Avila Perspective, Chap. 269: Beterbiev-Smith, Golden Boy and More


By David A. Avila

Lumberjacks abound in Canada.

A lot of chopping down is about to happen on Saturday with two world title bouts leading the way. Give me the axe.

Russia’s Artur Beterbiev (19-0, 19 KOs) and England’s Callum Smith (29-1, 21 KOs) will be chopping away at each other on Saturday, Jan. 13, at the Centre Videotron in Quebec City. ESPN will show the light heavyweight battle for the IBF, WBC, and WBO world titles.

The Top Rank and Eye of the Tiger Management fight card also features a bantamweight world title clash.

But first the light heavies.

On one side you have Beterbiev, the monster who dwells in the 175-pound division that probably scares babies when he passes. No one he has faced has remained conscious after fighting him in the boxing ring.

Yes, he is 38 years old but somehow it hasn’t mattered. Young or old have been vanquished by the hammer-fisted guy who now lives and trains in Canada.

“I’m focused on this fight. I’m happy that my supporters are coming to watch us. But I have things to do,” said Beterbiev at the press conference.

Then you have Smith, one of the fighting brothers from Liverpool. One thing that family possesses are great chins. No one including Saul “Canelo” Alvarez can claim they knocked out or retired Callum. The tall light heavyweight has never been stopped.

“This will be exciting. He’s a very good fighter. He’s a three-belt champion,” said Smith whose only loss took place three years ago against Canelo. “I’ve improved a lot over the last couple of years with {my trainer} Buddy McGirt.”

You can bet both will be chopping away at each other like maniacal lumberjacks.

Banging Bantamweights

Not to be outdone, Australia’s Jason Moloney and America’s Saul Sanchez will be belting each other for the WBO bantamweight world title in Quebec too. These two are like blood-craved fighting roosters.

“Mayhem” Moloney (26-2, 19 KOs) has fought the best and never dodged anyone. When you come from Australia you need to fight everyone that comes your way including Japan’s great Naoya Inoue. Sure, he lost, but so has everyone else that crossed paths with the Monster who is now a super bantamweight champion.

Moloney is a scrapper and he faces a mirror image in Sanchez.

I’ve followed Sanchez since his pro beginning and over the years I nicknamed him “Give it all Saul.” Now 26 years old, the Pacoima, California fighter has honed his style to adapt toward boxers. In the past it was guys who moved that gave him problems.

Will Moloney look to scrap or box and move?

Aussies versus Mexicans or Mexican-Americans always blended like gasoline to fire. It’s going to be worth watching.

Golden Boy In Las Vegas

Oscar De La Hoya invited about a dozen reporters to his new home in Las Vegas and announced plans to move the Golden Boy Promotions operations to the casino city.

“We’re looking to bring back boxing to Las Vegas,” said De La Hoya. “Make it the Mecca of boxing again.”

De La Hoya and partner Bernard Hopkins explained their company’s intentions to stage most of their future cards in Las Vegas. They also added that Southern California will still be home to some of their boxing cards.

The Golden Boy company is also looking to build an arena in Las Vegas for mid-size events. But it remains in preliminary discussions. The promotion company maintains they are adamant about building stronger relations with other promotion companies.

Another tidbit was about bringing back a boxing reality series like “the Contender.”

Hopkins said he will remain in the East Coast searching for talent and looking to stage Golden Boy cards in places like Atlantic City or Philadelphia.

De La Hoya said the key is working with other promoters such as Eddie Hearn and Matchroom Boxing or Top Rank. Both companies have already worked with Golden Boy in presenting crowd-pleasing events. All other promotion companies are welcome, he added.

“Don King used to do it,” said De La Hoya about working with other promoters.

The former six-division world champion and Boxing Hall of Fame inductee also gave a short tour of his brand-new home in Henderson, Nevada overlooking the Las Vegas landscape.


It was 31 years ago I first met De La Hoya. Back then he lived in the same East Los Angeles neighborhood as mine. I once ran into his father at a utility company where people were lined up to pay their bill on Goodrich Avenue and Whittier Boulevard.

Soon De La Hoya began collecting world titles like people collect shoes. Within two years he captured his first world title as a super featherweight. Two fights later he grabbed the lightweight world title by knockout over Jorge “Maromero” Paez. The first big showdown he faced was a unification match with Rafael Ruelas at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. The outdoor arena was packed on Cinco de Mayo weekend in 1995. I was there as a reporter for the LA Times. Alan Malamud was writing deadline.

That was the fight that truly launched De La Hoya into super stardom. He won by knockout.

From that win onward the East L.A. fighter took on challenges against the best in three weight classes such as Genaro “Chicanito” Hernandez, Miguel Angel Gonzalez, Julio Cesar Chavez, Pernell Whitaker, Hector Camacho and so on by age 24. All champions.

Who does that now?

Fights to Watch Pacific Coast Time)

Sat., ESPN, 7 pm: Artur Beterbiev (19-0) vs, Callum Smith (29-1); Christian Mbilli (25-0) vs. Rohan Murdock (27-2).

Sat; ESPN+ 2:30 pm: undercard action concluding with Jason Moloney (26-2) vs. Saul Sanchez (20-2).
i am up for these fights have been for a few weeks now............what else can be said about these bouts other then may they last longer then a few rounds may there be blood and controversy and knock downs and knock outs just not too early is all. At least we got some fights on Saterday Night for a change and we dont have to deal with Eddie and his cheapo clown show....... Oscar who cares man that guy is lost and so full of himself he is not even saying anything positive about boxing just about how he plans to make more money ...........who cares.