McGirt’s Bold Belief: Can Smith “Earn Respect” Against Beterbiev?

By Will Arons - 01/12/2024 - Comments

Trainer Buddy McGirt says Callum Smith must make Artur Beterbiev “respect” him on Saturday night to prevent him from walking through him.

McGirt doesn’t say what game plan he has for Smith (29-1, 21 KOs) to keep Beterbiev (19-0, 19 KOs) from pressuring him all night, but it’s likely to meet fire with fire early on to make him think twice about trying to throw.

Both of these fighters have been out of the ring for at least a year, making it difficult to know how they’ll look. Smith says he’s been training all this time, but he doesn’t mention who he’s been sparring with.

Obviously, he’s not faced anyone with Beterbiev’s kind of power unless he’s been training with cruiserweight Jai Opetaia.

Respect Is The Key

“I’m just predicting victory. I don’t care if it’s right hand, left hand,” said trainer Buddy McGirt to MillCity Boxing, predicting a win for Callum Smith of Artur Beterbiev on Saturday night.

The conventional wisdom is Smith needs to shoot for an early knockout because Beterbiev gets stronger and puts more pressure on the latter the fight goes.

Smith looked tired in the later rounds in his loss to Canelo Alvarez in 2020 and his controversial win over John Ryder in 2019. It’s doubtful that his stamina has improved since those fights, as he looked slow and lethargic in his last fight.

“I agree with you,” McGirt said about Smith’s last two opponents not being on the level of Beterbiev. “I’ve seen growth. The key was to make little corrections to make his biggest assets work better for him,” said McGirt about the changes he’s made with Callum Smith since he took over as his trainer following his loss to Canelo Alvarez.

“We’re going to get his respect. I didn’t say how we’re going to get it, but the key is to get it,” said McGirt about what Smith must do to defeat Beterbiev. “You got to make a guy respect you. Otherwise, he’s going to walk over you.

Unorthodox Methods

“He had two fights canceled in the last year, so that’s part of the game. I’ve never actually seen him fight. I’ve just watched clips,” said McGirt about Beterbiev. “I’ve never sat and studied him. I’ve never done that.

“I know he’s strong. I know he closes the show well, and he puts on tremendous pressure, and he gets stronger, and the fight goes on. Nah, I don’t do that, no,” said McGirt when asked if he did much film study for this fight.

YouTube video