In late 2022, a video clip circulated on social media by Queenberry’s Dev Sanhi showed light heavyweight champions Artur Beterbiev and Anthony Yarde in action with a Carnival punching power machine.
The two pros swung with all their might and rattled the machine, as millions of macho and booze-and-testosterone-intoxicated people at trade fairs around the world had done in the past. Yard’s score was 989, so impressive that I held my arms high in celebration. Beterbiev’s reading of 805 prompted a rare smile from the champion, indicating that the machine should not be taken seriously. (Author’s Note: This became very apparent when I tested the car in Melbourne last year when my scores were within double figures of his Lucas Browne.)
Nonetheless, it was an ironic way to spark excitement for a light heavyweight title match between two fearsome punchers. The machine can simply measure force using an algorithm programmed when it was patented in the US in 1996. The way a knockout is accomplished is much more complicated than simple brute force. in their career. When they step into the ring this weekend in a match televised on ESPN+ in the US and BT Sport in the UK, it will nevertheless be seen as a referendum on who is the bigger puncher. You can surround the battle.
Puncher vs. Puncher matchups have produced some of the most memorable slugfests in boxing history. George Foreman-Ron Lyle, Gerald McClellan-Julian Jackson, Wilfredo Gomez-Carlos Zarate, these fights are in our hearts. After that, they were provocative, short, digestible and violent bouts that I watched over and over again on YouTube and in my tape collections.
Beterbiev, in particular, will be considered one of the deadliest punchers of this generation as his career ends. He is the only current champion to boast his 100% knockout rate, having incapacitated his opponent so much that he finished all 18 of his bouts before the judges made a decision. That said, if we were to lend any credence to the effectiveness of the punching machine, it might make a little sense that Beterbiev scored less than the yards. The 38-year-old is certainly a devastating puncher, but he’s not necessarily the artist he’s a one-shot knockout. For example, he’s not a brawny, snappy, long-range power puncher like the Thomas Hearns model. Many of Beterbiev’s suspensions came as a result of clubbing, beatings and inevitable ambushes. Some of his opponent-overwhelming shots aren’t delivered in textbook form, but a lot of what he’s been up to that point is quietly great.
“The first thing you see is power, but he is much more sophisticated,” Beterbiev’s trainer Mark Ramsey said in 2021. Artur has a little more sophisticated boxing. ”
ESPN commentator Andre Ward summed it up during the broadcast of his recent victory over Joe Smith Jr.: He accepted the fact that he would be knocked out. That is the power that Artur Beterbiev has. ”
If Beterbiev has the power to force his opponents to make bad decisions, Yard has the kind of power that allows him to hide some of his own shortcomings. Knocking out all but a man, his power drove him to race and beat a fighter he estimated to be completely out of depth of his opponent. In August 2019, Yard was one punch away from winning his WBO light heavyweight title from Sergei Kovalev. Not a single punch is missed, in the sense that every boxer has a chance to punch, but Kovalev’s trainer Buddy McGirt threatened to stop the fight in the eighth round or between rounds. Later, in the ninth round, another hard shot could have ended a teetering Kovalev. He received a more serious punishment than that. Yard was a pretty underdog, and there was little on his resume to suggest that he might be up to that sort of challenge, but his ability to crack, even with low punch output was seconds away from glory.
Then, in 2021, after being outboxed by Lyndon Arthur the previous year and written off as a fighter who didn’t develop much in the skills department, he returned to knock out Arthur in the fourth round of a rematch.
Yarde is, in some ways, an experiment in how far a god-given ability can take someone in boxing. An elite under-11 sprinter and shot put football player who trained under Song. He claims to rarely sparr, avoids weight training, uses only bodyweight exercises, and is famous for focusing on explosive movements in the lower body to build strength. During his teenage years, he was involved in skirmishes on the street, often ending the skirmishes abruptly. “It was an older man, not even someone my age. That’s when I got the reputation of having a big punch,” Yard told Boxing News’ Matt Christie in 2017. But the altercation started to get pretty dangerous, as Yarde explains that he pulled a gun on multiple occasions. After listening to her mother say she wasn’t eating, she went to her boss and said she was quitting to continue boxing. She smiled at the look on his face, but Yarde had the drive and the audacity to carry him through without an amateur career.
“In a sense, I hate to use the word, delusions can be good or bad, but when you truly believe in something, if you are striving to progress, you are You will make more progress than someone who thinks they can’t do it,” Jade once said.
A hard hitter must have a certain amount of delusion. It’s a temporary belief that you have to take risks to get your best shot. But you can’t hit as hard as others can. When two people with that mindset step into the ring together, that’s when we have the most delicious brawl. Had it not been for the progress, everyone had a good time.
And if Yard is looking for a good opportunity, Beterbiev appears to be in the same mood.
“If Anthony wants an aggressive match, he can do it,” Beterbiev said in a pre-match interview with IFL TV. “If they want this fight, no problem, we’re going to do it.
Corey Erdman is a boxing writer and commentator based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Follow him on Twitter @corey_erdman.