Marc Ramsay believes Joe Smith Jr.’s aggressive strategy against his charge, Artur Beterbiev, was akin to rolling the dice.
Beterbiev, the Montreal-based Russian, broke down Smith of Long Island in two rounds in their WBC, WBO, and IBF 175-pound title unification fight last Saturday at the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Beterbiev dropped Smith three times in a fight many expected would end in a knockout, given that both fighters are known for their punching prowess.
Smith wasted no time trying to trap Beterbiev along the ropes in order to land his right hand, an approach that led Smith, who had never been stopped before, to take a knee on at least two occasions. Beterbiev used plenty of lateral movement to dodge Smith’s advances, uncorking right hand counters just as the former day laborer tried to unload his own vaunted right hand.
Ramsay said Beterbiev, a standout amateur in the Russian system, is far cannier in the ring than one might expect from someone with a reputation as a hard-hitting mauler.
“When you take a risk like this against Artur, you will pay the price,” Ramsay told BoxingScene.com. “We worked on multiple styles. Everyone was expecting a crash, like two trains going together. Artur has a little bit more boxing [ability] than that. We tried to neutralize his right hand and catch him with the right hand.”
Ramsay noted that Beterbiev, 37, was never seeking a knockout and was ready to go the distance, if needed. The undefeated Beterbiev, of course, has never gone the distance in his 18 professional fights.
“We prepared for 12 hard rounds with Joe,” Ramsay said. “He was getting hurt and kept trying to come back again and again. We have a lot of respect for him. We were ready for 12 rounds.”
After the fight, Beterbiev’s promoter, Bob Arum of Top Rank Inc., stated that his unified light heavyweight champion will take on WBO mandatory Anthony Yarde in Yarde’s hometown of London, sometime in October.
That was, apparently, news to Ramsay, who said he had never received formal information from Top Rank about a defense against Yarde. Still, Ramsay, a veteran trainer in Montreal's boxing scene, noted that he has done plenty of research on the British contender.
“I know Yarde very well,” Ramsay said. “I follow everybody in the light heavyweight division.”