By Brian Webber: Tim Bradley favors WBA light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol over unified 175-lb champion Artur Beterbiev if the two fight later this year.
Bradley likes the boxing skills of Bivol (20-0, 11 KOs), particularly after watching what he did to Canelo Alvarez with his one-sided win over the Mexican star on May 7th.
It’s still unknown if Beterbiev will be fighting Bivol next. Their promoter Bob Arum said on Friday that he already has plans to match Artur against #1 ranked WBO contender Anthony Yarde in October in London.
Arum wants this fight because it’ll make money in England. The World Boxing Organization hasn’t ordered the fight, but Arum still likes the match because of the revenue.
US boxing fans won’t take notice of the Beterbiev vs. Yard match, but the Brits will love it despite it being a much less exciting match than Beterbiev-Bivol.
Beterbiev’s second-round knockout win over WBO champion Joe Smith Jr. last Saturday night at Madison Square Garden in New York didn’t surprise Bradley.
He felt that Artur’s superior amateur pedigree would be too much for Smith, who is a blue-collar fighter that has been learning on the job since he turned professional in 2009.
Bivol can outbox Beterbiev
“Yeah, I would because he’s active,” said Tim Bradley to Fighthype in picking Dmitry Bivol to defeat Artur Beterbiev. “Bivol has a lot of toughness to him, especially when he fought against Canelo.
“I don’t think he can stay on the ropes, and that’s the biggest issue Bivol has against this guy. You go up against the ropes against a power puncher like this; he’s going to destroy you.
“That’s the only issue that I see. If I have [Bivol] keeps the fight in the center of the ring, use his legs and frustrate Beterbiev, catch him when he’s coming in, and control him outside and isolate him and make him put up that high guard and take advantage of it similar to Canelo, he can beat him.
“It’s a 50-50 fight. You got the puncher [Beterbiev] against the boxer-puncher [Bivol]. It’s a great style match-up. scream vs. scream, but right now, I favor Bivol slightly,” said Bradley.
“Bivol would be a very tough match-up [for Beterbiev]. I haven’t looked at the film, but I can tell you this. Bivol’s lead hand and I know that Beterbiev uses that high guard constantly.
“Yes, I used little wrinkles and moving and stuff like that, but having that strong foundation and amateur pedigree, and also having an educated jab and footwork, in and out footwork, that can keep Beterbiev off balance.
“Who would I please right out of the gate [between Bivol and Beterbiev]. I’d favor the boxer [Bivol]. I look at history. When you look at history, when two power punchers face each other, it’s the one that is more technical is going to win the match,” said Bradley.
Smith lost his composition
“I wasn’t surprised. I thought it would go a little bit of rounds, but I wasn’t surprised by the results. Pedigree, man. It’s very important in the sport of boxing, especially when you’re learning craft the right way,” said Bradley when asked if he was surprised by Artur Beterbiev’s early knockout of Joe Smith Jr.
“Early in the round, he was able to buzz Beterbiev. I saw his legs from him look a little [wobbley]. I saw a little wobble for a split second, but it woke him up.
“He had different techniques,” Bradley said about Beterbiev. “You could see the way he trains; it’s a lot different. Beterbiev is extremely strong, but the tactics that he uses inside the ring, I thought, were going to be a lot better than Joe Smith.
“Yes, Joe Smith needs to maintain distance. He did, but as soon as he got cracked, his discipline was going to be key for him. I have lost his damn mine. That get back. That’s the temperament that he has.
“’Damn, you hit me. Alright, I’m going to hit you back harder.’ I was speaking to a guy a minute ago; when you swing with power, you automatically close the distance. Mid-range is not where you want to be with Beterbiev.
“You got to maintain distance on the outside. You got to be either all the way in where you’re bodying him up, tying him, stopping him and hindering him from working on the inside, or you want to be all the way out.
Beterbiev too powerful for Smith
“Probably a little more resistance,” said Bradley when asked if he expected Smith Jr to have more resistance to put up a better fight against Beterbiev.
“Once that one shot, you don’t know how you’re going to react once you get hit with that shot. Joe Smith has been in there with some punchers, but he’s never been in there with a puncher 17 with 17 knockouts, now 18 and 18 KOs.
“It’s a different kind of power. It’s a thundering power, and it’s like getting hit with a sledgehammer. I’ve been in the ring with a puncher of that nature in [Ruslan] Providnikov, but Provodnikov, I don’t believe, had the technical skills of a Beterbiev.
“I knew the right hand was going to be money because when you take the jab away, and you learn that from an amateur. Smith didn’t have that amateur pedigree.
“He’s jabbing, yes. He’s following the game plan, but as soon as he closes the distance on him with a little bit of movement and Beterbiev goes this way and over the top [with a right hand]. I knew the right hand was going to take the jab away immediately.
“As soon as he landed that right hand, the whole fight changed because the game plan for Joe Smith went out the window,” Bradley said about Beterbiev. “I wanted some to get back.
“It’s not going to go past six rounds. In the breakdown, I said it wasn’t going to go past six rounds, and I’m going to favor Beterbiev. Smith was n’t able to land his right hand, which is his bread & butter punch, ”said Bradley.