Timothy Bradley predicts that Saul Canelo Alvarez won’t fight IBF/WBC light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev (15-0, 15 KOs) due to the pain that he would deliver the younger 29-year-old Mexican star. Bradley notes that it’s one thing for Canelo to move up to light heavyweight to take on an old lion in 36-year-old WBO 175-lb champion Sergey ‘Krusher’ Kovalev (34-3-1, 29 KOs), but a completely different situation to take on a puncher in his prime like the unbeaten Beterbiev.
Bradley says Canelo doesn’t want to fight Beterbiev
“Canelo is a smaller guy coming up to this weight class, and he’s going to take that risk because of Kovalev,” said ESPN commentator Bradley to Fighthub. “Kovalev is a little watered down. He’s a little long in the tooth. So that’s why he’s taking that risk. He sees opportunity to break Kovalev down to the body. That’s his [Canelo] specialty, and so he’s going to take that risk to go up to 175 for Kovalev. But a guy like Beterbiev, I don’t think so. I don’t think he wants that. And I really don’t think Canelo wants that. That’s pain,” said Bradley.
It’s pretty obvious to most people that Canelo won’t make a fight with Beterbiev. But if that fight did happen, we’d likely see Canelo wait three or four years until Beterbiev is on the downside before he makes the fight. In other words, it would be like what Canelo did with Gennadiy Golovkin waiting until he was 35-years-old before fighting him. Ideally, it would be great for Canelo to prove boxing fans wrong by taking on Beterbiev if he beats Kovalev on November 2, but it doesn’t seem too likely. Canelo will probably move back down to 160 after the Kovalev fight, and face guys like Demetrius Andrade, Jaime Munguia and possibly a trilogy match with Golovkin.
With Beterbiev, it wouldn’t help Canelo to wait 3 or 4 years before fighting him, because the Russian fighter is just too powerful. He’s got the kind of power that will still be there even in his 40s. Power is the last thing that a fighter loses, and Beterbiev has enough strength to carry him through for many years. Beyond that, Beterbiev’s inside game is second to none in the sport. So if Canelo can’t depend on having an advantage on the inside against a puncher like Beterbiev, he simply won’t fight him. That’s just reality of it.
The boxing media makes a big deal about the head and upper body movement that Canelo uses to avoid head shots. Well, that’s not going to help him against Beterbiev, is it? With Beterbiev being a body puncher, Canelo would be wasting hist moving his head, because his body would still be there to be hit. As such, Canelo won’t fight Beterbiev, because he’s all wrong for him. Beterbiev is stronger, bigger, more technical, and he’s a better inside fighter. All the junk that Canelo uses to avoid head shots would be a waste of time against Beterbiev, since he would be going after Canelo’s midsection.
Given Canelo’s history of being hurt to the body, he likely won’t last more than two or three rounds against Beterbiev once the Russian fighter starts unloading on him. Against Gvozdyk, Beterbiev waited until the 9th round before he started throwing a lot of shots. Once that happened, Gvozdyk crumbled to pieces and was just a stressed punching bag.
Beterbiev was too much for Gvozdyk
Last Friday night, Beterbiev destroyed WBC light heavyweight champion Oleksandr Gvozdyk (17-1, 14 KOs) in knocking him down 3 times in the 10th round to score a 10th round knockout at the Liacouras Center in Philadelphia. The fight was billed to be a 50-50 affair on Top Rank Boxing on ESPN and ESPN Deportes, but it didn’t turn out that way. Beterbiev walked Gvozdyk down in the first eight rounds, and then turned his offensive machine into hyper drive in the 9th and 10th rounds to batter Gvozdyk like a rag doll. The fight stopped being competitive after the 8th, and more disturbing in the 9th and 10th.
Gvozdyk needed saving because he was taking tremendous punishment. At one point, Gvozdyk even called his own timeout after Beterbiev hurt him with a body shot in the 9th. When do you ever see a fighter call timeout when they’re hurt by a punch? Gvozdyk was lost once Beterbiev started blasting away at him in the 9th. His trainer Teddy Atlas tried to lift his spirits between the 9th and 10th rounds to get him back into the fight, but it was pointless.
Gvozdyk had nothing left. He came out for the 10th round, and was promptly knocked down by Beterbiev. Two more knockdowns would follow before referee Gary Rosato pulled the plug on the fight at 2:49 of round 10. Atlas should have been the one to have the fight stopped, but oh well. He was too focused on giving motivation speeches in between rounds.
Beterbiev vs. Dmitry Bivol is a good fight says Bradley
“That’s an interesting fight, because [Dmitry] Bivol is a bad boy,” said Bradley when asked about his thoughts on a fight between Beterbiev and Bivol. “Man, I’m going to give the edge to Beterbiev because Bivol is the smaller guy. He’s a small light heavyweight with great fundamentals, and good power.
“He [Bivol] punches hard with both hands as well. And he has the punching power to get the respect to Beterbiev, but you saw tonight. Nothing deterred that guy, and nothing stopped him from coming. He took it, and he kept coming and coming and just destroyed Gvozdyk,” said Bradley.
On paper, WBA light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol (17-0, 11 KOs) would be a good opponent for Beterbiev to fight, but in reality probably not. Bivol looked horrible in his last fight against Lenin Castillo this month, and he didn’t look good against Joe Smith Jr. before that. Bivol is fighting in the wrong division. Although he probably won’t admit, Bivol is too small, too weak and too limited to be fighting against the best at 175. He needs to wise up and move down to 168 before it’s too late. Once Bivol fights someone like Beterbiev, Gvozdyk or Kovalev, he’s going to lose, and then have to make the decision to move down to 168 coming off of a knockout loss.
Bradley thought Gvozdyk would beat Beterbiev
“I honestly thought Gvozdyk was going to be able to out-box him,” said Bradley about his belief that Gvozdyk would beat Beterbiev. “I’m not going to lie. Gvozdyk was SUPPOSED to win this fight in my opinion, because he was the boxer. I didn’t have him winning the fight [going into the 10th]. Because of the style. When you see one guy has more, and can do more. But then you see the pure will, and he didn’t have that. That was the guy, Beterbiev. He had that will to win,” said Bradley.
Bradley was like a lot of boxing fans, who drank the Kool Aid and thought Gvozdyk would be able to out-box Beterbiev. For us that have seen Beterbiev fight on many occasions, we knew that Gvozyk had no chance of winning. He was never going to beat Beterbiev. You could see it from watching light hitters like Tommy Karpency and Mehdi Arama hurt Gvozdyk. He’s good fighter, but he’s not in the same league as Beterbiev.
Bradley: Beterbiev-Gvozdyk fight was stopped at right time
“Yeah, absolutely,” said Bradley when asked if the Beterbiev vs. Gvozdyk fight was stopped at the right time in round 10. “It was either the referee [Gary Rosato] was going to stop the fight or Teddy [Atlas] was going to stop the fight, because Teddy, I’m familiar with him. I know him; he was my trainer.
“Protecting you is the most important thing [to Atlas], and he said, ‘I want to get you home to your family.’ He saw that his fighter was taking some damage, and I’m sure he’s very hesitant in getting up there and stopping the fight,” said Bradley.
Bradley is a little off here. The Beterbiev-Gvozdyk fight should have been stopped in the 9th round when Beterbiev began to mop the deck with Gvozdyk. Everyone could see as the 9th round ended that Gvozdyk wasn’t going to make it through the 10th. The way that Gvozdyk called a timeout in the 9th round after being hit to the body, the fight needed to be stopped. That should have been a knockout when Gvozdyk stopped fighting and took a timeout after being hurt. That should have been a ‘No mas’ from Gvozdyk, but the referee Gary Rosato blew it and let him have a timeout.