Callum Johnson talks Beterbiev vs. Bivol, & Smith

By Will Arons - 01/30/2023 - Comments

Callum Johnson believes Artur Beterbiev could beat Dmitry Bivol if the fight happens next, but he questions whether he can win if they wait a year or two when he’s 39 & 40.

Right now, it’s not looking good for the two to meet this year because Beterbiev won’t fight during Ramadan, and Bivol will be tied down with his rematch with Canelo Alvarez in September.

If Beterbiev could fight in April, it would be the perfect time to make the fight with Bivol because he still doesn’t have an opponent yet.

What it’s looking like is that Beterbiev (19-0, 19 KOs) will wind up defending against his WBC mandatory Callum Smith in the summer, which would be a good fight for British fans but won’t interest the Americans because they’ve already seen Smith embarrassed by Canelo Alvarez in 2020.

Moreover, Callum has done zero to earn a title shot against Beterbiev after beating a couple of lackluster fringe contenders, Lenin Castillo & Mathieu Bauderlique, by knockout.

The WBC made it easy for Callum to become mandatory to Beterbiev, which means we’re going to see the same mismatch as we did when he fought Canelo.

“Now, the only thing that will beat him is age,” said Callum Johnson to Secondsout about Artur Beterbiev after his win over Anthony Yarde. “Callum is very good at picking shots. His left hook is especially.

“Callum has the potential to knock anyone out, Beterbiev included. You’ve got to give Callum a pretty good chance in that one, but it’s still a fight that you’re up against it.

“When he does get beat, it’s going to be the fact that he’s aged just a little bit, and he’s not quite at his best anymore. I don’t think there’s anybody out there capable of beating him when he’s at his fully best.

“I’m not saying he is unbeatable because he is beatable, but it’s just a big ask. I’d like to think so, but if it doesn’t happen next, it’s kind of slipping away, isn’t it?” said Johnson when asked if we’ll see Beterbiev vs. Dmitry Bivol.

“Before we know it, Beterbiev will be 39, 39 1/2, 40, and if it happens at them kind of ages, you’ve really got to favor Bivol. Bivol’s boxing ability, movement, and skills are second to nobody, really nobody.

“Beterbiev is going to have to have the energy and sharpness to get him out of there because to beat him on points is going to be a tall ask for him. As you get older, you do lose a little bit. Hopefully, it will happen sooner rather than later.

“I’ve still got Beterbiev at the moment, but it’s not a pick that I would be confident on picking,” said Johnson when asked who he picks in the Beterbiev vs. Bivol fight.

“Of course, definitely, more than capable,” said Johnson when asked if Anthony Yarde can win a world title. He’s had his chance [to win a world title x 2]. Against Kovalev, Kovalev was an old faded Kovalev, but at that time, I don’t think he was ready. Now, he’s ready to win a world title.

“When you’re up against someone as big and as strong as Artur Beterbiev, it’s a big ask. There’s a reason why he’s had 19 fights and 19 wins by KO, and there’s a reason why he was pretty much unstoppable in the amateurs as well.

“When you’re facing someone like that to win a world title, it’s a big unlucky. But I’m sure he’ll win a world title in the future,” Johnson said about Yarde. “When Arturs gone, maybe he’ll move up to cruiserweight when he retires. But now, he’s pretty much unbeatable as you’re getting,” said Johnson.

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