Never mind about Bernard Hopkins, Adonis Stevenson, Jean Pascal and Sergey Kovalev, the fighter that could be the best in the light heavyweight division is Artur Beterbiev (6-0, 6 KOs). After Beterbiev’s 2nd round knockout win over former IBF light heavyweight champion Tavoris Cloud (24-3, 19 KOs) last night at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Canada, I think you can make an argument that Beterbiev beats all the other fighters in the light heavyweight division.
No offense to 49-year-old Hopkins, but beating Karo Murat, Cloud and Beibut Shumenov hardly makes him the best fighter in the division. He’s still pretty much the same fighter that Chad Dawson beat two years ago in 2012, only Hopkins probably isn’t even as good as he was back then. He’s someone that has been matched carefully and now he’s about to take a huge step up in class against Kovalev. But Beterbiev looks like he could beat Kovalev as well. Beterbiev already beat Kovalev twice in the amateur ranks, and he seems to have the far better inside game than him at the pro level.
Last night, Beterbiev knocked Cloud down 4 times in 2 rounds in the process of scoring a 2nd round knockout victory. It was devastating the way that Beterbiev took the normally strong-chinned Cloud out in 2 rounds. Cloud reportedly suffered a broken jaw in the fight. That obviously was a product of the powerful uppercuts that Beterbiev was hitting him with.
Beterbiev, 29, is being pushed faster with his career than normal fighters because of his age and his Olympic background. He twice fought in the Olympics for Russia in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics. Beterbiev probably should have turned pro after the 2008 Olympics, because his career would have been much further along at this point.
Beterbiev’s best bet is to try and get a shot against Canadian based fighters Adonis Stevenson and Jean Pascal. However, it’s highly unlikely that either of those fighters will ever agree to step inside the ring with him. They’ve got the perfect excuse not to fight Beterbiev given that he’s still not well known, and he doesn’t have a world title.