Tonight, Artur Beterbiev takes on Joe Smith Jr. at Madison Square Garden in the highlight of this weekend’s live boxing action, with the Canadian putting his 100% knockout record on the line at MSG.
The WBC, IBF and WBO world light heavyweight titles are on the line at the iconic boxing venue that has hosted some of the biggest and most memorable bouts in history.
Beterbiev is the current champion, and anything other than another resounding win would be a major shock to all concerned, not least the major online betting apps.
The pre-fight odds suggest the 37-year-old need only turn up to successfully defend his titles and take a step closer to ruling the division, but any experienced fight fan knows that’s not the case.
Madison Square Garden has been the scene of some emphatic upsets, including Andy Ruiz Jr’s knockout win over Anthony Joshua. Will we see another in this bout?
Artur Beterbiev vs. Joe Smith Jr. Betting Odds and Fight Information
- Artur Beterbiev is a Russian-born fighter now based in Montreal, and he crosses the border with a stunning 17-0-0 professional record.
- Joe Smith Jr. is an American boxer from Long Island, New York, who will enjoy the backing of a dedicated support inside the venue.
- Three versions of the light heavyweight world championship are on the line here, with WBC, IBF and WBO belts on the line.
- Venue & Location: Madison Square Garden (New York, United States)
- Date: Saturday, June 18, 2022
- Start Time: approximately 11:00 p.m. Eastern Time
Artur Beterbiev vs. Joe Smith Jr. Betting Odds
Odds are from Caesars Sportsbook.
- Artur Beterbiev -650
- Joe Smith Jr. +475
Total Rounds Over/Under
- OVER 8.5 (-115)
- UNDER 8.5 (-115)
Fight to go the distance
- Yes +275
- No -380
Champ has a 100% KO average
Beterbiev is seen as something special amongst avid boxing followers, with the champion carrying an unbeaten run of 17 fights, with each contest won without the help of the scoring judges.
He has flattened every opponent he has ever faced since turning professional in 2013 with a second-round TKO, racing through the light heavyweight rankings.
Artur is currently ranked number one in Canada and number two in the world, sitting behind only Dmitry Bivol. To stand any chance of facing Bivol in a winner takes all match, Artur knows he must keep active and winning, knocking out opponents and building his reputation.
That journey continues in New York with the Canadian aware that a win is no longer enough; he must impress fans, promoters, TV stations and even Bivol if the bout is to happen anytime soon.
Smith has nothing to lose
Joe Smith Jr. has been written off by just about everyone interested in boxing, outside of himself and his team who have worked together for this shot at the big time. That won’t change his tactics or plans, as armchair fans, pundits, and bookmakers have no say in how this battle will play out; it’s there to be won.
All the focus in the build-up has been on Beterbiev and his incredible punch power, which has allowed Team Smith to prepare far from the media circus behind closed doors without any interruptions. He knows what his opponent brings to the table and would have been working on ways to navigate the danger.
With three world titles available, money would have been no object during this fight camp for Smith, and his team would have brought in some great sparring, testing him in the gym against fighters like Artur, who have power and box on the front foot.
He will be well versed in what he must do on fight night after weeks of punishing training, weight loss and work on his defence.
Junior will duck between the ropes with the confidence that comes from winning his last four fights, taking his record to 28-3-0 with 22 wins by stoppage and just one defeat in the distance. The spare was inflicted early in his career in 2010, and there’s no need to get carried away with that result.
Interestingly, Smith took Bivol to points for the WBA world title in 2019, losing on the scorecards by margins of ten, ten and eight rounds. Three of his last five have gone the distance, and he’ll aim to take Beterbiev into the later rounds.
Follow the form and back Beterbiev in the Big Apple
When previewing this fight and analysing the form of both warriors, it’s easy to see Beterbiev holds a clean sweep of knockout wins and race out to back him for another KO, but there’s more to it than that.
The bookies have been watching the same fights as us and know that the champion carries incredible power in both hands, is aggressive and always goes in search of the knockout.
There is no value in backing him to continue his winning ways – as seen from the fight winner odds posted above. We must study the form and look for an angle into this bout that will give us a chance of landing a winning bet at decent odds. Thankfully, we have found it.
When looking through his recent performances, we know Artur has been stopping opponents, but it hasn’t been one-punch KOs, and he hasn’t been getting rid of rivals in the opening few rounds.
Instead, he likes to take his time, wear down opponents and has won each of his last three in nine rounds or later. Keep that in mind when making your picks for this fight.
Artur Beterbiev vs. Joe Smith Jr. Prediction and Betting Picks
Beterbiev vs. Smith Prediction – Beterbiev to win
Beterbiev vs. Smith Betting Picks – Beterbiev/Smith over 8.5 rounds (-115) & Beterbiev to win in rounds 7-12 (+100) – both at Caesars Sportsbook)
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