By Dean Toth – This fight excites me, on paper, it is one of “those” fights. One when you look upon it, you flip-flop on just exactly what you think will happen. One where your heart and head pull in opposite directions. Below I’ll be discussing what, as it stands, I see as each fighters strength and weakness, their previous fight and ultimately my outcome… Who wins and how they win. It’s times like this I wish I’d joined topclassboxing.co.uk at a different time, with an easier fight… The last time the heart battled the head this strong Shakespeare titled it, Romeo & Juliet!
If you delve into a mindset, you’ll find many subsections within. Self-belief, confidence, mental strength and realistic opinions just four of the many. A solid and balanced mindset is just as potent a weapon as a beautiful lead jab, solid overhand right or unorthodox style. In Tony Bellew, you have potentially one of the strongest but most disciplined minds in at least modern day boxing, if not further beyond. His mindset, his IQ, is going to need to be at the height of its game on Saturday. You’d expect it to be nothing less, however, when going from previous.
However, you can only defeat what’s put in front of you. While Usyk was busy with three of the best the cruiserweight division had to offer up, Bellew’s last few fights don’t exactly offer up the creme de la creme. The two fights with Haye were well billed, but both affairs ended up being fairly one-sided. You’d have to go back quite some time to find the last time you really felt Tony was up against it heading into a bout. Absolutely not his fault, but it does leave you wondering just how he will fair with what is evidently a huge leap up in terms of opponent quality.
The Bomber made light work of David Haye in their rematch. Getting rid of him within five, dropping him three times during. Bellew wasn’t messing around in their second bout, the closest he looked to be in trouble was the first couple of rounds when Haye lead successfully with his jab, though you could hardly say he was actually ever in trouble, just losing the rounds. It was dominant and really managed to showcase the power he possesses in those hands.
Coming off the back off winning a super series, unifying a division, surely throws a ton of momentum onto a career that was already hurtling along at hyper speed. Momentum is not something to be scoffed at. Usyk already has talent by the boatload, Usyk already has ability oozing from almost everything he does. Knowing that as we speak, he’s clearly, and earned, the title of being the best in the cruiserweight division will do wonders. That momentum on top of what he’s already achieved is dangerous.
The momentum mentioned above already has “The Cat” looking further beyond his opponent on Saturday. Talks already of next fights and rises in weight classes being thrown about. I’d refuse to believe that Usyk thinks this clash with Bellew is already a formality but you’d have to ask yourself. Is Tony Bellew really a fighter where you can afford to have one eye already casting glances at what, or more to the point, who is next?
With so much on the line, the final of the WBSS to unify the cruiserweight division, you’d have fully understood had this been a reserved or cagey performance for the Ukrainian. Throw in this taking place in Russia, basically becoming an away tie for Usyk and it actually makes his performance all that more special. There was no reserved or cagey performance, in fact on show was something special and more importantly, mature. Personally, I had no qualms about awarding every round to the future cruiserweight king in a 120-108 showing where he just outclassed and outboxed his opponent… In a bout of such magnitude… In his opponent’s backyard.
My Fight Prediction
Every single part of me wishes and hopes that Tony pulls it out of the bag. What I want to happen and actually think will happen just aren’t lining up though. What I’m absolutely sure on is Usyk will win, I’m torn however on method. The options, for me, are stoppage or a wide(ish) points decision. When I say wide, I’m thinking 6-7 rounds. Reading the above you’d think I’m expecting Usyk to smash Bellew… I’m not.
I’m expecting a close fight and if it does go the distance those rounds will be close, potentially even “could-go-either-way” rounds. If it does end in a stoppage, again I’d see it just all unfolding in a crazy 45-60 seconds where the Ukrainian smells blood.
A mouthwatering tie looms on the horizon and one that when we find out the winner most likely presents more questions than it does answers no matter how it goes down. If Usyk dominates, his wandering eye brings up a mouth-watering potential but will it be made?. If it runs close, we find ourselves wondering about aII. The only question I can answer and with confidence is how I see it going down in Manchester…