Monday, August 08, 2022  |

News

Dougie’s Monday mailbag (Beterbiev-Gvozdyk)

Beterbiev catches Gvozdyk with an overhand right. Photo by Mikey Williams / TOP RANK
21
Oct

THERE IS NONE BETTER THAN BETERBIEV

Dougie,

I was surprised when you and many other pundits chose Govzdyk to win a decision based on him being the “better boxer”. I have cousins in Montreal and have been to fights there. It has been the epicenter of the 175 class for a while, Stevenson, Alvarez, Pascal etc. not to mention lighter guys such as Lemieux and Bute. It’s no secret that Beterbiev was always the best in town.

That was why I was perplexed when I saw you and others saying his boxing ability is not equal to Govzdyk. His stamina is fantastic similar to many fighters from Chechnya (see MMA) who are fastidious in their preparation, don’t drink and are in shape 12 months a year. More importantly, were people so distracted by his otherworldly power that they did not see this is a man who is a great boxer? He has quick hands, jabs well, a monster on the inside, throws a variety of different punches from all angles and controls distance whether staying out of range or cutting off the ring. Before you dress me down I know you did note these things in your mailbag but perhaps underestimated these gifts?  Govzdyk is world class but his arsenal seems limited to a jab or 1-2 combination he is not in the same class Beterbiev did not just beat up Govzdyk he out boxed him, followed a plan and to quote what you predicted for Govzdyk “drown him in deep waters”. His body work destroyed him.

The ref was crap I thought particularly in I believe it was the 9th when Beterbiev hurt him bad to the body, Govzdyk stopped fighting and the ref for some reason gave him a timeout? What the hell was that? Also what did you think of Adelaide Byrds doppelganger the judge John McKvie. This clown should lose his job having Govzdyk up 6 rounds to 3? I had the opposite score. Govzdyk even when he was throwing punches was doing so for defensive purposes to keep Beterbiev off him. Thankfully it did not come down to the scores.

Finally, would you agree when I say Beterbiev KOs Krusher, Canelo and Bivol? I think that is not in question. All the best. – Aaron in Miami

After his very impressive, near-perfect performance against Gvozdyk, I’m sure Beterbiev would be the prohibitive favorite against that terrific trio. He’s earned the No. 1 position in The Ring’s rankings (and the members of the Ratings Panel that were ringside in Philadelphia have suggested that he crack the Pound-for-Pound top 10), so there won’t be many picking against him going forward. However, Kovalev brings experience and a much harder jab than Gvozdyk was able to bring to Friday’s title unification bout, Canelo also has much deeper pro resume plus elite-level slip-and-counterpunch skills (including to the body), and Bivol is a better athlete than The Nail with a more difficult/safety first mobile boxing style. Just because Beterbiev was ultimately too much for Gvozdyk doesn’t automatically mean he’ll grind down everyone he faces at 175 pounds. So, I can’t agree 100% with your assumptions. All I can say is that I hope Beterbiev gets at least one of the three to fight him because the winner of that showdown would likely earn The Ring’s currently vacant light heavyweight title.

I was perplexed when I saw you and others saying his boxing ability is not equal to Govzdyk. I never said or wrote that, Aaron. I merely picked Gvozdyk to win because I thought his experience and style would trump that of Beterbiev, who had better stamina and defensive prowess than I’d seen up until Friday. I thought Gvozdyk had “the edge in agility and technique” (as I stated in Friday’s mailbag). I was wrong about that. Beterbeiv has better footwork than I thought, and he was the superior technician in terms of punch delivery. In other words, he was the ring general. But I don’t know where you got the notion that I thought his “boxing ability” was not on par with the Ukrainian’s skills.

From the get-go I admitted that the fight was a “tough call,” that they were evenly matched, and I stated very clearly (and high up) in Friday’s mailbag that I believed the light heavyweight titleholders’ “ring IQ (and hand speed) are pretty much equal…”

His stamina is fantastic, similar to many fighters from Chechnya (see MMA) who are fastidious in their preparation, don’t drink and are in shape 12 months a year. I thought Beterbiev’s got that primal-man Khabib Nurmagomedov look (and, yes, I know Dagestan is not Chechnya, but hey, they’re neighbors, and both regions produce some very scary looking combat sports athletes).

More importantly, were people so distracted by his otherworldly power that they did not see this is a man who is a great boxer? I think a lot of people overlook the boxing ability of aggressive fighters. I never regarded Beterbiev as a “pure puncher” or simple pressure fighter. He was always an aggressive boxer-puncher to me. However, until Friday night, I did not view him as a “great boxer.” He didn’t show me that in his first 14 pro bouts. He did vs. Gvozdyk.

He has quick hands, jabs well, a monster on the inside, throws a variety of different punches from all angles and controls distance whether staying out of range or cutting off the ring. All of this is true, Captain Obvious.

Before you dress me down I know you did note these things in your mailbag but perhaps underestimated these gifts? Well, DUH! If I hadn’t underestimated them I wouldn’t have picked Gvozdyk to win.

Photo by Mikey Williams

Govzdyk is world class but his arsenal seems limited to a jab or 1-2 combination he is not in the same class Beterbiev did not just beat up Govzdyk he out boxed him, followed a plan and to quote what you predicted for Govzdyk “drown him in deep waters”. Yes, I said that could happen to your superhero and now you’re doing the EXACT same thing to Gvozdyk that you’re complaining about (and accusing) everyone else of doing to Beterbiev going into the title unification. You’re not giving the Ukrainian his due credit and respect. He has a lot more than a jab and one-two combinations – including upper-body movement, body-head combos, short left hook/uppercuts on the inside and choice single body shots – and he showed it against Beterbiev. It wasn’t enough to win the fight or even keep Beterbiev at bay for more than a few seconds, but he won rounds. The fight was legitimately close. I don’t agree with the two official scorecards that had Gvozdyk up after nine rounds, but more than a few fans and media members agreed with those tallies, and most observers thought the fight was closely contested throughout. You’re pretending that Beterbiev won every round.

His body work destroyed him. It was definitely a key to his victory.

The ref was crap I thought particularly in I believe it was the 9th when Beterbiev hurt him bad to the body, Govzdyk stopped fighting and the ref for some reason gave him a timeout? Gary Rosado is usually a very good ref, but he was out of sorts when it came to calling knockdowns and legal body punches during this fight.

What the hell was that? Poor perspective (he wasn’t in position to see where the body punch at the start of Round 9 actually landed), timing (he stepped in just when Beterbiev could have pressed his advantage and maybe even scored a knockdown) and judgement (he basically allowed Gvozdyk to con him into granting him a time-out to recover from a legal body punch).

Also what did you think of Adelaide Byrds doppelganger the judge John McKvie. This clown should lose his job having Govzdyk up 6 rounds to 3? I had the opposite score. I think you were both (along with judge John Putoraj) cheerleading a little bit for the guy you had up on your scorecard. It was 5-4 for either fighter after nine.

Govzdyk even when he was throwing punches was doing so for defensive purposes to keep Beterbiev off him. You’re wrong. He hit Beterbiev with right hands that would have at least dropped most world-class light heavyweights. Beterbiev just as a very good beard (and I’m not talking about his actual facial hair).

Thankfully it did not come down to the scores. Yes, and thankfully, Gvozdyk, who spent two days in a hospital for precautionary measures, was not seriously hurt.

 

BETERBIEV VS. GVOZDYK

What’s up Dougie,

What did you make of gvozdyk-beterbiev? I thought gvozdyk was winning the fight not the war… beterbiev was like the terminator in there and I expected gvozdyk to catch him and stop him as artur has been down before but regardless, props to both… where do both go from here?

Bivol has the engine but can he keep beterbiev off him? If and it’s a big IF canelo wins no way he fights any other LHW titleholder? and hes talked down GGG and andrade so maybe callum smith?

What did you make of the max kellerman interview? I was a fan and he made good points about beterbiev’s underrated boxing ability, ring generalship etc but saying gvozdyk quit a few days after patrick day died and year where the sports safety I really coming into question? C’mon man…gvozdyk was spent after the 9th but watch the 10th he threw and fought until it was beaten out of him he didn’t quit and he’s nothing to be ashamed of…really horrible on kellerman’s part.

Hope your well man. All the best. – David, Dublin

I like Kellerman, but I cringed when I heard him say Gvozdyk quit. I was reaching for my remote to turn the volume down even before he uttered that nonsense because I knew it was coming once he made his obligatory reference to the Ward-Kovalev rematch and said “Beterbiev was winning the story of the fight…” But like Beterbiev against Gvozdyk, ole Slapsie Maxie beat me to the punch.

I’ve got two theories on why he felt the need to say what he said. One is that his idol, Andre Ward, was talking about “body language” and capitulation on Gvozdyk’s part all night, so he wanted to please his celebrated co-commentator (who can do no wrong, by the way) by agreeing with those observations and reaching that conclusion. The other is that Kellerman is more of a general sports analyst than a hardcore boxing insider these days, and I think the “Talking Heads” of the mainstream sports media are encouraged to “move the needle” by making outrageous or polarizing statements, such as Kellerman’s silly comments about track & field athletes and re-evaluating Gennadiy Golovkin’s legacy.

Gvozdyk was saved from further punishment after his second knockdown in Round 10. Photo by Mikey Williams / TOP RANK

Bottom line: You can’t say a guy who gets up from two knockdowns (really three, because the first time Beterbiev sent Gvozdyk to the canvas the referee didn’t count it) and is then saved from himself after the fourth knockdown is a “quitter.” He was ready to get up again when Gary Rosado stepped over him to call it off.

Gvozdyk, who was clearly exhausted after going nine grueling rounds with one of the heaviest hitters in boxing, took a hard shot to the back of his head at the start of Round 10 but he was STILL firing back during those exchanges after being dropped. That’s not a quitter. And even if he DID quit, so the f__k what? After the string of ring fatalities that have occurred in recent months, should anybody bring up that the Q-word, especially after a punishing fight?

What did you make of gvozdyk-beterbiev? I thought it was a high-quality, compelling, hotly contested fight right up until the stoppage.

I thought gvozdyk was winning the fight not the war… That’s a good way to sum it up, but I thought the fight was neck-and-neck right up until Round 10. I had it even after six rounds and even after eight.

beterbiev was like the terminator in there and I expected gvozdyk to catch him and stop him as artur has been down before but regardless props to both… Indeed, both men are deserving of nothing but praise and admiration. And I also came into the bout thinking that Beterbiev was a little more vulnerable than Gvozdyk because of the knockdown he suffered against Callum Smith, but also because he’d only fought past seven rounds once. However, his chin and stamina turned out to be better than Gvozdyk’s.

where do both go from here? Hopefully, Beterbiev will fight more regularly and will eventually get a chance to further unify the light heavyweight world titles (and get a shot at the Ring Magazine championship).

Bivol has the engine but can he keep beterbiev off him? Good question. A lot of boxing heads are going to say the WBA beltholder has no shot against Beterbiev, but Bivol is stick-and-move specialist who is used to boxing 12 rounds. The Kyrgyzstan-born boxer appears to be a better overall athlete than Gvozdyk and has a more educated jab (which maybe lands with more authority than The Nail’s left stick).

If and it’s a big IF canelo wins no way he fights any other LHW titleholder? I think it depends on how he beats Kovalev (if he can beat the Russian veteran), how he feels at the heavier weight, and what kind of deal can potentially be made with Beterbiev or Bivol.

and hes talked down GGG and andrade so maybe callum smith? I would welcome Canelo vs. Smith. If the redheaded superstar can beat Kovalev and the Englishman then he’ll truly be a four-division champion.

 

THE INDOMITABLE BETERBIEV

Doug hey,

Being a longtime Beterbiev fan has entailed years of patience/impatience and lingering doubts, so Friday was a good night and I’m still feeling it.

Huge credit to both fighters, and their teams. I felt Gvozdyk boxed very well and had a solid plan. He came to win, and he did all he could. At last though, the moment comes ‘round that Beterbiev is able to unveil what he’s got and what he can do with it in a real shootout. The power he produces on those short inside shots is up there with Wilder and Inoue in terms of destructive potential that’s very hard to defend.  He backs it up with solid whiskers — I was impressed by how thoroughly Gvozdyk checked them, and I believe Beterbiev was buzzed a couple times. I was even more impressed by how well Beterbiev seemed able to ignore the affects and maintain his focus.

Indomitable is the word that comes to mind: Beterbiev’s entire presentation was that of man who’ll not be denied, and by the ninth round Gvozdyk was both hurt and unnerved, even while still showing heart and fight. I also think Beterviev boxes very well, he’s got some layers, and his footwork and positioning are underrated. He fights like a dreadnought.

I doubt Bivol can keep him off of him…  Well, I’m probably gushing sorry, but man I waited a long time for this! Hope you have a great weekend, and I hope we get to see further title unification at 175 asap. Cheers! – Alec

Likewise, Alec. I’m glad that Beterbiev came through for his loyal longtime fans. I remember the buzz on him after he stopped former beltholders Tarvoris Cloud and Gabriel Campillo in 2014 and 2015 but I thought he showed some limitations in his 2015 bout vs. gatekeeper Alexander Johnson, then he lost career momentum with inactivity (due to promotional issues) and he didn’t look like a world beater vs. Enrico Koelling and Callum Johnson in his lone bouts in 2017 and 2018. But, damn, Beterbiev made up for lost time and put all doubts about him to rest with his performance against Gvozdyk.

You’re not alone in your doubts about Bivol’s ability to contain the indominable, as you so accurately describe Beterbiev’s style and spirt, IBF/WBC light heavyweight titleholder. But the WBA beltholder is 17-0 as a pro, he’s confident in his boxing style, and he’s turned back the challenges of tough veterans, such as former champ Jean Pascal and top gatekeeper Isaac Chelimba, and strong contenders, such as Sullivan Barrera and Joe Smith Jr. So, my guess is that he’s going to have a self-belief that you and I can’t truly grasp. I won’t be surprised if Bivol challenges Beterbiev sometime next year.

I felt Gvozdyk boxed very well and had a solid plan. He came to win, and he did all he could. I agree. His problem was that he couldn’t hurt Beterbiev or gain his antagonist’s respect.

At last though, the moment comes ‘round that Beterbiev is able to unveil what he’s got and what he can do with it in a real shootout. The power he produces on those short inside shots is up there with Wilder and Inoue in terms of destructive potential that’s very hard to defend. Again, I agree 100%. Those three (I put Inoue at No. 1, Wilder at No. 2, and Beterbiev at No. 3) are the best punchers in boxing, and thus, the most dangerous fighters in the sport.

Photo by Mikey Williams

He backs it up with solid whiskers — I was impressed by how thoroughly Gvozdyk checked them, and I believe Beterbiev was buzzed a couple times. I do too. It appears that a lot of people missed those moments.

I was even more impressed by how well Beterbiev seemed able to ignore the affects and maintain his focus. That ability was downright scary (like prime Antonio Margarito or Ricardo Mayorga) and it took a physical and mental toll on poor Gvozdyk.

Indomitable is the word that comes to mind: Beterbiev’s entire presentation was that of man who’ll not be denied, and by the ninth round Gvozdyk was both hurt and unnerved, even while still showing heart and fight. Thank you for recognizing the valor that Gvozdyk exhibited right up until he was stopped, something that was seemingly lost on Kellerman and our friend Aaron from Miami.

I also think Beterviev boxes very well, he’s got some layers, and his footwork and positioning are underrated. He fights like a dreadnought. “Fights like a dreadnaught…” I think that’s the best and most succinct way to describe Beterbiev and his style.

 

THE KIND OF FIGHT WE SHOULD HAVE MORE OF

Hello Doug,

Very good fight Friday Night from Philly. Top Rank delivered the type of fight we should be getting at least once a month, fighters should face the best available opposition, nobody loses.

Utopia aside, we saw two young undefeated fighters put their best efforts to deliver the kind of matchup that we boxing fans salivate and discuss on twitter and boxing forums like this one.

Seeing the actual fight come to life sometimes seems like a dream come true, and when it does happen, things get better and clearer for the sport.  So I’m happy Bob and his team managed to bring us a fight that we the fans wanted. Hopefully they continue to listen and deliver what we crave (an interesting competitive fight for Crawford anybody?).

On to the fight itself. I thought Beterbiev would win this fight even though I almost convinced myself I made the wrong pick several times during the week. I thought The Nail wasn’t as good as him and lacked the kind of power that makes a difference. It turns out I was right, Beterbiev displayed better punch resistance and more determination to land that big bomb (he did pay for it in several rounds). I thought it was a closely contested fight that had moments when you thought somebody was taking over when suddenly the other one came back.   In the end power punching is what will score the most points.

Much like the Derevyanchenko-Golovkin fight a couple of weeks ago (saw it again and now scored it for GGG btw), power and damage made a difference, and in the end it’s about who inflicts the most pain.  Beterbiev much like GGG possess heavy hands that you can’t ignore when scoring a fight. Even if he just landed a couple in the end of a round, it made you doubt your decision about that particular score.

At the time of the stoppage I had it 5-4 for Beterbiev and could see it the other way around. The scores by the judges were a little off both ways. They were too lopsided in my opinion. (3 point difference? Hmmm).

Now, what do you think The Nail has to do to get his career back on track? I’m sure this is a confidence deflator and will be difficult to psychologically get over it.

Beterbiev though, damn, I find it difficult to pick against him, even vs Bivol, Kovalev and Canelo. He’s just too strong. I think he needs a little more refinement and experience to become the ultimate version of himself, and based on what we saw Friday, I can say this is a huge confidence booster and will make him much tougher to defeat. How do you see him against the three I mentioned?

Hope you have a great week, another great two weeks are still waiting for us! Juan Valverde. – San Diego

Lot’s of good matchups coming up: Elwin Soto vs. Edwin Heno, Regis Prograis vs. Josh Taylor, Shakur Stevenson vs. Joet Gonzalez, Serhii Bohachuk vs. Tyrone Brunson, Ryan Garcia vs. Romero Duno, Canelo Alvarez vs. Sergey Kovalev, Naoya Inoue vs. Nonito Donaire, and that’s just the next TWO AND HALF WEEKS!  

Very good fight Friday Night from Philly. Top Rank delivered the type of fight we should be getting at least once a month, fighters should face the best available opposition, nobody loses. Agreed. We’ve been getting that almost every week, recently, with Spence-Porter, Golovkin-Derevyanchenko and now Beterbiev-Gvozdyk.

I thought it was a closely contested fight that had moments when you thought somebody was taking over when suddenly the other one came back. That’s how I saw it.

In the end power punching is what will score the most points. Agreed.

Much like the Derevyanchenko-Golovkin fight a couple of weeks ago (saw it again and now scored it for GGG btw), power and damage made a difference, and in the end it’s about who inflicts the most pain. I’m glad you’ve seen the light.

Beterbiev much like GGG possess heavy hands that you can’t ignore when scoring a fight. Even if he just landed a couple in the end of a round, it made you doubt your decision about that particular score.  Yep, he “stole” a couple rounds like that in my card.

At the time of the stoppage I had it 5-4 for Beterbiev and could see it the other way around. I also had it 5-4 (or 86-85) for Beterbiev after nine rounds. I scored three of the first four for Gvozdyk, and four of the next five for Beterbiev.  

Now, what do you think The Nail has to do to get his career back on track? I think he needs a rest, and maybe a few changes in his training situation. When he comes back, he’ll need a confidence boosting fight or two before he takes on a ranked fighter.  

Beterbiev though, damn, I find it difficult to pick against him, even vs Bivol, Kovalev and Canelo. He’s just too strong. How do you see him against the three I mentioned? I would favor Beterbiev against all three, like pretty much everyone else, but I think each member of that trio presents significant problems for him. I don’t think he would walk through any of them.

 

TWO QUESTIONS

Hi Doug! I have only two questions.

  1. Is Teddy Atlas an overrated trainer? I felt his suggestions in Nail’s corner were not helping him that much. Work behind the jab, keep the distance – he could advise more specific things.
  2. Does Beterbiev have one of the best chins in boxing? Gvozdyk hit him with some clean bombs and Beterbiev walked through them like a champ.

Wishing you and your family all the best. – HB

Thanks, HB.

I don’t think Atlas is overrated at all. He understands the sport inside and out and his track record speaks for itself. The man is a hall of famer. However, he’s not for everyone. He’s a very intense/high-strung individual who can become overexcited, overbearing and overwhelming between rounds in the corner with his fighter when things get rough during a fight.

Beterbiev has a world-class chin. If he didn’t, one of those lead right hands that Gvozdyk launched at his chin (and the side of his head) would have staggered or dropped him.

 

 

Email Fischer at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter and IG at @dougiefischer, and watch him on Periscope every Sunday from SMC track.

close

SIGN UP TO GET RING NEWS ALERTS