After a long wait, WBC and IBF light heavyweight titleholder Artur Beterbiev (15-0, 15 KO) finally returns to action to face Adam Deines (19-1-1, 10 KO) Saturday in Moscow, with the fights airing on ESPN and also streaming on ESPN+.
Will Beterbiev pick up where he left off against Oleksandr Gvozdyk in 2019, or can Germany’s Deines pull a shocker in Russia?
Scott Christ (12-5-1)
First of all I just want to take this moment to say that myself, Patrick, and Lewis were all SCREWED by the JUDGES last week in TEXAS when they gave Juan Francisco Estrada the decision over Chocolatito Gonzalez.
Beterbiev is 36 years old, has had various injury issues over the years as well as promotional problems that led to delays, which is why he’s had just 15 fights since turning pro in 2013. So I suppose it’s possible that he might have some issues here that come from his own unavoidable decline. Probably not, though. And frankly I think it would take an actual in-fight injury to Beterbiev for Deines to actually win. Beterbiev might well show a bit of rust, but even if he does I don’t think Deines gets past the middle rounds. Beterbiev TKO-8
Wil Esco (12-5-1)
Artur Beterbiev is a bad, bad man. I picked against him once and instantly regretted it, but I won’t be making that mistake again any time soon. In my mind Beterbiev is clearly the best light heavyweight in the world at this moment, and until he faces a Dmitry Bivol, I’m completely comfortable with saying that. I really don’t know how much resistance Adam Deines is going to offer here, but I’m fairly confident that it won’t be enough for him to make it to the final bell. I’ll take Beterbiev on a short night’s work. Beterbiev TKO-5
How to Watch Beterbiev vs Deines
Patrick L. Stumberg (11-6-1)
Part of what makes Beterbiev so entertaining is that despite his otherworldly power, he’s far from invincible; his defense is fairly porous and the Callum Johnson fight showed that sufficient firepower can at least slightly bust that beard. There’s always a delightful bit of danger in a Beterbiev fight that keeps things interesting even when the Dagestani clearly stands atop the division.
Not even that can save this matchup, though. Deines is an okay southpaw with a decent jab and a bit of hand speed, but nothing I’ve seen out of him suggests that he can either halt or sidestep Beterbiev’s merciless advance. I’ll be genuinely stunned if Beterbiev doesn’t march right through Deines’ offense and brutalize him in the pocket. Beterbiev’s injuries and rust may buy Denies a few extra rounds of life, but it won’t take long forthe scariest light heavyweight alive to claim another scalp. Beterbiev TKO-5
Lewis Watson (12-5-1)
Beterbiev is still one of the most impressive fighters in the sport. He hasn’t exactly had to prove himself much as a boxer throughout his career, with his terrifying fists of pure granite ending the conversations before the final bell. Sure, he’s edging into “is Father Time creeping up on him?” territory, but even at 36 and 18 months out of the ring I can’t see Adam Deines causing any real issues here. The challenger looked pretty average in his only career loss to Meng Fanlong in 2019 and can see him getting overwhelmed early. Beterbiev KO-5