- What: WBC, WBO and IBF Light Heavyweight Title Fight
- Who: Artur Beterbiev vs. Callum Smith
- Date: Saturday, January 13, 2024
- Time: 7:00 p.m. ET
- Location: Videotron Centre in Quebec City, Canada
- How to Watch: ESPN and ESPN+
A fight that was initially booked to take place in August 2023 now goes down on January 13, 2024, when Artur Beterbiev puts his WBC, WBO, and IBF light heavyweight titles on the line against former WBA super middleweight champion Callum Smith. That Top Rank-promoted contest takes place at the Videotron Centre in Quebec City, Canada. Below is some background on the fighters before we discuss, in detail, the betting breakdown of the Beterbiev vs. Smith matchup.
Artur Beterbiev (19-0 with 19 knockouts) won the vacant IBF title in November 2017. He added the WBC crown in October 2019 and then picked up the WBO belt in June 2022. The 38-year-old is coming off a January 2023 defense of all his titles, an eighth-round knockout win over Anthony Yarde. Jaw surgery prevented Beterbiev from facing Smith in August.
Callum Smith (29-1, 21 KOs) is on a two-fight winning streak. The 33-year-old’s most recent win was an August 2022 fourth-round stoppage of Mathieu Bauderlique. Smith’s only loss is a December 2020 unanimous decision setback to Canelo Alvarez. That loss cost him the WBA and The Ring super middleweight belts.
According to The Ring, Beterbiev is the No. 2 light heavyweight fighter, while Smith is ranked No. 3.
Artur Beterbiev vs. Callum Smith betting picks
Artur Beterbiev vs. Callum Smith betting breakdown
Callum Smith has been inactive over the past few years. Since his 2020 loss to Canelo Alvarez, he has only fought twice, once in 2021 and once in 2022. Smith lost to Alvarez 119-109, 119-109 and 117-111. He earned his shot at Artur Beterbiev as the mandatory WBC challenger. The fact that this fight did not happen in August benefits Smith as it will give him additional time to prepare and train for a difficult assignment.
Smith cannot fight Beterbiev as he did against Alvarez. If he allows the champ to back him up and control where the fight takes place, he will get knocked out, as Beterbiev is comfortable and confident at light heavyweight and packs more power than Alvarez in his punches. Smith also needs to be a lot more accurate in this fight. He only landed 24 percent of his power punches in that bout, as opposed to Alvarez’s landing rate of 57.3 percent. Smith also needs to be willing to get in heavy exchanges with Beterbiev, something he did not do against Alvarez or John Ryder.
Regarding this matchup, Beterbiev is a better fighter than Callum Smith. Beterbiev has better all-around skills, and more power than Smith. The one worry about Beterbiev is that he trusts his power almost too much, which sometimes leaves him open to counters. To avoid those counters against Smith, he needs to fight like Alvarez did, with forward motion and pressure, and keep Smith on his back foot. Ideally, he will force Smith to the ropes, using his power to hurt and break his foe.
Artur Beterbiev vs. Callum Smith: Who has the edge?
Smith has significant height and reach advantages in this fight. He is three inches taller than the champ and has a 5.5-inch reach advantage. Smith is also five years younger than Beterbiev, so there is always the worry that time and age will catch up with the champ in this contest.
Beterbiev has fought better competition and has more power and skills than Smith. If time has not caught up with the champion, this is his fight to win.
Artur Beterbiev vs. Callum Smith: What’s at stake?
The talk is that the winner of this contest will be in line for a shot at WBA light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol. That fight will be the biggest bout of the winner’s career and earn them a career-high purse. Bivol is 22-0 with 11 knockouts. According to The Ring, he is the No. 1 fighter at light heavyweight. Bivol defeated Alvarez by decision in 2022. Since that victory, he is 2-0 with two decision wins. Bivol is coming off a December 23 win over Lyndon Arthur.
Best bets for Artur Beterbiev vs. Callum Smith
The one wildcard in this fight is age. At some point time will catch up with Beterbiev, but this is not the fight where that happens. The betting pick is for Beterbiev to continue his run of knockout victories when he faces Smith in Canada. Look for the fight to end after the sixth round.
Best Bet for Artur Beterbiev vs. Callum Smith: Beterbiev to beat Smith via knockout.
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