov winner, there’s talk that he’ll take on WBA champ Dimitry Bivol.

A victory over Bivol would make Beterbiev the undisputed champion at 175 in 2021, which would be a massive accomplishment.

Beterbiev’s best career wins:

  • Oleksandr Gvozdyk
  • Callum Johnson
  • Radivoje Kalajdzic
  • Enrico Koelling
  • Alexander Johnson