Artur Beterbiev may be an elite prizefighter, but don't ever mistake him for being a hardcore fan of the sport.

The WBO, WBC, and IBF 175-pound champion from Russia was recently asked if he had an opinion about his countryman, the WBA titlist Dmitry Bivol, and the undisputed 175-pound championship that could be in the works for them at some point in the future, and Beterbiev offered a somewhat surprising answer: apparently he has never really watched Bivol fight before and, what’s more, he has no plan to, at least until they have signed and swapped contracts to face each other.

In addition, Beterbiev, who lives and trains in Montreal, says he is simply not a fan of watching boxing, at least as it pertains to the contemporary scene.

“Yeah, if we sign contract, I will start to learn him you know,” Beterbiev said of Bivol in an interview with iFL TV during a press conference in London to announced his Jan. 28 title defense against Anthony Yarde. “But before [an official announcement for Bivol fight], I don’t [want to watch Bivol]. I’m not really fan of boxing. I don’t want to watch him.

"It’s my work, you know? You fan of your work?”

The 37-year-old Beterbiev (18-0, 18 KOs) unified three 175-pound belts earlier this year, with a destructive second round stoppage of Joe Smith Jr. at the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York City. His title defense with London’s Yarde was tentatively scheduled for December, but a past injury had pushed that back to next year.

Bivol, 31, is coming off a stellar 2022, in which he scored victories over Canelo Alvarez and Gilberto Ramirez.

A Beterbiev-Bivol fight is regarded as one of the top matchups in the sport, but making it is no sure thing, because the fighters are aligned with competing promotional and network alliances. Beterbiev is promoted by Top Rank, which has an exclusive deal to showcase its fighters on ESPN, while Bivol (21-0, 11 KOs) is promoted by Matchroom, which showcases all of its fighters on DAZN. Earlier this year, Top Rank head Bob Arum adamantly insisted that he would not allow Beterbiev to fight on a DAZN-streamed card. Bivol, who has indicated his top preference is to face Beterbiev, may end up accepting a rematch to face Alvarez for fall 2023, meaning a Beterbiev fight, if it ever happens, may not be on the table until 2024.