As there isn’t a lot of boxing taking place in the next few weeks its given me the opportunity to go back and watch fights that I missed when they first took place. One of these fights is Besputin vs Butaev for the vacant WBA Welterweight championship of the world. This was a very even fight on paper and one I was looking forward too however on the day I decided to watch the Tete vs Casimero card instead. Before the fight I leaned slightly towards Besputin because he had been facing the slightly better competition between the two of them and I thought this would help him grind out a close decision.
Lots of fights that look excellent on paper end up being not all that great in the ring but this fight lived up to expectations. It had a great narrative of the Bear and the Hyena as their different styles matched up for a fight that swung one way and then the other. Besputin took on the role of the Hyena staying on the outside using quick raiding attacks before darting out of range knowing that he couldn’t stand and trade. Butaev never stopped walking forward knowing he was the stronger , harder hitting man of the two and like a bear with a hyena he knew that Besputin couldn’t hurt him while if he caught Besputin cleanly then it would be all over.
In the first few rounds Besputin used his superior footwork and angles to outwork and outscore Butaev who had noticeably slower feet and little head movement. As it looked like this pattern would continue Butaev upped the pressure not allowing Besputin a moment to breath as he took the next few rounds using his brute strength combined with letting his hands go more. He even hurt Besputin for 20 seconds but Besputins head movement meant he was able to make it out.
Again when it looked like one fighter was going to start dominating the fight another momentum change occured with Besputin getting back to his boxing picking off the lumbering Butaev after it looked in the previous round that he was going to be ground down and stopped by Butaev’s non stop pressure. This pattern continued for the rest of the fight with Besputin winning rounds due to superior footwork and hand speed and then Butaev coming back to win two rounds due to his determination and strength.
After Besputin won the 11th round I had Butaev needing a stoppage in the 12th to win and by god did he go for it. Butaev must have known he needed it because he went at Besputin for all three minutes of the round while Besputin for the most part looked to try and move around the ring to see out the fight. Butaev in the final minute almost got Besputin down but he managed to get to the final bell and in this case the Hyena out smarted the Bear.
In the end I had the fight 7 rounds to 5 to Besputin which shows how close of a fight it was and I just want to give credit to both men for giving us such an entertaining contest. It had all the things a great fight needs , two evenly matched fighters , A narrative (they had been rivals since the amateurs) and momentum swings in the fight. It really ticked all the boxes and I’d highly recommend you watch it if you haven’t already. All in all it was an excellent fight and I can’t wait to see where each go in their careers , hopefully towards a trilogy if we could be so lucky!