Beterbiev’s Knockout of Smith Forces Bellew to Eat Crow (and Ponder PEDs)

By Rob Smith - 01/15/2024 - Comments

Former world champion Tony Bellew had to eat a bit of crow over his wrong prediction after watching Artur Beterbiev reduce Callum Smith to meteor dust last Saturday night.

Still, Bellew was left wondering how the 39-year-old IBF, WBC & WBO light heavyweight champion Beterbiev (20-0, 20 KOs) was able to drop a fighter who had never been knocked down during his career.

Bellew questions whether Beterbiev got help with PEDs to improve his power to turn back the age clock. What Bellew might not recognize is that power is the last thing to go for a fighter.

They lose speed first, and Beterbiev clearly has slowed down in the last five years since his career-best win over Oleksandr Gvozdyk. Many fighters are still as strong as they were in their 20s when they reach 40, and Beterbiev is an example of that.

The 33-year-old former WBA super middleweight champion Smith (29-1, 21 KOs) was hammered to the canvas twice by Beterbiev at the Centre Videotron in Quebec City, Canada.

If not for Smith’s trainer, Buddy McGirt, getting into the ring to tell the referee to stop the fight, Beterbiev would have knocked him down a third time because Callum wanted to continue.

Bellew’s Wrong Prediction

“I picked Callum. I thought the counter left hook would work. I’ve seen Artur Beterbiev look vulnerable in his last five fights. I think Callum Johnson had him on the floor, and he was very close to being stopped,” said Tony Bellew to talkSPORT Boxing about his wrong prediction.

Smith didn’t land enough of his counter-left hooks to the job on Beterbiev. If Smith had landed more of those big punches, he would have likely put Beterbiev down, just as Callum Johnson did years ago.

“I’ve seen him hit multiple times. I’ve seen him outboxed by the likes of Marcus Browne, and I thought Callum was going to be all wrong for him. I’m not going to slander the man’s name. I don’t think that’s fair,” said Bellew.

“I’m just stating the things that are physically impossible. I’ve been in boxing my whole entire life. Never have I seen [what Beterbiev is doing]. George Foreman was at his destructive best when he walked into the ring against Joe Frazier [at age 24 in 1973]. Could he do it in his 50s? Of course, he could because he had the power.”

Beterbiev landed many shots on Smith at close range, and they weren’t super-powerful punches. Nothing was age-defying about Beterbiev’s knockout. He got the knockout because he got in close and hammered Smith with short punches. Smith landed the harder shots in the fight, but he couldn’t land enough.

“Artur Beterbiev just dropped a man who has never been on the floor before,” said Bellew. “He didn’t even react to a single punch. He’s getting stronger. He’s physically being able to absorb big punches from bigger fighters as well.

“If someone finds HGH and testosterone in your system at 39 years old at a point where your testosterone levels are at the lowest of all time,” said Bellew.

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