Unbeaten Artur Beterbiev (11-0, 11 KOs) has emerged as what some fans see as the new Gennady Golovkin of the light heavyweight division. The unbeaten Beterbiev has shown amazing punching power and incredible talent since turning pro in 2013. Beterbiev’s recent 1st round knockout victory over Isidro Ranoni Prieto (26-2-3, 22 KOs) showcased his talent for the boxing world to see.
That victory sent shock-waves around the 175lb division by sending a strong message that Beterbiev soon could be the guy that takes over the division by the end of 2017. Beterbiev’s promoter is a charting a course for that to happen, as he sees his fighter getting a title shot at the winner of the Andre Ward vs. Sergey Kovalev rematch in 2017. Beterbiev has the talent to become the next Golovkin, but it’s still going to take time for him to be able to get the same popularity. Beterbiev needs to fight the best in the light heavyweight division. In this day and age, where promoters tend to protect their fighters from the talented opposition, it could be hard for Beterbiev to get the fights he needs to become another Golovkin.
Beterbiev’s fighting style is nothing like that of Golovkin though. Beterbiev is more of an inside fighter than Golovkin. Beterbiev gets in medium to close range to bludgeon his opponents into submission. Thus far, only one fighter has made it to the 7th round against Beterbiev, and that was Alexander “Woody” Johnson, who moved frequently throughout their fight to survive until round 7. However, Johnson was ready to be knocked out by the 5th after getting knocked down hard by Beterbiev and bloodied. Beterbiev took his time by not rushing the knockout by boxing Johnson in round 6 before putting him out of his mercy in the 7th.
Beterbiev could become a very popular fighter like Golovkin is in the U.S with the help of the networks. Like Golovkin, Beterbiev needs to fight frequently to have the exposure in front of U.S boxing fans. Beterbiev also needs to have the top contenders willing to fight him. That may not happen until Beterbiev captures a world title. We’re already seeing with Sullivan Barrera that he’s interested in fighting Jean Pascal, who at this point is more of a gatekeeper type of fighter than a serious contender. The natural fight for Barrera would have been Beterbiev, but he’s not showing interest in taking that fight.
The winner of the Ward-Kovalev rematch could potentially face WBC champion Adonis Stevenson rather than fighting Beterbiev. If the Stevenson fight can be made, then it’s almost 100 percent that the winner of the Ward vs. Kovalev rematch will opt to go in that direction. The reason is obvious. There’s more money in that fight than in taking on the dangerous Beterbiev. The winner of the Ward vs. Kovalev is going to have to take a risky fight regardless, but they’ll be better off facing Stevenson for the payday. Beterbiev will get a title shot against the Ward vs. Kovalev winner, but it’s unclear if the fight will be strung out until 2018. I get the sense that Kovalev and Ward aren’t in a hurry to fight Beterbiev.