By Charles Brun: Former IBF/WBA/WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev predicts unified 175-lb champ Artur Beterbiev will “smash” challenger Anthony Yarde within six rounds on Saturday night at the OVO Arena in London, England.
Kovalev is familiar with Yarde (23-2, 22 KOs), having knocked him out in the eleventh round in August 2019 in Russia. Sergey feels that Yarde hasn’t made enough progress since he fought him four years ago because he’s not fought anyone talented enough to prepare him for Beterbiev (18-0, 18 KOs).
For whatever reason, Yarde’s promoter hasn’t thrown him into the deep end against any talented light heavyweights since his loss to Kovalev. Hence, Yarde hasn’t gotten the experience needed to give him a fighting chance to defeat IBF/WBC/WBO champion Beterbiev, in Kovalev’s view.
It’s too late for Yarde to get the experience against quality opposition to prepare him for this fight. As a result, Yarde is going to have to wing it and hope for the best.
If Yarde loses, it would be a good idea for him to speak with his promoter about matching him against better fighters so that he’s ready next time he fights for a world title, if there is a next time, that is.
Kovalev does believe that Yarde has likely improved since he fought him, but he doesn’t think he’s gotten good enough to beat a fighter like Beterbiev.
Again, the woeful middle-of-the-road opposition that Yarde has fought in the last four years will ultimately hold him back, keeping him from having a chance of upsetting Beterbiev.
“He’s very naturally strong and physically strong, and right now, he has a very big experience from amateur and more than ten fights in the pro and all by KO,” said Sergey Kovalev to RingIQ TV about Artur Beterbiev.
“Anthony Yarde isn’t ready right now to fight Artur Beterbiev because he didn’t have a test like in real fights,” continued Kovalev. “When he fought me, I was drained of energy because I lost a lot of pounds for the light heavyweight 34; I should have moved up to the next division because it’s not possible to make 175, and 2019 for me was the hardest year of my boxing career.
“My first fight was scheduled for June and then rescheduled for August. That was three and a half years ago, and he [Yarde] got more experience for this fight, more physically in conditioning.
“I think it’s going to be an interesting fight, but in my opinion, Artur will smash smash him. I was in trouble when I fought Anthony Yarde. I was in trouble in round number seven or eight because I was drained of my energy by losing weight. I lost more than 15 pounds for this fight. He couldn’t stop me.
“What I think so, Artur will finish him in the middle of the fight. It’s boxing. I’m interested in watching this too. In my opinion, Artur is naturally strong and mentally he has the background that is very, very big in two Olympic games, and world championship. He has big experience and mentally more older than Anthony Yarde.
“Not later than six,” said Kovalev in predicting Beterbiev stops Yarde within six rounds. “I think so, five, six. They’re both big, strong & smart. Therefore, it’s an interesting fight, but I think so, Beterbiev will smash him before the middle of the fight.
“Everything depends on set it up. If Artur is rating him enough and will be ready for the fight, yeah, I think it’s going to be a win for Artur. Also, if Anthony is going to be ready for this fight but mentally, it’s the most important to be ready mentally. If he can be ready mentally, he can show his big heart, but we’ll see.
“I wish them both good luck and make an interesting fight for the boxing fans,” said Kovalev.