Artur Beterbiev slowing down says Craig Richards

Former world title challenger Craig Richards feels that IBF/WBC light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev looked slower with an observable decrease in his reflexes in his last title defense against Marcus Browne on December 17th in Montreal, Canada.

Although Beterbiev (17-0, 17 KOs) eventually wore Browne (24-2, 16 KOs) with body shots and knocked him out in the ninth round, it wasn’t an easy fight.

Beterbiev was severely bruised and cut during the contest, and the damage wasn’t all done by the head-butts from Browne. The two-time Russian Olympian was hit quite a bit in the contest, and he had to rely on his power and bodywork to carry him to victory.

Richards (17-2-1, 10 KOs) says he’d like to get a title shot against Beterbiev in 2022 if possible so he can get the chance to dethrone him.

Last December, Richards came close to defeating WBA 175-lb champion Dmitry Bivol in a narrow 12 round unanimous decision defeat in Manchester, England.

Richards says Beterbiev slowing down

“I did watch his performance [against Marcus Browne], and as you can see, he is slowing down a little bit. His reactions are not as quick and etcetera,” said Craig Richards to Behind The Gloves in reacting to the recent victory for Artur Beterbiev over Marcus Browne last December.

Artur Beterbiev, Craig Richards, Marcus Browne boxing image / photo

“The one thing to leave you last is your power, and that’s what carried him through very well. As you can see, that prevailed for him in the end,” said Richards of Beterbiev.

Someone who might have taken an interest in Beterbiev’s less than impressive performance against Browne is the ambitious belt-hungry Canelo Alvarez.

He’s talked of wanting to go up to 175 to capture titles, and he might be willing to make that move now that he’s seen a drop off in Beterbiev’s performance.

Beterbiev will be turning 37 on January 21st, and you can bet that Canelo and his trainer/manager Eddy Reynoso are well aware of his increasing age.

This might be the best time for Canelo to target Beterbiev because he now looks beatable, as long the Mexican star doesn’t stand directly in front of him the way Browne was,

Beterbiev’s body shots too slowed Browne

“I feel that Marcus Browne got hit with a few shots, and he thought twice about where he wants to be. He started questioning him if he put him in the line of fire.

“It was a good fight. I enjoyed watching it. I know with him, you’re going to get a knockout. With 17 KOs, he ain’t a joke. He can fight. Marcus Browne did well for a few rounds, but I’m not sure if the nervous energy or whatnot. It seemed to suck his energy or maybe the body shots; who knows?

“It was a good fight. Marcus put up a good performance to start with, but Beterbiev got to him eventually when he started uping the gears.

In the first four rounds of the fight, Browne used movement and a solid jab to get the better of Beterbiev at times.

The Russian couldn’t get his shots off consistently because Browne was on the move and not letting him have the stationary target he needed.

In the fifth round, Beterbiev caught Browne with some hard body shots that took his movement away. From that point on, Browne perched himself against the ropes in a last stand type of approach and tried to trade with Beterbiev.

That was never going to work, and Browne ended up taking punishment from Beterbiev until the contest was halted in the ninth.

Richards reveals his 2022 fight wishlist

“Dmitry Bivol in April, Joe Smith Jr. in September and at the end of the year Beterbiev, but maybe a unification with Canelo,” said Richards about the fights he’d like to have in 22022. I just want the belts. I want the world titles and prove that I’m the best,” said Richards.

Richards’ ranking is too low for him to be given a title shot against any of the champions he wants to face, and it’s not realistic to assume that any of the three champs will provide him with a crack at their belts in a voluntary defense.