Brains not brawn will be the reason Callum Smith 29-1 (21) scores an upset win over WBC, WBO and IBF light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev 19-0 (19) at Centre Videotron in Quebec City, Canada on Saturday night, according to the 33-year-old Brit.
“I believe I’m a better, smarter fighter. I just think I catch him before he catches me. I can get rid of him. I do believe I’ve got the style to beat him. Hopefully I can show the world how good I am,” Smith said on the Toe2Toe podcast.
“I believe I can outbox him. He’s not invincible. He doesn’t go in and whitewash everyone, he does lose rounds and he is there to be hit. I’ve seen two fighters put him down as a professional. I just believe however the fight goes, I come out victorious.
“I know how good I am, I know how good I can be. I’ve got to be disciplined for every second of every minute of every round.”
It won’t be the first time Smith has won with the odds stacked up against him. In September 2018 he travelled to Saudi Arabia to defeat George Groves by seventh-round knockout to claim the WBA super middleweight title, the Ring Magazine championship and the coveted Muhammad Ali trophy in the final of the World Boxing Super Series.
“When I won my world title, I was an underdog against George Groves and it’s good to prove people wrong, people who’ve doubted you before, people who’ve picked you to lose. It just gives you a little bit more of a point to prove,” Smith said.
The lone loss on Smith’s ledger came against reigning undisputed super middleweight champion Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez 60-2-2 (39) in December 2020. Smith barely won a round against the 33-year-old Mexican superstar, but he did last the distance in what would prove to be his final bout at 168-pounds.
Smith believes Beterbiev will be the hardest fight of his career.
“Yes, I’ve got to go out there and take the belt off him. I’m fighting a man with a 100 percent knockout ratio,” he said.
“If he isn’t the toughest fight of my career, I wouldn’t like to meet who is! I will prove all the doubters wrong and come home a world champion.
“Most probably just judge me off the Canelo performance. The version of me against Canelo doesn’t beat Beterbiev. I know that.
“I know the best version of me beats Beterbiev and I’ve just got to make sure the best version of me turns up, remind people what I’m capable of, show people how good I am.”
Beterbiev, who has long been linked to a four-belt unification clash with WBA champion Dmitry Bivol 22-0 (11), insists he has only one opponent in mind right now.
“It’s interesting. Let’s talk about it after. I don’t know who is there next. But I’m all focused now for my next opponent, Callum Smith,” Beterbiev said.
“I know he will bring everything for this fight and I bring everything for this fight. And we will see who is better.”