Unbeaten Streak on the Line
The unbeaten run of Artur Beterbiev is on the line against Joe Smith Jr. on Saturday, along with his WBC and IBF light heavyweight titles.
Most of the money with boxing betting markets is for the champion, who has been devastating over the year, and the Madison Square Garden crowd could be in for a treat.
Smith is experienced and he should give the champion a run for his money. He also holds the WBO belt, so the unified titles are on the line and it should make for a cracking contest.
Let’s check the latest news, stats, injury reports, and boxing odds for Beterbiev vs Smith. We’ve plenty of predictions for you to consider.
Beterbiev Eyes Knockout Win
The light heavyweight division is wide open but Beterbiev has made his case for being at the top.
He is 17-0 with 17 knockouts and it’s tough to look past that record. The Russian-born Canadian ended the fight early against Marcus Browne and Oleksandr Gvozdyk, so he has been facing tough opponents.
Despite being 37 years old, Beterbiev has plenty of upside and there’s a reason why he’s the -700 favorite to beat Smith.
The sportsbook is giving Beterbiev the ultimate respect and so is boxing promoter Eddie Hearn, who says the division is crammed with three champions.
“At the moment, you have a very clustered division because you’ve got two champions. Well, you’ve got three champions about to become two, and the shots aren’t really there,” Hearn told BoxingNews.
“There’s only going to be one champion after that fight for those belts [IBF, WBC & WBO], and [WBA champion] Dmitry Bivol. But I do believe Beterbiev wins that fight.”
Beterbiev has explosive power and Smith will do well to make it through the 12 rounds. He’s -250 to win by knockout, so there is better value in that market.
Smith Jr. With Point to Prove
Smith lost to Dmitry Bivol in 2019 by unanimous decision in a one-sided contest, but he bounced back with four consecutive wins.
The American boxer took care of business against Jesse Hart, Eleider Alvarez, Maxim Vlasov and Steve Geffrard. His knockout win over Alvarez was his standout victory, but it was too close for comfort in 2021 against Vlasov.
The +450 underdog with boxing odds is the younger fighter at 32, but he doesn’t look nearly as explosive. He owns 22 knockout wins from 28 fights but many of those wins came against inferior opponents.
Beterbiev is one of the toughest fighters he has faced and he should be weary of getting caught with a big right hand. However, boxing commentator Joe Tessitore thinks Smith has improved.
“I’m a firm believer in this fight game that nobody stays the same,” said Tessitore. “You get better or you get worse. Joe Smith has gotten better.
“This is a guy that you mention burst through against Fonfara six years ago, burst through the broken jaw against Barrera, hurting Bivol but not having enough time and coming up short there.”
We don’t think Smith has improved and the odds are spot on. Whilst he always has a chance to win, we haven’t been impressed with his recent form as much as Tessitore.
Beterbiev vs Smith Head-to-Head
It’s the first meeting between Artur Beterbiev and Joe Smith.
Beterbiev vs Smith Fight Information
- Game: Beterbiev (17-0) vs Smith Jr. (28-3)
- Location: Madison Square Garden, New York City
- Day/Time: Saturday, 6 p.m. ET
- Live stream: Box Live
Beterbiev vs Smith Jr. Betting Lines
Beterbiev vs Smith Prediction
We want better odds than -700 for Artur Beterbiev so we’re taking the -250 for the two-belt champion to win by knockout.
The -250 is a fair price for a boxer who has yet to win by any other means and we’re including it in our boxing parlays.
Smith has been a stalwart of the division for a long time, but Beterbiev is trending in the right direction and he could send shockwaves through the light heavyweight division.