Artur Beterbiev, a former amateur standout from Russia who turned pro last year, needed 3 minutes and 38 seconds to stop Tavoris Cloud. He knocked Cloud down three times in round one and there was no 3 KD rule in effect so Cloud made it to the second round when he went down again and did not beat the count.
Being a good technician and vastly experienced as an amateur, Beterbiev surprised the seasoned and proven Cloud by going into exchanges and fighting at close range. He wasn’t worried about trading bombs with Cloud and showed good reflexive defense along with decisive power. Once he had Cloud in trouble and down he did not play it safe and box the rounds away leading on points. Beterbiev chased his opponent until he finished him and wasn’t afraid of taking calculated risks. That is the boxing spirit; I think most of us are sick and tired of extremely prudent safety first technicians who would grab their opponent’s head anytime he gets near them knowing they will win on points as if they have a subscription.
Artur Betrbiev used to be a top amateur and he competed in the upper weight class – heavyweight (91 kg/200lbs) which corresponds to the cruiser weight limit at the pro ranks. He has chosen to campaign at light heavyweight as a pro and this seems to be the proper weight for him. Another reason could be that Oleksander Usyk of the Ukraine, the current Olympic heavyweight champ, also turned pro and fights at cruiser weight. Usyk has defeated Beterbiev twice as an amateur with scores 13:17 and is bigger and taller. Beterbiev may have been forced to compete at heavyweight due the fierce competition within the Russian team. Now at least he gets to choose his own weight class
Artur Betrbiev is the reason Sergey Kovalev moved to the US and became a prize fighter. Kovalev used to be a good amateur himself but not as good as Beterbiev who bumped Sergey out of the Russian national boxing team. Kovalev had to search for another platform to ply his trade and he has done very well already. He must know however that the ultimate test is imminent and I do not have in mind his fight with Bernard Hopkins on November 8 or a possible showdown with Adonis Stevenson who should give him even less trouble than Hopkins. Artur Beterbiev has speed, power and snap along with hardcore boxing habits and uncompromising technique. The promoters, especially on Kovalev’s side, will probably try to postpone the “meteor crash” and Beterbiev will have to earn his shot anyway but the light heavyweight division becomes very interesting.