Bob Arum’s Top Rank promotional company won today’s purse bid to promote IBF, WBC & WBO light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev vs. Callum Smith fight.
Top Rank won with a winning bid of $2.115M, only $15K more than Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn’s bid of $2.1M. What this means for the average fan is the Beterbiev-Smith fight will be shown on ESPN+ instead of DAZN.
Callum looked terrible in his fights against John Ryder and Canelo Alvarez. Against Canelo, Smith covered up on the ropes for twelve rounds, taking shots to the arms and doing basically on offense. Canelo won a one-sided twelve-round unanimous decision in their fight in 2021.
In Smith’s fight against Ryder in 2019, he did the same thing, covering up for twelve rounds on the ropes and taking punishment.
Shockingly, the judges gave Smith a 12-round unanimous decision even though he was little more than a human punching bag for Ryder. The fight was in Callum’s hometown of Liverpool, which some boxing fans believe was the reason for his victory.
Arum winning the bid will put the tall 6’3″ Callum Smith in a tough spot for this fight because he won’t have the home advantage by fighting Beterbiev in his backyard in England.
Instead of having the fans rooting him on, Callum will need to fight in front of a neutral crowd in Montreal or New York, which favors Beterbiev because he’s better known in those cities and will enjoy strong support from the fans.
With Beterbiev’s punching power and perfect KO percentage, he would do well even in Callum’s hometown of Liverpool. In Beterbiev’s last fight, he defeated British light heavyweight Anthony Yarde in front of his fans in London last January at the OVO Arena Wembley.
The pro-Yarde fans were shouting support throughout the fight, motivating him to fight out of his skin, and while that helped him up to a certain point, it ultimately led to him walking into a big right hand from Beterbiev in the eighth round and dropped.
After Yarde got back up, Yarde was nailed with a couple more shots from Beterbiev before the referee stopped the fight.
In hindsight, the cheering from the crowd led to Yarde taking more punishment because if they weren’t encouraging him, he likely would have been finished in the fourth round when Beterbiev royally hammered him.
The 33-year-old Callum (29-1, 21 KOs) is the WBC mandatory to Beterbiev (19-0, 19 KOs) and is getting this title shot opportunity after fighting just twice at 175, beating Mathieu Bauderlique and Lenin Castillo.
@trboxing has won the rights to promote the mandatory light heavyweight fight between champion Artur Beterbiev and Callum Smith with $2 115 000 outbidding Matchroom by a mere 15 thousand dollars ! Shawn Palmer was present and Carl Moretti on zoom. pic.twitter.com/LNu9ATFMaX
— World Boxing Council (@WBCBoxing) May 2, 2023