Joe Smith Jr. likes being underdog against Artur Beterbiev

Joe Smith Jr. doesn’t mind that the oddsmakers have him listed as a 5 to 1 underdog against Artur Beterbiev in their scheduled 12-round main event fight this Saturday night at Madison Square Garden in New York.

WBO light heavyweight champion Smith (28-3, 22 KOs) says him being a sizeable underdog against IBF/WBC champ Beterbiev (17-0, 17 KOs) is motivation to get him amped up for their fight live on ESPN and ESPN+.

Smith plans on upsetting the applecart by defeating the two-time Olympian Beterbiev and then using the three belts to lure WBA champion Dmitry Bivol to face him for the undisputed championship.

If Smith defeats Beterbiev and Bivol to become the undisputed champion at 175, he’s got an excellent chance of Canelo Alvarez returning to the light heavyweight division to challenge him for all the belts.

Canelo had bad luck against Bivol last May, but he might match up better against a slugger like Smith, who isn’t as slick as Dmitry and will be there to be hit.

“I believe I’ve been tested a few times, and he’s just another man like everybody else,” said Joe Smith Jr to Fighthype about his belief that he can defeat Artur Beterbiev on Saturday.

Beterbiev is pretty tough, and he’s unlike anyone that Smith has fought before as a pro. As long as Smith isn’t under any illusions about what he’s up against in this fight, he has a chance of winning.

It would be a mistake on Smith’s part to assume that just because he’s walked through fighters like Steve Geffrard, Maxim Vlasov, Eleider Alvarez, and Jesse Hard, he’d be able to do the same thing to Beterbiev.

“If I can make it through all the fights that I have, I can make it through this one,” Smith continued. “I believe I can do anything I need to do in there on Saturday; I can adapt to it and make it happen.

I’m glad to be. I don’t mind being an underdog. It’s great for my fans. I’ll be glad to tribute back to them. I don’t have one. They can have their opinions, but come Saturday night, I’m going to do my best to prove them wrong.

“When I’m in there, I’m focused on the task ahead of me, and that’s to get this victory and bring home some more titles.

“I just saw that Canelo is fighting aggressive fighters, guys that come forward and after him. I knew Bivol wasn’t going to give him that,” said Smith on why he knew Dmitry Bivol would beat Canelo Alvarez.