(Montreal) Artur Beterbiev belongs to the crème de la crème of boxing. Not only in Quebec, but also in the world. And on December 17, it could well be the last opportunity to see him fight in Quebec.
It will be more than five years since Beterbiev (16-0, 16 K. -O.) will not have fought in the Belle Province when he will put his titles of the International Boxing Federation (IBF) and the World Boxing Council (WBC). ) light heavyweight against Marcus Browne (24-1, 16 KOs). The one whose career is managed by Top Rank fought in Moscow in his last fight, thus realizing a dream of boxing in front of his own. This time he is happy to do it in Montreal.
“I want to have a good fight in Montreal because I’ve been living here for nine years now,” said Beterbiev, whose English has improved a lot. This is my home, my family is here, my mother, who is learning French, is here. I’m a little feverish, even. ”
“A nervousness necessary to keep an athlete on tiptoe,” added Marc Ramsay, his trainer, later.
In a good mood, the 36-year-old boxer exchanged jokes with the many reporters who came to Ramsay’s gym for public training on Wednesday. According to the co-promoter of the December 17 gala, Yvon Michel, the tickets are selling well and he expects good earnings on pay-per-view.
But although he is at home and one of the best on the planet, it is a reduced configuration of the Bell Center that Groupe Yvon Michel and Top Rank have reserved. Michel hopes to sell 5,000 to 7,000 tickets for the event.
How to explain that a double world champion does not attract more?
“There are a lot of factors, including language,” Ramsay said. It is not someone who is from here either: I think that naturally, people are more inclined to encourage a Bouchard, a Caron or a Durand. It’s normal: I think it’s like that all over the world. What we went looking for were boxing fans. But there is no doubt that Beterbiev is the best boxer to have distinguished himself in Canada. ”
People who are boxing fans know who Artur Beterbiev is. I don’t know if we’ll be able to get Artur back here in the future. We are privileged, it is a unique opportunity. He is a boxer unlike any other in boxing history here. He trains with us, his family lives here, his children were born in Quebec and this may be our last chance to see him in person.
The late boxing columnist Guy Émond might not agree with Michel and Ramsay’s assessment of Beterbiev. But we cannot take away from him that he is the first reigning double champion of Quebec.
“I don’t think I’m the best boxer in Quebec,” said Beterbiev. There have been several good boxers from Quebec and there will be some in the future as well. If anyone thinks I’m a good boxer, that makes me happy. But I don’t think I’m a good boxer. I aspire to it on the other hand. ”
That does not prevent him from having great ambitions, such as aiming for the four belts of the division.
“But don’t tell anyone,” he chuckled.
Besides, Top Rank’s plans are clear.
“Joe Smith Jr. (World Boxing Organization champion) is fighting in New York in January (against Callum Johnson, a former opponent of Beterbiev). The goal is to bring Beterbiev against Smith in New York in the spring. After that, what Top Rank believes is that it would be a good time to fight Canelo Alvarez, ”explained Michel.
Alvarez himself mentioned Beterbiev’s name after his latest victories. There is no longer any challenge for him at 168 pounds. But instead of upgrading to 175 pounds and challenging the two-time champion, Alvarez has instead chosen a second-rate light-heavyweight opponent – Ilunga Makabu – for his next fight, which has yet to be confirmed, however.
“He has his reasons: he is the one who” calls his shots “. If he had really wanted to face Artur, it would already have been done, ”summed up Ramsay.
Besides, the Beterbiev clan has only Browne in mind. Ramsay’s faith, the American presents enough challenges for him to focus only on this clash.
“He’s certainly one of the good boxers that Artur faced,” Ramsay said. Not very far behind (Oleksandr) Gvozdyk. He’s a guy with really fast hands, probably the fastest in the division. It’s a challenge that is very interesting for us.
“Browne represents several problems. He’s one of the fastest, we’re going to have to run after him in the ring. The fact that he is left-handed, that he has a long reach: that makes several problems to neutralize. […] You have to be ready for anything: if I go there with a plan A and that doesn’t work, you have to have a plan B. If I have no speed, no technique, and the power does not work … C t is important to have a boxer who is able to touch everything. ”
“You cannot know what they will offer you in the ring,” added Beterbiev. So you have to train for different situations. That’s what we’ve been doing over the past eight weeks: preparing for different scenarios. ”
Just before Beterbiev and Browne disagree, Marie-Ève Dicaire (17-1) will try to regain her super-mid-middleweight belt from the IBF, now vacant since Claressa Shields changed division, against Cynthia Lozano (9-0, 7 K. -O.). In all, eight fights will be presented.