Weights from New York for Beterbiev-Smith
Artur Beterbiev and Joe Smith Jr. made weight on Friday for their light heavyweight unification fight this Saturday in the Hulu Theater in Madison Square Garden.
WBO titlist Smith (28-3, 22 knockouts) weighed 174.6 pounds on Friday, while WBC/IBF light heavyweight titlist Artur Beterbiev (17-0, 17 KOs) weighed in at 175 exactly for the fight being shown on ESPN, ESPN Deportes and ESPN+ (10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT).
Beterbiev, The Ring’s No. 2 light heavyweight contender and Smith, rated No. 3 by Ring, realize this is the step towards being the undisputed light heavyweight world champion, with a unification fight possibly ahead later this year against WBA and Ring’s No. 1-rated Dmitry Bivol.
“I just want to fight the best and make the fans happy,” Smith told ESPN’s Max Kellerman. “I want to get all of the belts. I’ll figure him out when I’m in there. We have a plan and we have a back-up plan. I’m a big puncher, too, and I can stand my ground when I need to. (Being the underdog) is motivation. I don’t mind being called that.”
IBF/WBC/WBO 175-Pound Unified Light Heavyweight Titles – 12 Rounds
Artur Beterbiev (17-0, 17 KOs), 175 pounds vs. Joe Smith (28-3, 22 KOs), 174.6 pounds
Featherweights – 10 Rounds
Robeisy Ramirez (9-1, 5 KOs), 125.8 pounds vs. Abraham Nova (21-0, 15 KOs), 125.4 pounds
Joseph Santoliquito is an award-winning sportswriter who has been working for Ring Magazine/RingTV.com since October 1997 and is the president of the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be followed on twitter @JSantoliquito.