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Did Scully Spot A Fatal Error By Joe Smith Jr?


By Scoop Malinowski

Artur Beterbiev assistant trainer John Scully was an interested observer of the ESPN Blood, Sweat and Tears promotional documentary which was broadcast this week to hype this weekend’s Beterbiev vs Joe Smith Jr. Light Heavyweight Unification fight in New York City. A possible sign of weakness from Smith Jr. caught the keen eye of Scully of which he feels could be a factor in determining the outcome of the clash of 175 pound champions at Madison Square Garden on June 18th.

The revelation Scully recognized was Smith candidly talking about his vacant world title fight in 2021 with Maxim Vlasov. Perhaps Smith Jr. was a bit too candid…

“He (Smith Jr.) stressed all the mental difficulty he had with dealing with the pressure of his opponent (Vlasov) in that fight,” Scully shared. “It was like he wanted to quit in the corner and his trainers had to talk him back into it. That would NEVER NEVER happen with Artur!”




Scully, a successful trainer, TV analyst and boxing magazine columnist, also fought twice for the Light Heavyweight title (vs. Drake Thadzi in 1998 and Henry Maske in 1996). The Connecticut native who compiled a pro record of  38-11 and has shared the boxing ring with such all time titans as Roy Jones Jr., James Toney and Michael Nunn, emphasized the importance of his observation of Smith Jr. on ESPN: “(What Smith Jr. said) would never happen with Artur. There is zero chance of that happening. Joe showed a huge mental weakness there and that’s a big plus for us. Huge.”

But Smith Jr. has a history of being underestimated by boxing elites. Bernard Hopkins handpicked Smith Jr. as his opponent in 2016 and arrogantly mocked Smith as a mere “common” boxer at the final press conference, while boasting of his own extraordinary “special” qualities.  The “insult”, according to Smith’s promoter Joe DeGuardia,  ended up motivating and inspiring Smith to score the devastating, upset knockout victory which ended the illustrious career of Hopkins.

The stakes will be high on Saturday night as the IBF, WBO and WBC world titles and much bigger paydays will be on the line  for Beterbiev and Smith Jr.


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