Neither Artur Beterbiev nor Joe Smith Jr. uttered a word while they stared at each other on a stage Friday inside Madison Square Garden.
These two light heavyweight champions simply aren’t built for talking trash. They prefer to make statements with their fists, which is why there is so much interest among boxing fans in their 12-round, 175-pound title unification fight Saturday night at Madison Square Garden’s Hulu Theater in New York.
There was no drama at the scales, however, as Beterbiev and Smith made weight Friday afternoon.
The Russian-born, Montreal-based Beterbiev (17-0, 17 KOs) stepped on the New York State Athletic Commission’s scale at exactly 175 pounds, the limit for the light heavyweight division. Smith (28-3, 22 KOs), of Mastic, New York, officially weighed 174.6 pounds.
Beterbiev, 37, owns the IBF and WBC 175-pound championships. Smith, 32, will defend his WBO belt.
Most sportsbooks list Beterbiev as at least a 7-1 favorite to beat Smith.
A few minutes before Beterbiev and Smith made weight, Abraham Nova and Robeisy Ramirez met their contractual obligations for a 10-round featherweight fight that’ll open ESPN’s two-bout broadcast at 10 p.m. ET.
Abraham (21-0, 15 KOs), of Albany, New York, officially weighed 125.4 pounds, the lowest weight of his six-year professional career. Ramirez (9-1, 5 KOs), a two-time Olympic gold medalist from Cienfeugos, Cuba, came in slightly heavier, at 125.8 pounds.
The official weights for the first six fights on the Beterbiev-Smith undercard are listed below.
6:30 p.m. ET; 3:30 p.m. PT
Bruce Carrington (3-0, 2 KOs), Brooklyn, 127.4 pounds vs. Adrian Leyva (3-2-1, 1 KO), Houston, 127.4 pounds, 6 rounds, junior lightweights.
Wendy Toussaint (13-1, 6 KOs), Huntington, New York, 152.2 pounds vs. Asinia Byfield (15-4-1, 7 KOs), Reading, England, 152.8 pounds, 8 rounds, junior middleweights.
Jahi Tucker (7-0, 4 KOs), Deer Park, New York, 147.8 pounds vs. D’Andre Smith (11-1, 5 KOs), Decatur, Georgia, 147.6 pounds, 6 rounds, welterweights.
Troy Isley (5-0, 3 KOs), Alexandria, Virginia, 158.6 pounds vs. Donte Stubbs (6-5, 2 KOs), Riverside, California, 161.6 pounds, 6 rounds, middleweights.
Jahyae Brown (10-0, 8 KOs), Schenectady, New York, 153.2 pounds vs. Keane McMahon (7-2, 4 KOs), Dublin, Ireland, 152.6 pounds, 6 rounds, junior middleweights.
Floyd Diaz (4-0, 1 KO), Las Vegas, 121.6 pounds vs. Daniil Platonovschi (4-0, 2 KOs), Tiraspol, Moldova, 122 pounds, 6 rounds, junior featherweights.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.
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