Артур Бетербиев срещу Джо Смит-младши Предаване на живо в полутежка категория за вълнуващи битки и безспорен шампион

Despite all its shortcomings in recent years, the sport of boxing continues to rise for the second consecutive calendar year, and much of this success is fueled by the increase in undisputed championship matches.....

Of the eight male boxers who have combined all four recognized world titles in one division over the past two plus decades, six have occurred since 2017, including four times alone in the past 13 months. On the women’s side, four of the five undisputed champions of the four-belt era have been crowned in the last three years.

Much of the talk around a champion to manage the best divisions in boxing included the hope that the welterweight and heavyweight divisions, the two monetary divisions in the sport, would quickly follow suit. Given the ongoing negotiations over the autumn clash between Errol Spence Jr. and Terence Crawford and the rumors that Tyson Fury is looking for the winner of the planned rematch between Alexander Usik and Anthony Joshua, it is clear that we are approaching.

One of the most forgotten divisions approaching its own undisputed peak is 175 pounds, as the combined WBC and IBF welterweight champion Artur Beterbiev (17-0, 17 KO) faces WBO champion Joe Smith Jr. 28-3, 22). KOs) on Saturday at the Madison Square Garden Theater in New York. The winner could head to a four-belt match against WBA champion Dmitry Bivol (20-0, 11 KOs), who last upset King of the Pound Canelo Alvarez.

The inclusion of Alvarez in one-off matches in the light heavyweight division in recent years was not enough to attract the attention and anticipation in the division for a big battle, as former champions Sergei Kovalev and Adonis Stevenson hoped to do 10 years ago, touring each other on the anticipation of a four-belt collision that never materialized. Closest to this division, which he came close to, was Kovalev, leading a pair of pay-per-view matches against Andre Ward for three world titles and the crown of the best P4P at stake.

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If there’s one thing that has made Alvarez’s recent Bivol upset, it’s to raise the stakes on how big a potential undisputed match can be. Alvarez not only remains dead after securing a rematch with Buffalo after his autumn trilogy in the super middleweight division against Gennady Golovkin, Buffalo did well to raise his profile and P4P rankings with the win.

If Buffalo eventually fights Beterbiev in a duel between undefeated champions, both ranked among the best in the world, the idea of ​​Alvarez fighting the winner is the best way to escalate big money and expose everyone to the top. in the division.

But Beterbiev’s victory on Saturday is far from guaranteed. Although Beterbiev has been declared the 7-1 betting favorite, the 37-year-old Russian has only fought twice in three years and has looked good enough lately, despite a series of knockouts, to wonder if the competition has failed him.

The 32-year-old Smith is usually stable after losing with a decision from Bivol in 2019. The strong player on Long Island won four consecutive victories, including a decision by a majority in 2021 against Maxim Vlasov to claim the vacant WBO title, and slowly added spice to his game after he first appeared on stage as a successful skinny man who once retired the famous Bernard Hopkins.  

The only potential problem in waging an undisputed battle for the winner against Beterbiev is whether the promoters and networks representing both champions will want to work together in ways that Kovalev and Stevenson did not. Moreover, is the potential battle for the four-belt title in question big enough commercially for two competing networks to make a joint PPV card? .

In a perfect world, problems like these would never be a problem. Unfortunately, boxing does not exist in the mentioned world, so the inclusion of Alvarez back in the mix can be crucial. Although Alvarez is currently working with DAZN and promoter Eddie Hearn, the same couple who support Bivol, the Mexican superstar has used leverage and stellar power to make his own strikes in recent years and overcome political divisions in the sport.  

But before Bivol (or even Alvarez) can hope for undisputed glory, there must first be a winner, crowned between Smith and Beterbiev. And given the strength of the blows of both opportunities, one can expect another exciting clash in the division, which recently managed to attract the attention of casual fans. 

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