Artur Beterbiev vs. Joe Smith Jr – ESPN Weights

Oddsmaker favorite IBF/WBC light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev weighed in at the limit of 175 lbs on Friday’s weigh-in for his unification match against WBO champion Joe Smith Jr. for their fight this Saturday night live on ESPN and ESPN+ at Madison Square Garden in New York. For his part, Smith Jr. (28-3, 22 KOs) weighed in at 174.6 lbs.

During the face-off, the two-time Olympian Beterbiev (17-0, 17 KOs) glared at Smith jr in a menacing manner, letting him know what’s in store for him on Saturday night when they meet in the headliner at MSG.

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Beterbiev vs. Smith Jr. undercard weights:

  • Robeisy Ramirez 125.8 lbs vs. Abraham Nova 125.4 lbs
  • Bruce Carrington 127.4 lbs vs. Adrian Leyva 127.4 lbs
  • Jahi Tucker 147.8 lbs vs. D’Andre Smith 147.6 lbs
  • Floyd Diaz 121.6 lbs vs. Daniil Platonovschi 122 lbs
  • Troy Isley 158.6 lbs vs. Donte Stubbs 161.6 lbs
  • Wendy Toussaint 152.2 lbs vs. Asinia Byfield 152.8 lbs
  • Jahyae Brown 153.2 lbs vs. Keane McMahon 152.6 lbs

Both champions need a win on Saturday to keep alive the chance to fight for the undisputed championship against WBA champion Dmitry Bivol this year or in 2023.

There’s also a slight chance that Canelo Alvarez might want to take the risk of moving up to 175 to fight the Beterbiev vs. Smith Jr. winner.

Although Canelo did poorly against the boxer-puncher Bivol in their fight last month on May 7th, he might match up better against the sluggers Beterbiev & Smith, as he won’t have to go looking for them and there won’t need to worry about getting carpet-bombed by combinations.

“I think it’s going to be a great clash of styles. I say that because you have two pressure fighters with punching power,” said Tim Bradley to Max on Boxing. “Beterbiev, he’s more mid-range and fighting on the inside.

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“You have Joe Smith, and he’s more outside power, coming with that right hand down the middle. I’m expecting Joe Smith to box a little bit, and I’m expecting him to use distance.

“He does have a three-inch reach advantage, and he has a slight height advantage. I’m expecting an entertaining match-up. I don’t expect this fight to go the distance because of the punching power that both of these guys have and it should be must-watch TV tomorrow night,” said Bradley.

“Beterbiev is the favorite for good reason. The muscle memory is there, and he had a much deeper amateur background,” said Max Kellerman. “He picked up the sport earlier, and he was his country’s pride in the amateur system.

“Joe Smith is a guy that when he stopped Bernard Hopkins by knocking him out of the ring, you expect an easy ride, right? He’s a puncher from Long Island that you can promote. He has not had an easy ride. Joe Smith had had to earn everything.

“He’s the underdog here, but Beterbiev hasn’t faced a puncher like this in the pros, and if he catches Beterbiev coming in,” said Kellerman.