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Artur Beterbiev vs Joe Smith Jr targeted for fall at Madison Square Garden

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The fight will unify the WBC, IBF, and WBA titles

Boxing night in Moscow Photo by Sefa Karacan/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

If Bob Arum gets his way, the hotly anticipated light heavyweight unification match between Artur Beterbiev and Joe Smith Jr. could land in one of boxing’s most hallowed arenas. He tells TASS that Beterbiev and Smith are “set” to go at it this coming autumn in a bout “conditionally scheduled to take place at Madison Square Garden Arena.”

Arum says he intends for there to be spectators in attendance, though with the ongoing COVID crisis, that’s obviously very conditional at the moment.

Beyond unifying three of the four major light heavyweight titles, Beterbiev (16-0, 16 KO) vs. Smith (27-3, 21 KO) has all the markings of an absolute classic, at least assuming both men remain conscious long enough. The former was last seen ending an agonizingly long layoff by beating down the incredibly game Adam Deines, while Smith put forth a Herculean effort to eke out a decision over Maxim Vlasov. It’ll either be a memorable slugfest or a memorable knockout, depending on how long they can remain conscious.