Artur Beterbiev was set for action last week on the Guerrero-Martinez undercard at the StubHub Center before his opponent pulled out due to injury. That is why Beterbiev was the televised opener for tonight’s “PBC” on Spike as he faced off against late replacement Alexander Johnson.
Beterbiev came out as aggressive as we’ve ever seen him, although it led to some sloppy moments early in the 1st. Johnson did his best to make his presence felt and even managed to land a few decent shots in the opening round. However, Beterbiev was more aggressive and his power seem to have more impact, although neither fighter had landed anything too meaningful at such an early stage.
The second round was much better for Beterbiev as he displayed patience and was more selective. Johnson landed a huge lead right hand that landed pretty flush if not a bit high on Beterbiev’s face. It was proof that Johnson could land something, but it was also evident that his power meant very little because Beterbiev pretty much walked through it.
Beterbiev seemed to finally display enough power in the 3rd to get the attention of his opponent. The Russian-born fighter with an adopted Canadian backing was getting a tough showing from Johnson and he wasn’t giving any free looks.
Beterbiev really displayed a mature sense of awareness in a fight. Some might argue that he wasn’t as sharp or relentless as he was against Tavoris Cloud and Gabriel Campillo, evident by the fact that Johnson took Beterbiev deeper than any of the aforementioned fighters. I would argue that he wasn’t taking his opponent lightly, especially after displaying some sharp offense.
Beterbiev was winning rounds and he was dictating both the pace and ring generalship, but he really started opening up the offense in the middle rounds. Just as Beterbiev started coming on, he landed a strong jab over Johnson’s own jab that sent him to the canvas in the 5th.
Beterbiev smelt blood and he could tell Johnson was hurt, even though he made it up off the canvas quickly. Beterbiev scored yet another knockdown with Johnson’s back to the ropes. Johnson got up once again and survived the round, even though he took a lot of punishment at the end of the round.
A quick left sent Johnson to the canvas again in the 7th, although he seemed more deflated than hurt. He made it to his feet only to have the fight stopped a few moments later, and after Beterbiev landed a left hook and then a hard right.
Beterbiev is now 9-0 with all of his wins coming by stoppage.