Artur Beterbiev vs. Joe Smith Jr.: Fight prediction, undercard, start time, odds, preview for unification bout

Boxing’s run of huge clashes and multi-belt unifications continues on Saturday with what guarantees to be an all-action conflict between WBC and IBF mild heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev and WBO champion Joe Smith Jr. The bout goes down from Madison Sq. Backyard’s Hulu Theater on Saturday night time (10 p.m. ET, ESPN).

Beterbiev (17-0, 17 KO) is without doubt one of the most feared punchers within the sport, having knocked out each man he has stepped into the ring with as knowledgeable. He gained the vacant IBF title in November 2017 with a knockout win of Enrico Kolling. Kolling almost turned the primary man to take Beterbiev to the scorecards, however the relentless strain of Beterbiev finally caught up as he scored the knockout with simply 27 seconds left within the struggle.

Three fights later, Beterbiev added the WBC belt to his assortment with a stoppage of Oleksandr Gvozdyk in a highly-anticipated struggle that noticed Beterbiev methodically break down an elite mild heavyweight. He has twice defended his unified titles because the stoppage win over Gvozdyk.

In Smith (28-3, 22 KO), Beterbiev faces a fellow hard-hitting brawler who tries to make use of his energy and grit to finally catch his opponent and end the struggle.

It has been a long term to a world championship for Smith, who beat Maxim Vlasov by majority choice in April 2021 to win the WBO title. That was Smith’s thirtieth skilled bout. Previous to that, Smith had obtained a shot at WBA champion Dmitry Bivol in March 2019. Bivol dominated Smith within the struggle, taking a large choice that noticed Smith solely win two rounds at most.

Bivol’s presence within the division looms massive forward of Beterbiev vs. Smith. After Bivol scored a giant upset over Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, he has probably the most title worth — and presumably probably the most talent — within the division. The winner of Saturday’s struggle may very well be arrange for a four-belt unification with Bivol to crown an undisputed champion at mild heavyweight.

Beterbiev vs. Smith card, odds

Odds through Caesars Sportsbook

Artur Beterbiev (c) -700

Joe Smith Jr. (c) +500

Unified mild heavyweight championship

Robeisy Ramirez -450

Abraham Nova +350



Smith can punch and punch laborious. Given he is a proficient fighter with severe energy, he is a really stay underdog at +500. That stated, Beterbiev is a unbelievable fighter and a stage above Smith. Smith wants to search out some option to preserve Beterbiev off of him and have area to let his rangy energy punches go. That is a giant ask, nevertheless, as Beterbiev is excellent at closing distance, getting inside and mauling with work to each the physique and head.

That method to fights is how Beterbiev has been so profitable. He forces opponents to struggle on the within, the place he has the sting, and he breaks them down till they merely do not have something left. Smith is hard sufficient to outlive for some time however not for a full 12 rounds. Decide: Artur Beterbiev through TKO9

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