Artur Beterbiev showed us all again last night what a seemingly unstoppable fighting machine he really is. With his bloody ninth round KO win over a game and tricky Marcus Browne, Beterbiev retained his two light-heavyweight belts along with his status as the only active world champion with a perfect 100 percent KO record. When watching Beterbiev stalk, walk down and then ultimately take out an opponent, one is reminded of the line in the movie ‘Rocky IV,’ where it’s said of Ivan Drago that ‘Whatever he hits, he destroys!”
And Beterbiev is very much for real. Can anyone beat him? This is a question we’ve been asking for some time, since even before the Russian beast won his first world title in 2017, this the IBF belt. At age 36, Beterbiev is somewhat advanced in years, yet he has had just 17 pro fights and he has not taken much punishment; certainly not anywhere close to as much as he himself regularly dishes out. To both head and body, Beterbiev hurts his prey, while anything that does land in return Beterbiev’s fine chin deals with.
The fight we all want to see now, is one between Beterbiev, 17-0(17) and pound-for-pound king Canelo Alvarez. But will the Mexican superstar dare take this, the ultimate challenge available to him today (this side of what seems like a wholly unrealistic fight at heavyweight)? Canelo has spoken about the possibility of him facing Beterbiev, according to Bob Arum, but will Canelo have been just a little bit put off the idea when watching last night’s fight, as he surely will have done? Maybe Canelo was thinking, or hoping, Beterbiev had slowed down a little. Having fought just once since October of 2019 prior to last night’s impressive win, it’s possible Canelo and others forgot how special a fighter Beterbiev is.
The IBF/WBC 175 pound king reminded everyone in graphic fashion how much of a terror he is with the KO of Browne, a man who had not been stopped before. If Canelo is waiting until such a time that Beterbiev is a faded, slowed down, past his best fighter, and that he will only risk fighting him then, he could be in for a long wait. Beterbiev looked as good as ever last night.
But if Beterbiev cannot entice Canelo into the ring with him, who might he fight next? The 36-year-old said he wants “the best.”
“We are ready for any fight,” Beterbiev said after taking care of Browne. “We are ready for the best – to be the best, you have to beat the best.”
While earlier this week, Bob Arum told Sky Sports that Canelo has “expressed interest to me,” with regards to fighting the best light-heavyweight on the planet. So again, will Canelo dare take this, the ultimate challenge?