Beterbiev will neutralize Yarde, says Scully; the glory’s in beating Bivol and Canelo
Artur Beterbiev (left) and trainer John Scully.
Trainer John Scully has been part of Artur Beterbiev’s team for years and he’s been in the sport a whole lot longer.
Scully is in London ahead of Beterbiev’s fight with Anthony Yarde this weekend and Scully – a boxing historian and custodian of the sport – has as much knowledge on 175-pounders as anyone. He was penpals and friendly with the late Archie Moore, was a chief sparring partner for Roy Jones, and he fought Henry Maske for the world title at 175.
He raves about Beterbiev, who trains with Marc Ramsey, after the Russian has worked his way to 18-0 with 18 knockouts, and Scully feels a unification win against Dmitry Bivol and a lucrative clash against Canelo Alvarez would solidify a spot among the best ever at the weight.
“If he did what he’s done already, plus beat those two, I don’t see how anybody can deny it,” Scully said. “Bivol is awesome. He’s an excellent boxer, super-high level; if Artur was to beat him and then Canelo – there’s no bigger name than Canelo – I can’t see people not giving him the credit he deserves. I think some people already have, but message board people, boxing fans on the internet, they would recognize it at that point.”
Some point to Beterbiev’s age as a negative. The 38-year-old unified titleholder, Scully argues, has never been better; he doesn’t help coach an aging fighter but an improving one.
“I don’t see it,” said Scully, asked whether age could play a role on Saturday night. “I honestly don’t, and I always come back to [Beterbiev’s] religion. He’s so focused and devout. He doesn’t party, doesn’t drink, doesn’t do anything like that, and he trains all the time. It’s in him to be focused and trained properly all the time. He’s not taking abuse in the gym while he’s out of shape. He’s not taking abuse while his body is still under the abuse of drugs or drink, so I think he’s a very young and well-preserved 38.”
Asked to assess Yarde, Scully said that Beterbiev has shown in past fights that he knows how to take away his opponent’s power, and he feels Beterbiev can do it again on Saturday.
“Obviously he’s fast,” said Scully. “I don’t know if he does it well, but he tries to do the Floyd Mayweather… He’s good at it, but it’s something you have to deal with, that different style, but I think his speed is probably the most difficult thing. Against anybody, even a low-level, four-round guy, you’re going to be leery of power and you’re going to have to deal with it, but like in Artur’s last fight with Joe Smith, he showed he knows how to neutralize that, take his time, and it’s not like he hasn’t seen power before. He’s had hundreds of amateur fights, seen every style, so he knows what he’s up against.”
And then there’s Beterbiev’s own power, which Scully said is like “a heavyweight smashing them,” but there is no intention for the champion to dabble up at cruiserweight.
“[Beterbiev] makes 175 pretty easy,” Scully added. “You would never see Artur fat. You see guys between fights and they’re obviously not at their weight, but Artur, even between fights, still looks physically good, and a lot of guys you can’t say that about.”
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