By Charles Brun: Paul Smith thinks his brother Callum Smith is catching Artur Beterbiev at the right time of his career and is primed to send him down to his first defeat on August 19th.
IBF, WBC & WBO light heavyweight champion Beterbiev (19-0, 19 KOs) looked beatable in his last fight against Anthony Yarde last January before turning on the heat in the eighth to score a knockout of the tired warrior.
Callum (29-1, 21 KOs) hopes to take advantage of the age of the 38-year-old Beterbiev when they meet next month in the main event on August 19th at the Centre Videotron in Quebec City.
Boxing fans would give Callum more chance of winning if he’d at least beaten someone with a pulse since he was embarrassed by Canelo Alvarez in December 2020. That was arguably the second time that the lanky stork-like 6’3″ Smith had been beaten.
Smith has only fought twice since the loss to Canelo, beating journeyman Lenin Castillo and Mathieu Bauderlique. If Callum beat quality guys, you could give him at least a sliver of a chance of defeating Beterrbiev, but the reality is, the opposition he’s been fighting has been godawful.
Unfortunately, Callum hasn’t shown that he’s improved since that dark, cold night in December 2020 when the Mexican treated him like a pinata, batting him at will without anything coming back.
The unofficial first time Callum was whipped was in 2019 against John Ryder, in which he spent the majority of the fight covering up on the ropes while he was being shelled unmercifully.
What was shocking, or perhaps not so, was Callum being given the victory. With the fight taking place in Callum’s hometown of Liverpool, some boxing fans believe that was the reason he wasn’t handed his first career loss.
Is Callum catching Beterbiev at right time?
“Listen, Callum is very confident, and we’re very confident, and I know what Beterbiev is. I know what he is more than most. I’ve been around boxing a lot longer than the average person to know what type of fighter he is from the amateur days right through to now,” said Paul Smith to Boxing News about IBF/WBC/WBO light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev.
“He’s a monster, but boxing is all about timing, and we’re all about timing. Kostya Tszyu against Ricky Hatton, two years earlier, that may not have happened,” said Smith about Hatton catching former light welterweight champion Kostya Tszyu at the right time with him being 36 and no longer in his prime.
Beterbiev can’t be compared to Kostya Tszyu’s position. Tszyu had been dealing with injuries and inactivity, and he had to take off a lot of weight to get ready for the fight with Ricky Hatton. Even with all that, Tszyu was the better fighter that night.
Tszyu lost because Hatton was allowed to maul him, turning the fight into a wrestling match without being pulled off and penalized for the constant grappling. Hatton literally got away with murder against Tszyu. Had the ref been on the ball that night, he would have penalized Ricky all night until he either changed his game plan or was disqualified.
That’s why when Hatton fought Floyd Mayweather Jr, the referrer Joe Cortez wasn’t going to put up with his Greco-wrestling and penalized him and didn’t allow him to turn the fight into an ugly mauling stand-up wrestling match, as Rickhy had been allowed to go against Tszyu.
“I believe, we believe Callum has got a brilliant chance, and we think he’s got Beterbiev at the right time,” said Paul.
Is Callum Smith getting Beterbiev at the right time? The power & talent that Beterbiev showed against Yarde is leagues better than what Callum showed in his only two fights at 175 against Castillo and the little-known Bauderlique.
You could give Smith a shot at winning if he’d fought someone with an ability like Craig Richards or Joshua Buatsi.
“I hope it is that way. I hope it’s that way from the first bell. I’m more confident that Callum has got the punching hands, and I’m more confident in Callum’s chin, and I’m more confident in Callum’s power,” said Paul.
Beterbiev’s power could be a problem
“You ask any trainer or anyone he’s been in the ring with. His power is phenomenal. He’s got scary power in both hands to head & body. Listen, I’m starting to sound like a salesman, but I believe in him strongly. We’ll see on August 19th,” said Smith about his hopes for his brother Callum to defeat Beterbiev.
“Training camp is flying. I’m hearing good things from him. He’s enjoying it. He’s putting good work in. I’m seeing the clips from Buddy and from Callum himself. He’s going really well,” said Paul to Lights Out about Callum Smith’s training for Beterbiev.
Most boxing fans would agree that Beterbiev has a superior inside game, punching power, ring IQ, stamina, and overall ability than Callum Smith.
That’s not a knock on Smith. He’s a fine fringe-level contender, but clearly, he’s not shown himself to be deserving of his WBC mandatory status. His opposition since moving up to 175 has been dreadful, and it’s unclear what the World Boxing Council was thinking in making Smith’s fight with Bauderlique a title eliminator.
“As long as he gets in great shape, he has a brilliant chance. I’m really, really confident. He’s got to be able to have twelve rounds in him, which he has got,” said Paul about Callum. “He’s got to be able to weather the storm when it comes, which he can do and has always done in the past, and he’s got to land them shots when he sees an opening, and he’ll see plenty of them openings because they’re there.
“People have had good performances against him [Beterbiev]. I think Callum is better than all those people [Anthony Yarde, Oleksandr Gvozdyk, and Callum Johnson] that had good performances against him.”
This writer doesn’t agree that Callum is better than Johnson, Yarde and Gvozdyk. All three of those guys would have beaten Callum on the night they fought Beterbiev.
“It’s all about timing, and this is the perfect time to get him [Beterbiev] now. There’s no better chance than now,” said Paul.