Now that Artur Beterbiev has handled Adam Deines, Bob Arum is halfway toward making the light heavyweight title unification fight that the promoter can’t wait to put together.

If Joe Smith beats Maxim Vlasov on April 10, Arum’s company can begin working on a deal for Beterbiev and Smith to meet sometime later this year. Arum has told and other outlets that he would like to bring that intriguing 175-pound title fight to Madison Square Garden once COVID-19 protocols will allow a substantial amount of fans to attend.

“That’s the type of fight that a promoter wants to put together,” Arum told “With all-action fighters, nobody knows who’s gonna win. I mean, it could go either way. You can argue either way on the fight. But whoever wins, it’s gonna be entertaining. I wanna do fights like [Oscar] Valdez and [Miguel] Berchelt, a terrific fight. Joe Smith and Beterbiev is the kinda fight we wanna do.”

Russia’s Beterbiev basically beat up Germany’s Deines for nine-plus rounds Saturday night at Megasport Sport Palace in Moscow. Their scheduled 12-rounder was stopped in the 10th round, after Beterbiev’s left hook sent Deines to the canvas for the second time in their fight.

Beterbiev (16-0, 16 KOs) first floored Deines (19-2-1, 10 KOs) with a right hand that grazed the top of Deines’ head late in the first round.

The 36-year-old Beterbiev, who is co-promoted by Arum’s Top Rank Inc., retained his IBF and WBC light heavyweight titles.

The 31-year-old Smith (26-3, 21 KOs), of Mastic, New York, and Vlasov (45-3, 26 KOs), of Samara, Russia, will fight for the vacant WBO belt April 10 at Osage Casino Hotel in Tulsa, Oklahoma (ESPN). They were scheduled to fight February 13 at MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas, but Vlasov tested positive for COVID-19 during fight week and was forced to withdraw February 11.

Arum anticipates another impressive victory from Smith, who knocked out former WBO champ Eleider Alvarez (25-2, 13 KOs) in the ninth round of his last fight, August 22 at MGM Grand Conference Center.

“He has learned how to box, to go with his power,” Arum said. “And therefore, he’s very, very dangerous because you can see he’s setting up his punches better, he’s moving better. He’s becoming a complete fighter. And to have a homegrown, working-class guy competing at this level is something special.”

Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.