Chris Algieri believes that IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua has got a tough fight on his hands against Oleksandr Usyk next Saturday night.
The former light welterweight champion Algieri labels Joshua (24-1, 22 KOs) as an athletic “super heavyweight” and much different type of fighter the smaller heavyweights like Muhammad Ali that dominated in the 60s and 70s.
If Usyk were fighting during Ali’s era in the 1970s, he would have been right at home against the smaller heavyweights, and he likely would have found a spot among them.
Now in this era, the 6’3″, 215-lb Usyk is grossly undersized against behemoths like Joshua and Tyson Fury, and he could be too small to compete. That’s what Algieri is assuming will be the case on September 25th.
We don’t know if Joshua’s stamina will fail him against Usyk in the later rounds. If that happens, Joshua could be a sitting duck just like fellow Brit Tony Bellew was when he fought Usyk and was knocked out.
Joshua’s size will be an issue
“If I was going to create a heavyweight champion of the world on a video game, it would be Anthony Joshua,” said Chris Algieri to Pro Boxing Fans.
“From his athletism, his size, his speed, his punching power. He’s shown durability and heart in the past, and he’s got dog in him.
“But he’s got that blemish against Andy [Ruiz Jr.], and he got knocked out. Usyk is still undefeated, and he’s got that awkward style.
“I think the size is going to be a big issue. I read somewhere someone says, ‘Oh, Usyk is the same size as Muhammad Ali.’ Okay, Anthony Joshua is bigger and more athletic than anyone Muhammad Ali ever fought.
“Heavyweights are different now. Anthony Joshua is a super heavyweight, and that’s the new generation of heavyweight. The 250-lb, 6’6+, 6’5+, athletic heavyweight with power.
“A totally different thing from the guys from the 70s or the giant Primo Carnera back in the day.
“Those guys weren’t athletic. This guy [Joshua] is different. So trying to make that comparison, I don’t think it holds any water. So for me, I think it’s a difficult fight for either fighter, but I go with Anthony Joshua,” said Algieri.
The safe pick is to go with Joshua just based on his superior size and power over Usyk, but it’s hard to forget the image of AJ being knocked out by tubby Andy Ruiz Jr. in 2019.
It’s hard to forget how Joshua fell apart against a colossal underdog fighter in that fight. Joshua played it safe in the rematch, staying on the outside, jabbing, and holding the out-of-shape 283-lb Ruiz.
We don’t know if Joshua’s chin improved. After all, he didn’t get hit because he was fighting so defensively from start to finish. In Joshua’s last fight, he defeated 40-year-old Kubrat Pulev.
You can’t glean anything from that contest to tell whether Joshua has improved because his opponent was so old and past it, and Pulev was a poor example of a mandatory challenger.
Undercard fights for Joshua vs. Usyk:
- Lawrence Okolie vs. Dilan Prasovic
- Callum Smith vs. Lenin Castillo
- Maxim Prodan vs. Florian Marku
As you can see here, the undercard is a mixed bag for the Joshua vs. Usyk card. While there are a couple of talented fighters on the undercard in Callum Smith and Lawrence Okolie, they’re not matched against quality opposition, and I’m not too fond of either of those fights.
As for Prodan vs. Marku, that’s more of a throwaway scrap and not something that has any meaning because neither of those guys is destined to win world titles.
Algieri talks Tyson Fury vs. Deontay Wilder
“It’s going to come down to psychology, it’s going to come down to mindset,” said Algieri on who wins the trilogy match between Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury on October 9th.
“Both of these guys have the skillset to beat each other. We’ve seen that, even though the first one was a draw. Wilder has the power. Wilder’s power can knock out anybody in the world.
“He just has to land that shot, and we saw in the rematch, Tyson beat him pillar to post. He had his number through and through.
“So where are we looking at this fight in terms of a psychological standpoint? Who is going to have that edge going in here? It seems like it’s going to be Tyson Fury.
“He’s brimming with confidence, he’s coming off of the win, but then I heard some stuff about him in his last camp. So there are some questions there as well.
“In terms of technical superiority, that’s really hard to deal with when you’re talking about a guy like Tyson Fury. He’s so awkward in terms of head movement, and he’s erratic.
“It’s not just him being erratic physically; he’s erratic up here [brain] too. You don’t know what’s going to show up. It’s tough to say, ‘Jab the body, that’s going to be the move.’ It could be.
“Wilder is dangerous for every second of every round. I don’t like this fight for Tyson Fury because I really want the Anthony Joshua – Tyson Fury fight. I don’t like the fact that they’re [Wilder and Fury] fighting again.
“I didn’t think it was exactly necessary after the last one, but Wilder is dangerous. He can literally knock out anybody with one punch at any time, Tyson Fury included.
“So, a loss here for Fury, and we don’t see Joshua – Fury, and I want to see that fight. That’s personally what I want,” said Algieri.
What Algieri mentioned about Tyson Fury having problems with sparring partners in his recent training camp could be significant.
Fury getting worked over by his 21-year-old sparring partner Jared Anderson, and Ef Ajagba is a red flag. Whatever Fury did to prepare for his rematch with Wilder in February 2020, he’s not been able to recreate with the same results
Fury looks thinner, weaker, and, more importantly, older than he was when he beat Wilder last year. Where did the muscles go? Having seen a photo of Fury on Saturday, he’s not carrying the bulk that he had last year when he used his 273-lb frame to beat up and rough up Wilder.
With less than a month to go, Fury doesn’t have time to bulk up to the 270s. He will have to take the fight as is, and he appears to be no more than 255 lbs. If Wilder can bounce right hands off Fury’s head with regularity on October 9th, he might not last long.
This time, there won’t be a referee like Jack Reiss that will give Fury a count while he’s knocked cold. There aren’t too many referees that provide counts when fighters are out cold, as Fury was in their first fight in 2018.