John Scully tells Artur Beterbiev to be careful ahead of contest with ‘sneaky’ Callum Smith

‘Iceman’ John Scully has guided the likes of Jose Antonio Rivera and Chad Dawson to world title success. He now plays a hand in Artur Beterbiev’s impeccable career, with the light-heavyweight champion’s record standing at 19-0 (19 KOs). 

The Russian wrecking machine defends his IBF, WBC and WBO titles against England’s Callum Smith tonight in Quebec City.

“He’s a special guy,” Scully said of Beterbiev, in an exclusive interview for ProBox TV. “He has the mentality of the guys you picture in the 1930s and 1940s, and you try to think what they would have thought like, that is him now. He thinks very very old school, it puts him on a different level. I’ve been around hundreds of fighters and some of them train real hard, but he does things extra that I don’t see anybody doing.”

Beterbiev comes up against former super-middleweight champion Smith, who has been even more inactive in comparison. The Englishman was last in action against the little-known Mathieu Bauderlique in August, 2022. 

“You know, he is very solid and very tricky with the hook,” Scully explained. “He’s got good experience. I think it is a good fight but I think eventually, we are going to over power him. I feel that largely due to his mentality. One thing I do is that I listen to fighters, I watch them, I pay attention to them. 

“I think he [Smith] has a lot on his mind. I think he is trying to act like he doesn’t, but I think he has a lot on his mind. I think he is very tied up mentally. Everybody right, you go to a press conference and you ask the guys, ‘how do you feel?’ They will say ‘I feel great’ and all the usual stuff, ‘what are you going to do if he is aggressive? Well, I’m going to stand my ground.’ Everybody says what they are supposed to say, but actually doing it is a whole different thing. So I don’t really care what people say they are going to do, because more often than not, they don’t. You still have to deal with that pressure and power, and the physiological aspect of it all, which Artur has proven time and time again that he has the mentally and he is super super strong. I do think Callum is tricky with the shots, he will just let them go out of nowhere. You can usually anticipate when a guy is throwing punches, but he will just throw them out of nowhere. You have to keep your hands up against him because he does try to be sneaky. My gut feeling watching him is that not all of a sudden he is going to be Mr Urgh. You know what I mean? All of a sudden he is going to start being that guy. But he is tall and he is good, and he has nothing to lose. We have to be on our game.”

Tonight’s 175-pound world title fight was rescheduled from August due to Beterbiev sustaining a tooth infection. 

“It’s all over with,” Scully added. “The last camp when the fight got canceled, I didn’t know he had a tooth injury, but I could tell something was wrong. This camp he is back to normal. I’m a fighter, I spend a lot of my time with fighters and sparring partners and hangout with them, I can tell these things.”