Less than 10 fights into his pro career, Artur Beterbiev has made a strong statement in the light-heavyweight division by decimating former titlist Tavoris Cloud in two rounds Saturday night at the Bell Centre.
Cloud had not been seen since a September 2013, seven-round drubbing at the hands of Adonis Stevenson. He looked no better tonight, sporting a visibly wider mid-section but reduced capacity for taking punches. Beterbiev took charge from the opening bell and put Cloud in retreat with powerful right hook counters.
Cloud’s downfall escalated during the inside exchanges, were Beterbiev battered him with right and left hooks to the tune of three knockdowns in the first round.
Beterbiev wrapped up the second round but cornering Cloud and putting him face-first on the mat with a left hook counter shot.
Beterbiev is now 6-0 (6 KOs). Cloud has lost three consecutive fights with the last two coming by knockout.[youtube http://youtu.be/kySTo0FcUik]
My God, this was ugly. This fight is probably the final nail in Cloud’s coffin as a contender. You can make the valid argument that he hasn’t won a fight since his June 2011 KO over Yusef Mack. Since then he’s received a robbery gift over Gabriel Campillo, given a boxing lesson from Bernard Hopkins, battered by Stevenson and now destroyed by Beterbiev. From the way Cloud was reacting to the punches, it was clear those difficult moments were taking him back to the Stevenson beating (and he wanted no parts of that type of fight).
A good team protects their fighter coming off a bad loss. The last thing you do is put him in with another puncher after a year out the ring. That tells me the team that helped guide Cloud to premium HBO dates has jumped ship, or is cashing him out as a gatekeeper.
As for Beterbiev, it looks like we might have another scary Eastern European bruiser in the division to join Kovalev.