Former world title challenger and current trainer, John Scully, has had an up-close look at one of the best light heavyweights in the world, Artur Beterbiev. Earlier this month, Beterbiev returned to the ring against Enrico Koelling and won by a late round stoppage to take the WBA light heavyweight title.
In my interview with John Scully, I discuss Beterbiev’s recent win and talk to him about Beterbiev’s future in the sport. Scully also breaks down and gives his prediction for the upcoming bout between Vasyl Lomachenko and Guillermo Rigondeaux. Additionally, John speaks on Canelo vs. Golovkin and the rematch. Here is what John Scully had to say.
Robert Brown: How would you assess Artur Beterbiev’s recent performance?
John Scully: I thought it was very good. He fought a guy who I think realized very early on that Artur’s power was extremely above average and he was trying to be defensive and trying to pick his shots, but he couldn’t find many of them.
Artur, for a guy who has never gone the distance and never had to go many rounds, he fought accordingly. By the same token, he threw over a thousand punches which is very rare for a light heavyweight. Conditioning wasn’t a problem, nothing was a problem. I think he passed his test with flying colors.
Robert Brown: Were you happy that Artur got through an experience like that so early in his career?
John Scully: Yeah, he went the rounds and that could never be a bad thing. If anything, going into the last round, I was actually fantasizing in my head about him winning by knockout in the last round. I was saying to myself, “Wow, wouldn’t it be great if he got a knockout,” and he did. A lot of guys may not go all out just trying to get through it, being happy that they’re going to win, but for him to put the pedal to the metal and press on the gas that late in the fight and to have the conditioning to do so was very impressive. I think Artur made a statement, and I think all the other light heavyweights in the world are on notice now.
Robert Brown: What are your thoughts on the upcoming fight between Guillermo Rigondeaux and Vasyl Lomachenko?
John Scully: I think everyone is excited about it, and they should be excited about it. I think it’s probably the best fight that can be made in terms of that level. It kind of reminds me of an Andre Ward vs. Sergey Kovalev level fight, that’s how high caliber they are.
One thing I’m wondering though, in terms of actual action, I think both guys may be so unique with their style and their speed and mobility that they may actually offset each other where we may see both guys miss more than they have ever missed and maybe it won’t be such an exciting fight.
It could be a fight where boxing people who really know the game will be very interested to watch it, but in terms of back and forth action, I don’t know that it’s going to be the most exciting fights because both guys are so innately good defensively. Both guys are going to have to adjust more than they ever have in order to win. Both guys are going to be presented with issues that they have never had to deal with as professionals so far.
Robert Brown: Are you prepared to offer a tip on that fight?
John Scully: I think Lomchenko has been a little bit more active and his motivation and momentum are a little bit stronger right now. I think with his size advantage he’s going to win the fight.
Robert Brown: There’s talk of a rematch between Saul Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin. Does your opinion of that fight vary on whether it happens in early 2018 or late 2018 because of Golovkin’s age?
John Scully: Golovkin is older but he’s still a young man in boxing terms, he still looks fresh and strong. I think in this era guys are lasting longer, thirty-five used to be like fifty, but now thirty-five is a young age. We are seeing champions much later in their years than any time in history. I don’t think that’s going to be a factor like it would have been twenty years ago.
Robert Brown: Who would you be backing in the second fight? Who did you think won the first fight?
John Scully: For me, the first fight I was looking at a draw. I kind of saw it as a draw. I think that would have been the most fair decision. The one thing I noticed was that Canelo seemed much more comfortable than I thought he would have been. Under those circumstances, Canelo was able to do that and now in a rematch I think he will be more so.
Canelo’s defense was probably the best I’ve ever seen it, so I think that’s a huge plus for him going into the rematch. I think he may be able to adjust a little bit more than Golovkin. As great as Golovkin is, I think the way he fought last time is probably the best way that he can win, where Canelo can be even a little more elusive. As much as I love ‘GGG’ I think Canelo would probably be feeling good about his chances going into the rematch.