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“Callum Smith knocks Beterbiev out” in 6 rounds says Tony Bellew

Image: "Callum Smith knocks Beterbiev out" in 6 rounds says Tony Bellew

By Barry Holbrook: Tony Bellew surprisingly has jumped off the Artur Beterbiev ship after his stoppage win over fellow countryman Anthony Yarde last Saturday night and now believes his WBC mandatory Callum Smith will knock him out within six rounds.

Callum has looked good since moving up to 175 in 2021, but he hasn’t fought the type of opposition needed to tell us how well he’ll do against a monster puncher like Beterbiev.

Beterbiev “too easy to hit” 

If Callum fights with his back against the ropes for 12 rounds against Beterbiev, as he did in his lopsided loss to Canelo Alvarez in 2020, he’s not going to last long.

Beterbiev, unlike Canelo, has the power to stop the stork-like Smith if he goes into the sparring partner mode as he did against the Mexican star and John Ryder. Those fights showed that Smith doesn’t react well to pressure, and he has no inside game to speak of.

Bellew thinks Beterbiev’s fighting style is tailor-made for the 6’2″ Callum, and he’s “too easy to hit.

“He’s made for Callum Smith, in my honest opinion. I don’t know why I’m so confident in this. I just see such a perfect clash and Callum’s catch and counter style doing Beterbiev and doing it quickly as well. Time will tell,” said Bellew on Twitter.

Callum untested at 175

Unfortunately, Callum hasn’t been all that active since he was soundly beaten by Canelo Alvarez three years ago in 2020.

Since that loss, Callum has fought just twice, beating two low-level fighters in, Mathieu Bauderlique and Lenin Castillo. Those were fodder-level opponents, making it impossible to gauge if Callum has improved as a fighter and whether he has the ability to compete with the best at 175.

Going by Callum’s resume, all we know is he can beat lackluster opposition like Bauderlique, Rivera & Rocky Fielding, but the wheels come off when he’s put in with better opposition like Canelo & John Ryder.

Many boxing fans believe Callum should have two losses on his resume because his 12 round unanimous decision win over Ryder in November 2019 was a controversial one, which took place in his hometown in Liverpool.

Despite saying he wants WBA light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol next for the undisputed championship, Beterbiev (19-0, 19 KOs) will likely be required to defend against Callum (29-1, 21 KOs) in the summer.

Bivol (21-0, 11 KOs) is fighting in April and is being mentioned as facing Canelo Alvarez in a rematch in September for his 168-lb undisputed championship. That being the case, Beterbiev will need to satisfy his WBC mandatory requirements by defending against Callum Smith.

Beterbiev stopped a game Yarde (23-3, 22 KOs) in the eighth round in front of a screaming pro-Yarde crowd at the OVO Arena in London.

Yarde had his moments, but when Beterbiev turned up the heat on him in the seventh round, he was hurt and easy prey for him to knockout in the eighth.

The fight was competitive for the first six rounds, leaving doubt about who would prevail going into the seventh. However, hurt Yarde in that round, and him looking shaky at the bell.

In the eighth, Beterbiev wasted no time going after Yarde with huge shots, dropping him, and then unloading with several choice shots that led to Yarde’s coach Tunde Ajayi stopping the fight.

Better options for Artur

U.S boxing fans would prefer to see Beterbiev fight someone better than Callum Smith, someone that they’re familiar with and respect. American fans mainly know Callum for his dreadful performance against Canelo, and that image of him taking a pounding for 12 rounds against the ropes is still firmly imprinted in the minds of people.

If Beterbiev has no choice in the matter due to Callum being his WBC mandatory, fans will have to deal with this poor fight.  But if U.S fans had their choice, they would prefer to see Beterbiev fight one of these opponents:

  • David Benavidez
  • Canelo Alvarez
  • Joshua Buatsi
  • Jean Pascal
  • Jermall Charlo
  • Caleb Plant
  • David Morrell

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