By Sam Volz: Teddy Atlas says IBF/WBC light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev looked like a “Terminator” with the way he calmly walked WBO champion Joe Smith Jr. down to crush him in two rounds in their unification fight last Saturday night at Madison Square Garden in New York.
(Photo credit: Sumio Yamada)
Atlas, who has spent many years training fighters, enjoyed watching the way the unbeaten two-time Olympian Beterbiev (18-0, 18 KOs) took apart an excellent fighter in Smith (28-4, 22 KOs), knocking him down three times before the bout was halted in round two.
Smith kept getting with the short punches from Beterbiev, and in hindsight, he should have utilized his reach by keeping the action on the outside. Joe came out fast in the first round and mistook Beterbiev’s movement as a sign of fear on his part.
By the time Smith realized that Beterbiev had been using movement to lure him in, it was too late. Smith let Beterbiev get in close, and he chopped him apart with powerful shots.
It’s hard to believe s fighter can generate the kind of power that Beterbiev does on the inside. Smith seemed to think that he had a chance of beating Beterbiev at his own game by trading in close, and he paid the price repeatedly of getting dropped over and over.
“Smart, efficient, and destructive. #Beterbiev-Smith,” said Teddy Atlas on Twitter, reacting to Artur Beterbiev’s win over Joe Smith Jr. “Beterbiev like a terminator, calm, focused and laser-like.
“Beterbiev showed another dimension, not only power and toughness. See how moved feet to step back + keep separation for punches,” said Atlas.
Beterbiev’s inside game was out of this world good in this fight, tearing Smith apart.
After the first knockdown in round one, Smith and his team should have adjusted to keep the action at range to prevent Beterbiev from landing or minimize his opportunities.
Instead of Smith staying outside, he continued to attack Beterbiev full bore at medium to close range. There was one instance in the first round where Smith was wildly swinging shots, and that’s how Beterbiev was able to take advantage of the situation to drop him.
“Smith threw jab from too close where you can counter it, and punches were too fat. Beterbiev’s are skinny/short,” said Atlas.
“As I said before the first bell, Beterbiev doesn’t care about boos or where he fights. He just wants to fight. No frills,” said Atlas.
Beterbiev’s promoters at Top Rank want him to fight Andy Yarde (22-2, 21 KOs) next in October in London, England. However, Beterbiev and his trainer Marc Ramsay prefer an undisputed match against WBA 175-lb champion Dmitry Bivol next for all the marbles.
“Beterbiev reminds me of the great Marvin Hagler, all business, no-frills. Blue-collar approach. Steel lunchbox 🥪 🥊”
“Punches worth a thousand words in Beterbiev’s world. If he had a motto, it would be; to take care of business. Bachman–Turner Overdrive may be his favorite band with the song, ‘Taking care of Business.’ Love his demeanor/ approach,” said Atlas.