We have a battle of heavy-handed light heavyweights on tap when undefeated sensation Artur Beterbiev defends his IBF, WBC and WBO belts against Anthony Yarde this Saturday. The two will square off at Wembley Arena in London, marking Beterbiev’s first fight in Great Britain.
In his last fight, Beterbiev demolished Joe Smith Jr. in an impressive second-round TKO victory. Beterbiev won Smith Jr.’s WBO light heavyweight title that night and rook one step closer to unifying the light heavyweight division.
The bout was supposed to feature two heavy punchers, but when the dust settled, it was Beterbiev who proved to have the advantages in power, precision and technical ability. Smith was outmatched.
Yarde’s first loss was in 2019 and came at the hands of another Russian boxer, Sergey Kovalev. Since then, Yarde has won five fights by stoppage and suffered a split-decision loss against Lyndon Arthur. He did redeem that loss with a KO victory.
Overall, this is an exciting match-up between two destructive light heavyweights. But to me, this is reminiscent of what we said about Beterbiev vs Smith. Yes, both men hit hard, and yes, it will be fun as long as it lasts, but the difference in boxing ability is significant.
Punching is just one aspect of a fight. Sure, you can get away with being a powerful puncher for a while, but at some point, someone will be able to absorb your best shots and the heat will be turned back on you.
We learned this with Joe Smith Jr. He could punch, but when he faced someone who has a strong chin like Beterbiev, Smith had no answers and ultimately fell early.
I see that being the same here. Yarde has talent for sure. But the tutelage in his corner also puts him at a disadvantage. Jay Tunde is Yarde’s trainer and in the Kovalev fight, many criticized Tunde by not giving instructions to Yarde in a fight that looked like he had a good chance of winning. Now he’s facing someone more disciplined and in their prime than Kovalev was at that stage in his career. That spells danger to me.
Beterbiev currently is priced at -900 to win. There is no value there. The TKO/KO for Beterbeiv is priced at -350. There is no value there either.
We have to get a little creative for this one. Beterbiev has shown that he is going to win by knockout – he has knockouts in all 18 of his wins – but does he stop Yarde early or late?
All of Beterbiev’s knockouts past the 6th rounds came against fighters who had a good amateur background. This includes the likes of Marcus Browne and Oleksandr Gvozdyk. He has absolutely destroyed everyone else early.
Yarde reminds me of Joe Smith Jr. He has good power, but not much else. So I really like Beterbiev and I like him early.
Best bet: Under 5.5 rounds (+105 at DraftKings Sportsbook)
- Beterbiev to win in Rounds 1-3 (+350)
- Beterbiev to win in Rounds 3-6 (+220)