The battle to face undisputed champion Jermell Charlo takes place this Saturday night, broadcasting stateside on Showtime. In the main event, Tim Tszyu faces Tony Harrison in what appears to be a very competitive matchup on paper.
This hack-of-a-scribe wants to give credit to both because neither man needed to take on this much risk. Tim could’ve taken a tune-up or just wait for Jermell Charlo’s injury to heal. Tony could’ve stayed in the cut or take the easier path back to a potential trilogy with Charlo.
In his last outing, Tim Tszyu was dropped by a flush right hand from solid contender Terrell Gausha. Terrell basically beat Tim to the punch putting him on his butt in the opening round. Impressively Tim brushed the early adversity off and got right back to the game plan.
Inexperienced at the top levels of junior middleweight, the Australian native went 12 convincing rounds with Takeshi Inoue. He also made easy work of guys like Jeff Horn, Dennis Hogan, and Steve Spark to go along with last year’s win over Gausha at the Armory in Minneapolis.
Most boxing folks had Tony Harrison up on their scorecards going into the 11th round until he was stopped by Jermell Charlo in their second fight. Of course, many also thought Charlo did enough to win in their first meeting. If you’ve been watching the sport long enough, it is what it is.
A long layoff and understandably outside-the-ring distraction saw Tony Harrison put up a subpar performance versus Byrant Perrella. However, Tony looked like his old self by soundly defeating Sergio Garcia.
The X’s and O’s for this fight on Saturday night live from Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney, Australia. Although very intriguing, at the end of the day, it’s fairly basic. Tim will try to attack Harrison’s body with a focus on using his left hook to the body mixing in that hook to the head. Tim will look to use smart pressure and slowly by surely wear down Tony taking him to deep waters. Tszyu’s chopping right hands and accurate uppercuts with good speed on them will be a handful for Tony to deal with for the full 12 rounds.
Tony Harrison has a stiff jab and an ability to counter-punch at range or on the outside. Tony hasn’t necessarily shown the same power in his punches as he did coming up as a prospect turned contender, but he’s got plenty of pop and hand speed.
Clearly, Harrison is the more experienced boxer and can score enough points to win rounds by landing the clean shots for the judges to see. An obvious item going against Harrison is his stamina issues. Some would go as far as chinny having been stopped in all 3 of his losses. Regardless, when a fighter is gassed, it only compounds the issue of a shaky pair of whiskers.
This boxing podcaster would be very surprised if Tony doesn’t take a commanding lead in the first half of the fight. To the tune of, let’s say, 4-2 heading into the second half. In Harrison’s second bout with Charlo, he brought the fight to Charlo at times after early success on the outside. The ref and the crowd will be against Harrison, so Tony must take a few risks in order to sway the powers that be, so to speak. That said, taking too many risks offensively and getting too far out of character could be the start of Harrison’s ending.
There are two main questions that stand out the most. Will Tony Harrison fade and get stopped? Can Tim Tszyu cut the ring off for the majority of the fight in order to chop down Harrison? From a betting angle, the Detroit, Michigan native is sitting around a +196 on FanDuel and above +200 as a live dog. It’s worth throwing something down on that, no doubt. On MyBookie prop bets, Tim Tszyu is a +205 to win by decision and +111 to win by stoppage. Side note, Teddy B. on Twitter posted rounds 7-12 in favor of a stoppage for Tim at +240, which is a great bet. This boxing junkie will be on both sides for the record, but I did grab +225 a while back for Tony Harrison.
My Official Prediction is Tony Harrison by Split-Decision.
Written by Chris Carlson, Host/Producer of The Rope A Dope Radio Podcast Available at www.blogtalkradio.com/ropeadoperadio Follow on Twitter @RopeADopeRadio