Hearn Stunned After Beterbiev Mauls Smith, Suggests Retirement for Battered Star

By Robert Segal - 01/14/2024 - Comments

Promoter Eddie Hearn looked & sounded in shock after watching his fighter Callum Smith (29-2, 21 KOs) get beaten up & destroyed by unified light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev (20-0, 20 KOs) last night, getting pulled out by his coach, Buddy McGirt, in the seventh round in Quebec City, Canada.

Hearn remarked that the two-time Russian Olympian Beterbiev, who many felt deserved a win over Oleksandr Usyk in the 2012 Olympics, was “not human’ with the way he beat up his fighter Smith in a fight that wasn’t competitive.

Smith had his moments in the fourth and sixth rounds, catching Beterbiev with left hooks, but it wasn’t enough to keep him from his assaults. By the seventh, Smith’s face looked badly marked, and he was exhausted from the pace & pressure that Beterbiev was putting him under.

Interestingly, Hearn seemed to suggest that the 33-year-old Smith should retire. When the question was asked of him if Smith should call it a day, Hearn rattled off his accomplishments, saying, “He’s done so much in the sport,’ which appeared to be him agreeing that he should retire.

It’s unclear if Smith is set for life financially, but that would likely be the case due to the money he’d be making for this fight and what he got for his 2020 match against Canelo Alvarez.

Hearn admires Beterbiev’s Inhuman Nature

“You’re facing a guy that’s not human; he’s not breathing. Even in the clinches, you seen how strong he is. I’ve never seen anything like it before, really,” said Eddie Hearn to Boxing News, deconstructing what happened to his fighter Callum Smith at the hands of Artur Beterbiev last night.

Smith had to have been warned about not allowing Beterbiev get inside on him, but he couldn’t prevent him from getting in close and hammering the daylights out of him.

It was more than Beterbiev’s inside game that was Smith’s undoing tonight. He wasn’t reacting well to Beterbiev’s punches and not aware of when they were coming because he wasn’t telegraphing anything the way regular fighters do.

“It’s like it’s not right. It’s an unfair advantage. I think Beterbiev was a lot better defensively tonight as well. He was a lot switched on and sharp because I think he knew about the power of Callum Smith. Even in the sixth round, I think Callum was making a small dent.

“The problem is, you can’t take the hammer off of Beterbiev. You can’t continually take punishment. Even at times, I thought, ‘Callum might just be finding his way,’ and he [Beterbiev] comes back four or five [punches]. It only takes four or five around the head. Wherever they are, they hurt. It was a good performance from Beterbiev,” said Hearn.

Retirement Best Option For Callum Smith

“He’s done so much in the sport,” Hearn said about Callum, sounding like he might be thinking that he’s finished. “He’s won English, British, Commonwealth, European, WBC silver, WBA world title, Ring Magazine world titles. He just came up against a guy that’s a freak of nature.”

Back when Smith captured the WBA title at 168, the division was weak; without talented fighters like David Benavidez, Canelo Alvarez, and David Morrell Jr., Smith would have never won his WBA belt if those sharks were circulating in the super middleweight division back them.

If Smith continues his career, it’s going to be difficult for him to win a world title at 175, as Dmitry Bivol, Beterbiev and Joshua Buatsi are all there and not going away anytime soon.

Benavidez & Morrell are expected to move up to light heavyweight, and Smith’s chances against them wouldn’t be good.

“He wasn’t good enough, he wasn’t strong enough, but he gave it everything tonight. You have to ask yourself at that stage, ‘What else have you got to achieve?” said Hearn when asked if Smith should retire.

“Do you want to go and start fighting in final eliminators? He hasn’t had that many tough fights. That was a tough fight tonight,” Hearn continued, talking about the punishment that Callum Smith took from Beterbiev.

“The Canelo Alvarez fight was tough, but it wasn’t as tough as that, that’s for sure. He never really got hurt in the Canelo fight, but he got hurt tonight, and I’m not surprised. You’re in with a guy that’s not particularly human,” said Hearn.

YouTube video