Tim Bradley says Anthony Yarde will need to attack the body of Artur Beterbiev if he’s to have a shot at defeating the IBF, WBC & WBO light heavyweight champion later this year.
According to promoter Bob Arum, Yarde (22-2, 21 KOs) could be the next opponent for the undefeated Beterbiev (18-0, 18 KOs) to face after his brilliant second-round knockout win over Joe Smith Jr. last Saturday night.
While being interviewed after the fight, Beterbiev said he wanted to face WBA light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol next, but he may not get his wish. Arum has reportedly already made a deal for Beterbiev to defend against Yarde in London, England in October.
Also, Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn wants Bivol to defend against #2 WBA Joshua Buatsi next in the UK later this year, with the winner to potentially face Canelo Alvarez in May 2023.
Beterbiev easily took care of Smith, knocking him down three times in their unification fight at Madison Square Garden in New York. Smith came out fast and tried to slug with Beterbiev, and was dropped late in the first.
In the second round, Smith continued to fight aggressively and was knocked down a second time by a short right hand.
A little later, Beterbiev knocked Smith down for the second time in the round with a left to the head after pummeling him against the ropes. Smith fell into the ropes, but it was counted as a knockdown because it was being held up.
The fight was stopped after Beterbiev hurt Smith with some chopping shots that wobbled him, causing him to almost fall. If the referee hadn’t stepped in at that moment, Beterbiev would have knocked Smith down for the fourth time.
Beterbiev’s pressure will be a problem
“You always have a chance when you step foot inside the ring and you can punch as hard as Anthony Yarde, but he does have speed, but that pressure,” said Tim Bradley to Fighthype when asked if Anthony Yarde has a chance of beating Artur Beterbiev next.
Yarde crumbled from the pressure that former WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev put on him in his 11th-round knockout loss in 2019.
That was a fight in which Yarde was facing an old 36-year-old Kovalev, who was way past his best at that point in his career. Kovalev looked like a shell of the fighter he’d once been, and barely put any pressure on Yarde.
But when Kovalev did finally go after him in the 11th, he had Yarde gassed out, and looking like a smaller version of Anthony Joshua. Kovalev then finished Yarde with a jab to the head for the knockout, which was surprising because it wasn’t a big shot. Yarde was too tired to get back up due to his poor stamina.
“We’ve seen in the past, that it’s still a weakness for Anthony Yarde,” said Bradley. “You push the pace on him, back him up, put him on his bike, rough him up on the inside, he doesn’t have a good inside game, you can beat him.
“He’s got some flashy combinations, beautiful combinations, but all that gets caught on the [arms of Beterbiev], and then boom, boom, boom. You’re getting hit and weak from both angles [body & head].
“Not only are you swinging, missing and you’re hitting something, a brick wall and then you’re getting hit in the process. I’m relieving the Kovalev fight [with Yarde] in my mind, and I haven’t had the chance to see his recent fights,” said Bradley.
Yarde must throw body shots
“You’re going to have to because you’re going to have to break that dude down,” said Bradley when asked if Yarde should attack Beterbiev’s body to try and weaken him.
“If you don’t break him down, he’s going to keep coming. He’s a monster, but you got to understand the right time to do it. He’s a strong jabber but sometimes he leaves it feet when he jabs,” Bradley said of Beterbiev.
“He jumps and throws like a gazelle. He’ll leave his feet and lunge forward. You can catch him when he’s off-balance. When your feet are up in the air, you’re off balance.
“So if you hit him with a clean shot, and he goes down, at least your up don’t the scorecards. You got to take advantage when he makes mistakes and puts that high guard up,” Bradley said of Beterbiev. ”
“Don’t get too crazy with power, that’s the problem. When you throw with power, you automatically close the distance, and when you get mid-range or on the inside of that guy [Beterbiev], he chops you up.
“You got to be defensive after by moving and tying up. There’s always tactics [to use against Beterbiev], but you’ve got to have somebody that is extremely focused, extremely skilled, and can do a little bit of everything,” Bradley said.
Bradley doubts Yarde can win
“I don’t know if Yarde is that guy. Yarde is not that great off the back foot,” said Bradley.
“It wasn’t small,” said Bradley, reacting to being told that the ring looked small for the Beterbiev vs. Smith fight. “It was 20 or 22, it’s not small.
“He was tested in the gym,” said Bradley about Beterbiev being tested in training camp in sparring in preparing for Smith Jr. “He had a guy in there that could punch, so he knew he had to be alert, he knew he had to come in with a great game plan to be able to pull off a victory, and he did that.
“It was easy work for him. It’s the importance of having great fundamentals and understanding tactics. Tactically, it’s important to know when to do certain things. Fighters fail to do that.
“The greatest fighters in the world, they know what to do at the right time. All these different tactics, you’ve got to learn and you got to learn that a long the way in boxing. Amateur pedigree is important.
“Joe Smith tonight, he didn’t have that. He’s still someone learning on the job. Yes, he has a lot of experience as far as being a professional goes, but he didn’t have a deep amateur resume and he fought an Olympian.
“It’s different, the skill set is completely different,” said Bradley.