As June rolls on, fans are stoked to see two lightweights duke it out. In this article, we have our Light Heavyweight Boxing Picks for June 18th’s Unification Title Fight between Artur Beterbiev and Joe Smith Jr. This will be televised on the ESPN family of networks with ESPN+ airing the undercard) at 11:00 pm ET (approximately) from New York City (Madison Square Garden’s Hulu Theatre). Who will win this titillating fight?
The betting table presented below is from some top online Vegas boxing betting sites.
The first question boxing fans ask is just what is going on with the Light Heavyweight Division? It is a division set for fighters between the weights of 168 and 175 pounds. The Light-Heavyweight limit is sometimes challenging when it comes to making weight. Usually, most fighters move up ultimately to the cruiserweight or heavyweight division as they have a tougher time staying around the light heavyweight limit.
The key word is going here. Now, the dilemma for Joe Smith Jr. is that most do not respect him as a belt holder. So, the mere fact that Smith Jr. won a title then held it on a suspicious “split-decision” result has many worried about the competitiveness of his upcoming fight with Beterbiev. That allowed Smith Jr. to keep the WBO light heavyweight belt.
Besides those belts, This is a division that includes Canelo Alvarez and Dmitry Bivol (who just defeated Alvarez). Bivol holds the WBA Light Heavyweight championship. Some believe a Bivol rematch with Canelo is happening before anything else. However, that debate may be for another time. This could depend on how Beterbiev fares on Saturday.
The light heavyweight division is still a division that features some craziness and quite a few belts. While no one truly knows what may happen next, the winner of this Artur Beterbiev-Joe Smith Jr. fight elevates themselves in the division. Basically, this fight should get us closer to an undisputed title bout. Beterbiev sees his numbers again shortening as the light heavyweight boxing favorite.
Now, the emphasis is, that this light heavyweight fight is just the beginning. The problem is if Alvarez winds up fighting Bivol first before “GGG”. If that happens, we may not see further unification until 2023 at the latest. How patient will a boxer like Beterbiev be and who will he be able to fight until then? First things first is that WBC/IBF champion must take care of business on June 18th.
Artur Beterbiev’s biggest issue may be that wait only. Does he get caught looking past Smith Jr.? That answer remains no based on his focus. He has an undefeated record for a reason. Beterbiev got into the boxing game late in his career and “Father Time” is not on his side. Consider that the Russian is 37 years old for a second.
This is where the Boxing Odds arguments begin. Naturally, no one quite knows what will happen next. The hint that even a fighter like Smith Jr. could pull off an upset would be a monumental shocker.
It is easy to see why Daniel Dubois remains a big favorite. Bettors do not seem to be looking at Smith Jr. as a value pick much, to be honest. Is Beterbiev ready to throw down here? That is a rhetorical question. Simply, the Russian boxer knows little fear. In his nine years, the Russian has dabbled in other fighting disciplines in between fights. That has only made him tougher.
Therefore, Beterbiev has not been that quiet about his training as that is just how the champion is. The expectation is to see a composed fighter that can land power shots at will. Then, the boxer should be able to unleash his thunderous combinations on Smith Jr. Beterbiev is 17-0 with 17 knockouts for a reason. He did decimate a very game Marcus Browne and knocked him out during the ninth round.
The fighter remains laser-focused to get this bout going already. Beterbiev’s best defense is his offense. This is why he is our light heavyweight boxing picks choice for this fight.
With the fight coming up Saturday, the light heavyweight top Vegas boxing odds are out and they don’t favor Smith Jr. all that much. Joe Smith Jr. comes in around +425 to +525 currently, while Beterbiev’s number could shorten more between now and fight night. This fight is ready to go on June 18th as scheduled.
Unfortunately, zero histories exist between these two fighters. Part of that is probably due to their career paths. Beterbiev is 37 while Smith Jr. is 32. It seems hard to believe but that is true. Smith Jr. comes in with a record of 28-3 with 22 knockouts. He won his title by a majority decision. Then Smith Jr. defeated a late replacement and won in the ninth round by TKO. The fighter looked lacklustre at times against Steve Geffard.
The dilemma for Bryan may be an asset too. As this light heavyweight fight approaches, all the talk and the bravado go away the instant the power shots start connecting. Smith Jr. stopped Bernard Hopkins once upon a time. Can he channel that type of performance once more? That was then. This is now.
For light heavyweight boxing picks, our prime bet is choosing Artur Beterbiev for his power.
The light heavyweight boxing odds say take Beterbiev to win the bout on June 18th and a KO in eight rounds or less.
See below the best online betting sites, like Bovada, where you can wager on the best option(s) for you:
Chris Wassel is a skilled scribe who possesses a fervor for both sports and entertainment. Boasting a journalism background and over two decades of experience, he has crafted pieces that encompass a diverse array of sports including hockey, basketball, football, and others. His writing is characterized by its lucidity and sharpness, and provides a unique viewpoint on entertainment and political matters. While Chris primarily focuses on sports writing, he also writes about a wide range of subjects.