By Jake Tiernan: Eddie Hearn is making an early first-round knockout prediction victory for Callum Smith over IBF, WBC & WBO light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev on August 19 at the Centre Videotron in Quebec City.
Beterbiev (19-0, 19 KOs) is expected to be the favorite over WBC mandatory Smith (29-1, 21 KOs), but Hearn believes that the three-belt champion has gotten old and will be susceptible to the power of the 33-year-old Callum.
Hearn says he sees Smith backing up against the ropes, as he did in his fights against Canelo Alvarez & John Ryder, and catching Beterbiev with a left hook to score a one-punch knockout.
Beterbiev’s recent off performance against Anthony Yarde last January has planted the belief into Hearn’s head that the 38-year-old unified 175-lb champion is now ready to be dethroned, and he believes Smith is just the guy to do it.
Hearn says if Callum wins, he will immediately turn his attention to setting up an undisputed light heavyweight championship fight between him and WBA 175-lb champion Dmitry Bivol, who he also promotes.
“It would be an in-house fight between Bivol & Smith and easy to make. However, even if Smith loses, Hearn states that he will try and put an undisputed championship contest between Bivol & Beterbiev.
For that to happen, Bivol will need to petition the World Boxing Council to receive their permission.
If they say yes, then it would be up to Beterbiev’s promoter Bob Arum if he feels comfortable letting the match with Bivol go ahead. One gets the permission that Arum isn’t gung-ho with the idea of letting Beterbiev fight Bivol because it’s a bad-style match-up for Artur.
Hearn predicts Smith destroys Beterbiev
“Callum Smith is going to knock Beterbiev spark out. You know, like a face-down type of knockout?” said Eddie Hearn to the media last Saturday, predicting a win for his fighter Callum Smith over IBF, WBC & WBO light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev.
Hearn’s pipe dream of Smith knocking out Beterbiev is unlikely to happen because the stork-like Liverpool lad has shown himself to be short in the courage department when the bombs start flying.
When we saw how Smith went into a full-scale retreat when he started taking withering fire from Canelo Alvarez in their fight in 2020, Smith was ducking for cover, showing no heart for the fighting in that contest.
We saw the same behavior from Smith in his fight with John Ryder in 2019. Even though Smith had the advantage in size & power, he couldn’t take the heat and hoisted up the white flag of surrender after two rounds, spending the remainder of the fight cringing against the ropes, letting Ryder have at it.
“Listen, you’re not being very brave because Beterbiev is the favorite,” said Hearn. “Watch. See this now. Sometimes you see it, and he’s [Callum Smith] is going to be up against the ropes, and Beterbiev is going to come in like he does and square up his feet, and Callum is going to do what he does best, which is to catch-counter with the left hook with a one-punch knockout.
“He’s definitely slipping. He’s like 39 years old, but he’s also a beast. He’s unbelievable. Sooner or later [he’s going to get beat],” said Hearn when asked if Beterbiev is slipping at this stage in his career.
“[Joe] Smith is done,” said Hearn when reminded that Beterbiev knocked out WBO light heavyweight champion Joe Smith Jr in the second round last year in June.
“Marcus Browne is a good fighter. How long ago was that?” Hearn said in asking when Beterbiev stopped Marcus Browne, which was a year and a half ago in December 2021. “A year ago. No, it wasn’t. Did you see the Yarde fight?” said Hearn
Beterbiev has home advantage
“Because I lost by five thousand f***ing dollars. I bid $2.15 million, and they [Top Rank] bid $2.155 million,” said Hearn when asked if he’s so confident that Callum Smith will defeat Beterbiev, why did he lose the purse bid, which would have enabled him to stage the Beterbiev-Smith fight in the UK rather than in Quebec City, the location it will be staged at on August 19th.
“Everyone thought it was a fix, but it wasn’t because we were there in f**king Mexico City in person, and I was gutted. Listen, I know Beterbiev is the favorite. I’m not saying he’s not the favorite, but I can see it in my own eyes this one-punch knockout.
“I’m not going to apologize. I’m not going to be sorry. I should say, ‘Congratulations, you’re right, but not ‘Sorry, you’re right. Congratulations, you’re right,'” said Hearn when asked if he’ll apologize to a media member if Beterbiev beats Smith instead of the other way around.
“But whatever happens, we will try and make Bivol against the winner of that fight. Mauricio Sulaiman is saying that fight [Beterbiev vs. Bivol] cannot be for the undisputed because the WBC will not allow him [Bivol] to fight for the WBC title because he’s from Russia.
“I respect Mauricio Sulaiman. He’s a friend of mine. We don’t always agree with everything. It’s difficult because Dmitry is my friend, and he’s probably one of the nicest, most peaceful guys you could ever meet. I just feel like, and maybe if I didn’t know Dmitry, I wouldn’t feel as strongly about this.
“I don’t feel like a man’s legacy should be defined by one or a small group of people running his country that he does not agree with that regime or movement.
“If he turned around and said, ‘Yes, I support this. I agree. But it’s very difficult when a guy is saying, ‘I don’t even know anything about that. I’m just training in LA. I want everyone to get along.’
“I think you can appeal it, but Errol Spence made some interesting comments recently about the belts. You seen the biggest fight of the year have no belts between Tank and Ryan Garcia. Do you care if it’s not undisputed between Beterbiev & Bivol?
“We’d prefer it to be. We know the fighters would much prefer it to be, but when it comes down to it if it’s the case of losing it and making it,” said Hearn.