Top Rank promoter Bob Arum says IBF/WBC light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev will be facing either WBO 175-lb champion Joe Smith Jr. or Canelo Alvarez in 2022, provided he successfully defeats Marcus Browne on December 17th.
Canelo (56-1-2, 38 KOs) said this week in an interview with ‘The Last Stand Podcast’ with Brian Custer that he could move up to 175 and possibly face Beterbiev or WBA champion Dmitry Bivol next.
Canelo faces IBF 168-lb belt-holder Caleb Plant next month on November 6th for the undisputed super middleweight championship.
Canelo says he wants to keep providing boxing fans big fights, and a match with Beterbiev or Bivol would be among the possibilities for him.
Beterbiev (16-0, 16 KOs) still needs to take care of the talented #1 WBC contender Marcus Browne (24-1, 16 KOs) on December 17th live on ESPN+ at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Canada.
The southpaw 2012 U.S Olympian Browne is no sure thing for Beterbiev, as he’s got a lot of ability. The only loss Browne suffered as a professional came against Jean Pascal in 2019 in losing by an eight round technical decision.
Browne suffered a cut on his forehead in the eighth round from a clash of heads. If not for that, it’s possible that he could have come on to defeat Pascal in the championship rounds.
“[Joe] Smith had COVID and was supposed to fight on October 30th,” said Arum to iFL TV when asked about a unification fight between IBF/WBC 175-lb champion Beterbiev and WBO champion Joe Smith Jr.
“Our next available date for Joe is in January. So in the spring, it’s like to do the unification fight [between Beterbiev and Joe Smith Jr.] or if Beterbiev is successful against [Marcus] Browne, maybe Canelo Alvarez. That would be a HUGE event, Canelo Alvarez against Beterbiev.
“It’s going to be in Montreal, Beterbiev fighting Browne. Montreal, I remember so fondly doing to Leonard-Duran fight there, and it’s a great fight town. That’s going to be fun,” said Arum of the Beterbiev vs. Browne title fight.
Last April, the power-punching Joe Smith Jr. (27-3, 21 KOs) captured the vacant WBO 175-lb title with a 12 round majority decision over Maxim Vlasov. Smith Jr. was supposed to be making his first defense of his WBO title on October 30th against Umar Salamov but came down with COVID.
Beterbiev vs. Smith would be a great unification fight for the fans to see. Smith feels he can beat Beterbiev, and it would be a real war.
If Canelo Alvarez successfully defeats Plant, he might move up to 175 rather than staying at 168 to defend his four belts against the challengers. This week, Canelo said he would be interested in fighting Jermall Charlo if he stayed at 168.
Apart from that, Canelo said he’d like to move up to 175 to take on Beterbiev or Bivol.