Anthony Yarde got moral victory against Artur Beterbiev says Paulie Malignaggi

By Boxing News - 01/31/2023 - Comments

By Jim Calfa: Paulie Malignaggi says Anthony Yarde can claim a moral victory from his defeat against IBF, WBC & WBO light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev last Saturday night because he fought such a good fight in a losing effort at the OVO Arena in London, England.

The performance from Yarde was good enough for him to feel good about giving Beterbiev (19-0, 19 KOs) some problems before being stopped in the eighth.

The judges certainly thought Yarde did a great job, as two of them had him ahead at the time of the knockout by the scores 68-65 and 67-66, while the third had Beterbiev ahead 67-66.

Malignaggi states that Yarde’s undoing was being too reliant on throwing right-hand uppercuts after having early success with this punch.

Yarde became predictable using uppercuts, and eventually, Beterbiev took advantage of that by tagging him with a right hook at the precise moment he was throwing one in the eighth round.

Yarde (23-3, 22 KOs) didn’t have his left hand up to guard against a counter while throwing his uppercut, and as a result, Beterbiev landed a perfect right hook that stunned him.

Beterbiev then followed with another right hand that dropped Yarde on the canvas. Yarde’s corner soon after stopped the fight because he was getting clobbered by Beterbiev, and he was too hurt to defend himself.

Yarde had success with uppercuts

“Boxing’s boogeyman is back, Artur Beterbiev with a KO of Anthony Yarde in a better fight than I expected. I don’t know what you guys thought,” said Paulie Malignaggi on Paulie TV. “I know that Yarde is capable. He fought some decent guys going in against Sergey Kovalev, who was a fading Sergey Kovalev.

“I didn’t expect much from him in this fight, and I don’t think many people did,” said Malignaggi about Yarde. “I thought he gave a good account of himself. Could it be that the boogeyman Beterbiev is getting a little bit older? Do we credit Yarde? Is it a little bit of both?

“I think Beterbiev came out with his usual aggression. He walked into some check-hooks from Yarde. They weren’t really deterring him. We do notice that Beterbiev is a hittable target. He’s been down twice in his career.

“If you choose to sit down on your shots, you could get Beterbiev down, as that has happened two times in his career, but at the same time, if you sit on your shots a lot, you’ ‘re going to put yourself in harm’s way a lot.

“I remember the old Oleksandr Gvozdyk fight where Gvozdyk boxed very well against a younger Beterbiev. Ultimately, Beterbiev does get you. He breaks you down, and he eventually takes you out. He’s got a 100% knockout ratio in his career, but this fight looked a little bit different.

“He looked a little more hittable. It wasn’t that Yarde was being that more crafty, but he’s always had a little bit of a herky-jerky style to him. I actually thought Yarde was a little less herky-jerky than usual. I thought he did a good job of holding position at times and firing shots from where he was,” Malignaggi said.

Beterbiev did well in corners

“He did give some movement, but there were some good moments,” said Malignaggi. “The subtle things that Beterbiev does. I think it was in the second round where Yarde was up in his corner, and he had Beterbiev in the corner. Beterbiev spun him around off the corner, and Yarde was trying to move against the ropes, trying to slide out.

“You notice that Beterbiev tries to cut the ring off rather than chase him against the ropes. A lot of guys would have just chased him. It’s about the midway point of the second round. A lot of guys would have chased Yarde right up against the ropes, and Yarde might have circled around.

“Beterbiev didn’t think to attack right away. He thought to find the position first and stay in front of Yarde. I think Yarde found his out with a right uppercut and created some space there, and that’s one of the things that Yarde was having some success with, but it was his undoing.

The right uppercut from mid to long range is always a little bit of a dangerous punch to use. It’s weird. From middle to long range, it’s very dangerous because you can get hit with a shot while you’re throwing it.

“It’s also a shot that can be very successful, and sometimes you’re in a fight where you need to take some risks with it. I feel like Yarde was having some pretty good success with that uppercut.

“He started throwing it at that moment when he had some minor success there when he cut him off and trapped Yarde. He started throwing the uppercut. Right after that, Yarde started using the uppercut sporadically over the course of his fight.

“I think he landed it pretty well several different times. I did remember thinking to myself, ‘He’s got to be careful.’ I thought he was going to end up getting hit with a left hook. Beterbiev maybe was going to start timing him with a left hook.

“His undoing was Beterbiev threw a chopping right hand over the top while Yarde was throwing his own right uppercut. If you’re going to do that, you at least have to have your hands in a good position. Yarde’s left hand was down, and while he was throwing that right uppercut, he took a chopping right hand from Beterbiev.

“He didn’t go down right away. He took a second right hand to go down, but that was the end. The referee, was it a little early? Did the corner stop it a little early? Possibly, but I think Yarde was on his way out there,” Paulie said.

Yarde’s moral victory

“The moral victory was accomplished in that he gave a better account of himself than people thought and people expected,” Malignaggi said. “I think that if he’s allowed to continue in that moment, I don’t think he survives. I think he’s just going to get pummeled a little bit more.

“So ultimately, while it’s a little early stoppage, I think he’s on his way to getting stopped anyway, and he’s 31-years-old. He’s still ascending. Maybe let him survive some of the extra punches he would have taken.

“Let him take it into the next fight where I think where Yarde in a post-Beterbiev boxing world has a real chance to compete for a world title. Honestly, you think what the possible fights for Yarde could be.

“Beterbiev is not going to last much longer, he’s 37 years old, and I think he’s starting to look a little beatable. Yes, the punching power is there, but you start to think about all-English clashes that can be big fights in a post-Beterbiev boxing world.

“You think about Joshua Buatsi, who was commentating on the BT Sport telecast against Anthony Yarde. That would be a really good fight. It gets really interesting. You start to see which direction these fighters can go. Like I said, I don’t think Beterbiev has much time left.

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“He’s slowing down; he’s getting a little bit hittable. Eventually, as you get older, these shots that he is taking, will start to have an effect on him, and they’ll start to feel them a little bit more. And although his power is there, it’s a young man’s sport, honestly,” said Paulie.

Eliminating Beterbiev won’t be easy

“I don’t think eliminating Beterbiev will be that easy, but I also think he’s slightly fading here, and that’s normal at his age,” Malignaggi said. “He’s had a terrific career, a really scary guy. I call him boxing’s boogeyman, and I think that’s what he’s been.

“In this situation, I didn’t have a problem with the corner stopping it for Yarde. I think Yarde was going to take some more punishment. I’ve seen some headlines that it was a little bit of an early stoppage by his corner.

“Again, I don’t think he was going to survive it.  I think he was going to end up getting stopped at that point, and I think he would have taken more heavy, heavy shots.

“Keep in mind, Beterbiev is one of the hardest punchers in boxing, so I think the stoppage was good, and Yarde had already accomplished what he was always going to accomplish once you saw a few rounds of this fight, which was a performance that most people didn’t respect from him, and that would garner him respect and a performance that will make him a guy that people want to see again.

“I wouldn’t mind seeing a Buatsi-Yarde fight, preferably for a world title once Beterbiev is gone. Buatsi-Yarde will always be an entertaining fight, nonetheless. Is Beterbiev slowing down? Is Yarde for real?

“He’s come up short in the two biggest fights of his career, but he’s performed very well in both. Do you think he can win at this level, or is he one of those gatekeeper types?  Who can and will beat Beterbiev? There comes a certain point where everybody goes.

“Could it be the guy that I just mentioned, Joshua Buatsi? I’ve always been very impressed by Joshua Buatsi, but I feel like he’s been held back by his team because of the danger that’s posed in the light heavyweight division between Artur Beterbiev and Dmitry Bivol.

“Do you still want to see Dmitry Bivol and Beterbiev? Personally, up until now, I would have picked Beterbiev to beat Bivol, but I think in seeing this fight, he looked a little too slow in his first step, and a little too flat-footed and a little more hittable than usual, a little slower.

“Bivol is very, very explosive. I think in this moment after seeing this fight, I think I would pick Bivol to beat Beterbiev, but until this point, I hadn’t thought that. Again, I think aging is a big factor,” said Malignaggi.