Friday, September 30, 2022

Punch 2 the Face Radio

In this week's Punch 2 the Face Podcast, Brandon and I analyzed the impressive victories from Shakur Stevenson and Joe Joyce. We also talked about several key fights in that have yet to be made and how the health of the sport is predicated on big events. To listen to the podcast, click on the links below: 

Apple podcast link:

Spotify link:

I heart radio link:

Stitcher link:

Adam Abramowitz is the founder and head writer of saturdaynightboxing.comHe's a member of Ring Magazine's Ring Ratings Panel and a Board Member for the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board. 
snboxing on twitter. SN Boxing on Facebook. 

Sunday, September 18, 2022

Opinions and Observations: Canelo-Golovkin 3

Canelo-Golovkin 3 completed a trilogy that was a vivid demonstration of the life cycles of a boxer. On one side of Saturday's matchup stood the warrior in winter, Gennadiy Golovkin, 40, unable to pull the trigger for the most of the fight, lacking confidence to throw punches with conviction. His opponent, Saul "Canelo" Alvarez, was unquestionably better and a deserving victor on the night (he won by unanimous decision), but even he, at 32 and with 62 professional fights, looks to be in transition from the summer phase of his career to his autumn. 

When Canelo and Golovkin first fought in 2017, many in boxing were legitimately concerned for Canelo's well-being. At the time, Golovkin was perhaps the sport's supreme bogeyman. Although most believe that Canelo didn't deserve a draw in that fight, he did far more than survive, he competed. He was much improved in their rematch, an enthralling nip-and-tuck affair in the center of the ring. And four years later, he was the one left standing; his old foil just didn't have much left. 

Saturday's fight wasn't an advertisement for the beauty of the sport; it was a reminder of what it can take out of its participants. But I won't think of it as a sob story. Both made eight figures for the fight, and they had gotten to this juncture in their respective careers because of nights of excellence in the ring, with their 2018 rematch serving as a shining example. And although Saturday's fight failed to deliver the goods, Canelo and Golovkin have more than earned their place on boxing's grand stage.

Canelo's left hand was dominant against Golovkin
Photo courtesy of Ed Mulholland

Canelo had a clear case for winning eight to ten rounds on Saturday. Although not dazzling with activity, he was consistently more accurate and his best punches had more of an effect. In particular, his left hand caused Golovkin problems all fight. Canelo was able to better Golovkin's jab with his own. Golovkin was so concerned with defending Canelo's jab that Canelo found ample opportunities to land his left hook. As the fight progressed, Golovkin just didn't know which type of left hand was coming.  

Canelo learned two valuable lessons from his loss earlier this year to Dmitry Bivol. Not every shot needed to be thrown with KO intentions. Notably, when Alvarez did go for the home run, very few of those punches landed cleanly. When he kept things shorter and within the flow of the fight, he had far more success. Canelo also relied on his countering abilities, which wasn't the case against Bivol. His counters tamed Golovkin and just the threat of them made Golovkin reluctant to take risks in the first half of the bout. 

But there were also concerning signs regarding Canelo's performance. He was noticeably less energetic in the fight's final third. Golovkin had his best round of the fight in the ninth and belatedly he started to gain confidence. Yes, Canelo had a big lead at that point; however, he didn't seem too interested in matching Golovkin's intensity. Canelo closed the 12th well, but overall, he lacked vigor in the second half of the match.  

Golovkin's performance could best be summed up with unenviable words and phrases: hesitancy, lack of confidence, erosion of athleticism. Even when he landed his best punches of the fight in the ninth and the eleventh, they barely put a dent in Canelo. In their first bout in 2017, Golovkin's aggression and hard punching drove Canelo to the ropes in retreat. But when Golovkin had his moments of success on Saturday, I felt that they were more a function of Canelo taking breaks; he was never seriously threatened. Golovkin's best punches of the fight were his left hook and right uppercut, which aren't necessarily his best two shots. His jab wasn't particularly accurate or piercing. His straight right hand wasn't a factor. He didn't go to the body at all. 

After the fight Golovkin stated his intentions of continuing his career. He still holds two major belts at middleweight (Saturday's fight was at 168), but at 40, it's unlikely that there will be too many memorable triumphs left in his in-ring career. Fortunately for him, middleweight is one of the worst weight classes in boxing and of course there could always be a voluntary defense or two against the jetsam of the division. But when next he's in against a legitimate top opponent, I wouldn't like his chances. 

Golovkin's career is one filled with enormous pleasures and profound regrets. There was no precedent for a Kazakh prizefighter becoming a bona fide draw in the United States; yet Golovkin's fists and indomitable spirit crashed through that barrier. He was a ferocious puncher, a happy warrior and someone who was easy to root for. He built a sizable following destroying those brave enough to get in the ring with him. Unfortunately, major portions of his career were marked by the fights that didn't happen. In his salad days, Sturm, Quillin, Martinez, Cotto and Saunders avoided him. But after his prime Golovkin wound up not fighting emerging threats such as Demetrius Andrade and Jermall Charlo (there's an out-of-the-ring example of a boxer's life cycle). 

His first fight against Canelo WAS a robbery, but he could have had losses against Derevyanchenko and Jacobs. He made a lot of money, was on TV all the time, and made a huge mark in the sport. Perhaps it wasn't to the degree that many boxing fans were hoping for, but don't cry too much for him. It's not as if he was some anonymous boxer who toiled away in the sport's hinterlands. Golovkin is a boxing success story, a great example of how talent can only be suppressed so much. Even without notable dance partners throughout much of his prime, Golovkin still developed a significant following. Boxing will never be a meritocracy, as Golovkin's career has demonstrated, but the fact that he achieved as much as he did points to the sport's ability to reward talent, from wherever it emerges. 

Canelo and Golovkin embrace after the fight
Photo courtesy of Ed Mulholland

With Saturday's win Canelo continues to hold all four major belts at super middleweight, but after the fight he sounded exhausted, both physically and mentally. He indicated that he may need surgery on his left hand. Perhaps the break will do him well.

I think that his performance on Saturday will be a sign of what to expect in this next phase of his career. No longer a high-volume guy or someone who wants to be active all three minutes a round, Canelo needs to make every punch count while still winning rounds. Bivol and Golovkin were reminders that although Canelo's punching power is formidable it doesn't solve all of his problems. It's possible that Canelo will still have excellent nights left in the ring, even likely, but he'll need to select matchups carefully to remain at the top level of the sport. Opponents who rely on volume and athleticism will continue to be difficult for him and won't be any easier as he ages.

The Canelo-Golovkin series did not end on a high note, but there is much to take from the trilogy. If you want to see a fighter who was able to make the Great Canelo retreat out of necessity, then I present to you Gennadiy Golovkin in their first fight. And if you want to see an all-time great middleweight battle, the rematch is yours to enjoy. Or, if you are one to luxuriate in the shithousery of professional boxing, you will find enough bad judging for your tastes, and examples of a Golden Goose bending the sport to his will. 

But I know what I'll remember: Golovkin's sublime performance in their first fight and the war that was their rematch. There was greatness in this series – two nights where I saw something special. And for me, that's why I'm here.

Adam Abramowitz is the founder and head writer of saturdaynightboxing.comHe's a member of Ring Magazine's Ring Ratings Panel and a Board Member for the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board. 
snboxing on twitter. SN Boxing on Facebook. 

Friday, September 16, 2022

The Boxing Betting Show

For those interested in the betting angles for Saturday's Canelo-Golovkin III fight, I talked with Tom Craze on the Boxing Betting Show about where the best values are for the matchup. We also discussed betting strategies for the upcoming Joe Joyce-Joseph Parker fight. To listen to the show, click on the link: 

https://linktr.ee/boxingbetshow

Adam Abramowitz is the founder and head writer of saturdaynightboxing.comHe's a member of Ring Magazine's Ring Ratings Panel and a Board Member for the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board. 
snboxing on twitter. SN Boxing on Facebook. 

Thursday, September 15, 2022

Canelo-Golovkin 3: Preview and Prediction

Almost five years to the day of their first fight, Saul "Canelo" Alvarez (57-2-2, 39 KOs) and Gennadiy Golovkin (42-1-1, 37 KOs) square off for the third time on Saturday at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. This fight will be contested for Canelo's four belts and undisputed status at super middleweight. For Golovkin, who has spent his career at 160 lbs., Saturday's bout will be his first major fight in the super middleweight division.

Their first fight in 2017 ended in a ridiculous controversial draw, with almost everyone believing that Golovkin had done more than enough to deserve the victory. Although there were portions of the fight where Canelo performed well, Golovkin's consistent and successful offensive attacks carried the majority of the rounds. 

Canelo-Golovkin II was initially delayed because of Alvarez's failed PED test. When they did fight again in September 2018, the match was contested far more on even terms. Whereas much of the first fight was spent with Golovkin on the front foot and Canelo countering off the ropes, the rematch was mostly conducted in the middle of the ring with both fighters giving and taking in violent and thrilling exchanges. Canelo won the rematch via a majority decision in a fight where both boxers had a legitimate case for the victory (I scored it for Golovkin, 115-113).

Canelo with promoter Eddie Hearn
Photo courtesy of Ed Mulholland

After that fight, Canelo decided to seek out other opponents and Golovkin was left trying to regain momentum. Canelo has fought eight times since their second fight to four for Golovkin. 

Entering Saturday's fight, both find themselves at markedly different points in their career. At 32, Canelo is still close enough to his physical prime. Although he recently dominated the super middleweight champions to become undisputed at 168, Canelo struggled earlier this year in a loss to light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol, where he couldn't land enough power shots to counteract Bivol's volume, precision and movement. 

In two of his last three fights, Golovkin, the previously indestructible force, looked vulnerable. He could have lost the Sergiy Derevyanchenko fight with different judges. Earlier this year, Ryota Murata teed off on Golovkin in the opening rounds of their fight before GGG rallied to win by a ninth-round stoppage.  At 40, Golovkin no longer can pull the trigger like he once could. Although his granite chin remains, both Derevyanchenko and Murata were able to hurt him to the body. Yet, despite these struggles, Golovkin became a unified middleweight champion for a second time with the win over Murata. 

The essential questions going into Saturday's fight are: 

1. What style will Canelo employ during the fight? 

2. What does Golovkin have left? 

As Canelo has gained weight (and aged), he has changed his style considerably. Whereas Alvarez once dazzled with combination punching and countering, he has most recently fought as a walk-down stalker who throws single power shots. Although this approach led to thrilling stoppages against Sergey Kovalev and Caleb Plant, it was mostly ineffective against Bivol. With this style, Canelo runs the risk of losing rounds by not being active enough. And if the home run punch doesn't come...

But I have a hunch that Canelo will incorporate elements from his past styles to fight Golovkin. Tactically, GGG presents too many opportunities to counter. It's a major advantage that Canelo will have in the fight; it would be a mistake if he ignores this dynamic.

Golovkin is not a fighter who often cedes ground in the ring (although it has happened on occasion). GGG will want to control the center and establish his jab. If Canelo wants to walk forward without throwing punches, Golovkin, even at this age, will be happy to stick a sharp jab in his face. So instead of Canelo relying on a single haymaker left hook or a home run right hand, he may look to hit doubles (to keep the baseball analogy). He needs to take advantage of his opportunities and let his hands go with combinations when countering.

Golovkin at Wednesday's grand arrival
Photo courtesy of Ed Mulholland

Saturday's fight may come down to the following dynamic: Will Canelo be savvy enough to take what's given to him, or will he insist on loading up for the KO? Even at 40, I'm not convinced that Golovkin's chin can be dented in a serious way, but there certainly are holes in his defense. And to Golovkin's detriment, he still fights as if his hand speed is what it was five or six years ago, even though that is clearly not the case. But will Canelo take advantage of this?

If Canelo is patient and not greedy, he can counter with regularity, land flashy shots and cause damage. He may not be able to stop Golovkin or drop him, but if he can make peace with that, it's his best path to victory.  

However, if Canelo is insistent on going for the KO with his recent low volume, single-shot approach, the fight could get a lot more interesting on the scorecards. If Canelo waits for perfect openings, Golovkin will hit him consistently with jabs and power shots. Prolonged periods of inactivity from Canelo will play into Golovkin's hands.  

Prediction: 

I think that Canelo's countering ability will be the X-factor in the fight. If he's content to let Golovkin do his work for him, then Canelo will have more than enough skill, accuracy and power to land the more eye-catching shots. But I have no doubt that ego will play a role during the fight. I'm sure that Canelo will have moments where he believes a single overhand right or a massive left hook will be able to drop Golovkin. And as he waits for those openings, Golovkin will be able to land his jab and straight power shots. If Canelo respects Golovkin's abilities, then I think he boxes his way to a convincing victory that puts this rivalry to bed. But I don't know if we will see that over 12 rounds.

Golovkin's jab will still be able to hit the target and create openings during portions of the fight. He will land with regularity, especially if Canelo doesn't punish him with counters. However, I do question Golovkin's ability to stay out of trouble while standing right in front of Canelo. At a certain point, with his arms constantly in motion and without blazing speed, he becomes a big target for Canelo's return fire.  

I'm going to split the difference here. I think that Canelo wins, and without controversy, but Golovkin will have enough moments during the fight to remind boxing fans why he was such a special talent at his best. It will be an exciting fight. Canelo won't get the stoppage that he desires, but in rediscovering his counters and combinations, he will cement an impressive victory. 

Saul Alvarez defeats Gennadiy Golovkin 116-112. 

Adam Abramowitz is the founder and head writer of saturdaynightboxing.comHe's a member of Ring Magazine's Ring Ratings Panel and a Board Member for the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board. 
snboxing on twitter. SN Boxing on Facebook. 

Thursday, August 25, 2022

Punch 2 the Face Radio

In this week's Punch 2 the Face Podcast, Brandon and I focused on the heavyweight division. We dived into the Usyk-Joshua 2 and Hrgovic-Zhang fights from Saturday, and looked into what's next in the division: Parker-Joyce, Wilder-Helenius, Ruiz-Ortiz and more. We reviewed a busy fight weekend including Navarrete and Lipinets. We also looked ahead to Saturday's Pedraza-Commey fight card. To listen to the podcast, click on the links below: 

Apple podcast link:

Spotify link:

I heart radio link:

Stitcher link:

Adam Abramowitz is the founder and head writer of saturdaynightboxing.comHe's a member of Ring Magazine's Ring Ratings Panel and a Board Member for the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board. 
snboxing on twitter. SN Boxing on Facebook. 

Sunday, August 21, 2022

Opinions and Observations: Usyk-Joshua 2

Certain heavyweight fights etch themselves into our memory banks. These fights stay with us for years and in some cases generations. They become our shorthand for the history of the sport's glamour division. Saturday's heavyweight title rematch between Oleksandr Usyk and Anthony Joshua won't be a part of this storied list. It was three stars out of five. Although skills and competence were on display, very little from the fight would make either boxer's individual highlight reel. 

Ultimately, it was a tactical battle, one where two superpowers didn't want to go nuclear. They were happy to stay in conventional warfare. Neither was that interested in going for the jugular or seeing what that might look like...maybe another day against another opponent. 

The cagey battle in the Usyk (left) and Joshua rematch
Photo courtesy of Mark Robinson

The first eight rounds featured mostly cagey stuff. Usyk was picking and pawing with feints, angles, jabs and straight lefts. Joshua was coming forward with right hands and a couple of crafty counters. But there was little sustained action.

The ninth and tenth rounds were the memorable parts of the fight from my vantage point. In the former, Joshua attacked Usyk ferociously, mauled him, and launched a sustained attack that showed true menace. It's the approach that many wanted him to engage in from the opening bell (more on that in a bit). 

But as in the first fight, where Joshua had a lot of success in the eighth round only to be beat back in the subsequent frame, the same story applied here. On Saturday Usyk responded to duress in the ninth by exploding with his best power shots in the tenth. These were not punches to keep Joshua at bay; they were thrown to take back control of the fight. And by hurting Joshua at multiple points during the round he did just that. 

Essentially, that was the real last hurrah in the fight. Usyk won by split decision with scores of 116-112, 115-113 and 113-115. I had him winning by 115-113 and can't see a plausible case for Joshua getting the nod. 

Overall, I was underwhelmed. I thought that Usyk was more dynamic in the first fight, much livelier on his feet. The word that kept coming to mind when watching him on Saturday was "labored." He seemed like a much older man in the ring. I can only imagine how much the war in Ukraine and his subsequent involvement in defending his homeland has affected him. There was very little joy in his performance. The famed, maniacal Usyk smile was nowhere to be found. 

After the fight, he seemed grateful for it to be over, as if he needed all of his reserves to get through it. He won under trying circumstances and that fact further illustrates his supreme internal fortitude. He has won big fights all over the world, almost never on home soil. Few could accomplish what he has even with all of their big fights as home games. Yet, Saturday's fight to me illustrated limits for Usyk. He could only give so much at this moment. It was enough. It wasn't his truly best, but he got through it and persevered. 

Usyk after the victory in silent reflection
Photo courtesy of Mark Robinson

As for Joshua, he was better, but still not good enough. He had a new corner and successfully incorporated changes in the ring. Tactically, he featured more head movement and incorporated a wider variety of punches. He had a few nifty counter right uppercuts. His straight rights to the body kept Usyk honest. He also finished the fight in better shape. Although Usyk won at least two of the final three rounds, Joshua wasn't in the same danger of being knocked out that he was in their first match. Even after being cuffed around in the tenth round, he recovered well enough and was lucid in the championship rounds.

But Usyk happens to be a horrific style matchup for him. Usyk demonstrated that Joshua isn't adept enough at creating his own openings at the highest level; he's dependent on his opponent to have success and Usyk didn't give Joshua enough to work with. Joshua was never able to figure out on a consistent basis where Usyk was going to be, what he was going to do or when he was going to throw. Joshua is a thinking man's fighter rather than a brute banger, but he couldn't get a handle on Usyk's patterns or rhythms, which led to a lot of indecision and waiting.  

Those insisting that Joshua would have had success bull rushing Usyk from the opening bell were living in fantasy land. For one, Joshua just isn't that type of fighter. He likes to set punches up. He has never been a true pressure fighter and that style negates his considerable weapons from the outside. And also, Usyk if not faster than Joshua, is certainly quicker. He moves better. He's just not an easy fighter to contain for any sustained period. Usyk may have touched the ropes two of three times in Saturday's fight, not because Joshua wasn't trying to apply pressure, but because Usyk is an expert at maneuvering around the ring. 

I think the most telling aspect of Saturday's fight was that after Joshua had his one-round blitzkrieg offensive and then Usyk responded in kind, that both didn't go to the well again. Throughout the fight both seemed pleased with mid-tempo. Joshua doesn't have the tank to fight in a kamikaze style for sustained periods, and it was clear that even after reestablishing his advantage, Usyk didn't want to either. Both can now go home, see their families and fight another day. Ultimately, much of Saturday's fight was about risk mitigation and concluding this series with a degree of dignity and grace.

Adam Abramowitz is the founder and head writer of saturdaynightboxing.comHe's a member of Ring Magazine's Ring Ratings Panel and a Board Member for the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board. 
snboxing on twitter. SN Boxing on Facebook. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Usyk-Joshua 2: Preview and Prediction

The heavyweight title rematch between Oleksandr Usyk (19-0, 13 KOs) and Anthony Joshua (24-2, 22 KOs) takes place on Saturday at the Jeddah Superdome in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. When they met last September, Usyk won a convincing unanimous decision over Joshua, dominating the early and late portions of the fight. Usyk's best moments of the match were in the fight's final third, where he stepped on the gas and battered Joshua with straight left hands. Although Joshua did make it to the final bell, he was in bad shape, exhausted, and focused much more on staying upright than launching any sustained final attacks.  

In the aftermath of the defeat, Joshua made a significant change to his corner, firing longtime compatriot Robert McCracken and hiring noted American trainer Robert Garcia. Usyk has experienced tumult over the past 11 months as well. His native Ukraine was attacked by Russia. Usyk initially joined the war effort to defend his country, but eventually decided to participate in the Joshua rematch.   

After Joshua's loss, there was significant handwringing over the fighter's tactics. Joshua's attempt at outboxing a master boxer was disastrous. For much of the fight, Joshua set-up in mid-range, which was probably the worst place that he could be against Usyk. At that distance, Joshua was unable to use his physicality on the inside or his length to keep Usyk away on the outside.  

Usyk and Joshua ready for battle
Photo courtesy of Mark Robinson


This leads us to how Joshua can improve in the rematch and there are two schools of thought: inside or outside. With the selection of Garcia, who is known for working with well-rounded, aggressive power-punchers (although not exclusively), it would seem that Joshua is opting to use his size and power to wear down the naturally smaller man. 

But there is another possible path to victory; let's call it the Emanuel Steward approach. Steward would look at Joshua's height and length and most likely try to have Joshua control the fight from the outside. Consider Steward's success with tall heavyweights such as Lennox Lewis and Wladimir Klitschko for what that might look like. From my perspective, the Steward approach could make more sense, but it would depend on a number of factors to execute correctly: Joshua would need a consistent jab over 12 rounds, and he would also have to stay disciplined throughout the fight. I don't doubt Joshua's ability to win a fight on the outside (look at the Andy Ruiz rematch or the Joseph Parker fight), but I do question whether he wants to fight and win that way.  

In essence, Joshua's selection of Robert Garcia is a function of self-perception. Joshua wants to be seen as a killer in the ring, a bulldog. He would rather knock someone out in a blaze of glory with bullets flying everywhere than skate to a composed, clean victory, like he did in the Ruiz rematch.  

But what about the Usyk side of the equation? What might he have up his sleeve for the rematch?  

I got into some trouble online after their fight last year where I mocked those who claimed that Usyk put on a master class. I posted a picture of Usyk's banged up face, which illustrated the effects of Joshua's right hands. And people blasted me saying "THAT'S NOT HOW FIGHTS ARE SCORED," as if I didn't know that. But what I wanted to point out was that Usyk definitely got hit in the fight, and not by one or two grazing shots. He took some real punishment. In the middle rounds of the fight, especially in the sixth and eighth, Joshua landed serious thunder. The correct score in my opinion was 116-112 or 117-111 for Usyk, a clear win, but not a domination whatsoever. Joshua competed and after eight rounds he had a path toward winning the fight.  

As good as Usyk was against Joshua, I don't think that fight was his most comprehensive performance. He beat Joshua with essentially just his left hand, which is noteworthy, but also illustrates that there are elements of his game that he can improve. Usyk waved his right hand in front of Joshua to disrupt his timing, but he didn't jab consistently with authority. His right hook wasn't a factor in the fight (more on this in a bit). His performance also reiterated to me that in certain fights he has weaknesses with his footwork. Usyk is a master at using angles on offense, but he doesn't move his feet nearly as well on defense. He can be hit and he can be timed. Tony Bellew hit Usyk plenty with counter right hands. Mairis Briedis caught Usyk with all sorts of clever shit in the trenches. Michael Hunter landed at will at the early rounds of their fight.  

To me Usyk beat Joshua in two main areas. He carved out space on Joshua's left side darting in and out from that area. This accomplished a few things: he took away Joshua's right hand in the early portion of the fight. He could land his straight left without worrying about being countered by Joshua's best punch.  

Secondly, Usyk's conditioning was far superior. When it looked like the fight was on the table to start the ninth round, Usyk found another level. As Joshua started to fatigue, Usyk still had plenty of reserves. Even after experiencing heavy fire, it was Usyk who thought more clearly and reacted better physically and mentally. Similar to many master boxers, Usyk is often at his best in the second half of fights, once he's gotten a good look at his opponent.   

Leading up to Saturday's rematch, Usyk looks noticeably more muscular. The former undisputed cruiserweight champion now appears to be a comfortable heavyweight. Now, extra muscle can be a double-edged sword. It can help with power, punch resistance and grappling, but it can also deplete the body of energy and agility. Usyk deserves the benefit of the doubt for his approach to the rematch, but he hasn't gotten where he has in the sport by being a grappler.  

Usyk won the strategic battle in the first fight, but I'm sure that Garcia and Joshua know that the left hook, which can be an excellent weapon for Joshua, can punish Usyk if he gets too predictable with his offensive setup. And I believe that Usyk knows this too. I would expect to see Usyk spend time on Joshua's right side as well this fight and I think that his lead right hook could be a factor as he's evading Joshua. I also would expect Usyk's uppercut to play a role as Joshua attempts to come inside. Quick uppercuts to the body may be an effective tool against an impatient Joshua who wants to stamp his authority on the fight.  

Prediction:  

I expect Joshua to start the fight faster than last year's outing. Although I don't foresee him making too many daredevil bullrushes towards Usyk, I think he will look to come in after a landed shot, either a solid jab or a straight right. And Garcia will advise Joshua to stay in the kitchen once he's there. He shouldn't be the one holding or accepting clinches. That's where he needs to go to work. I think Usyk is too good for Joshua to be able to execute large portions of rounds on the inside, but Joshua will need to make the most of two to three forays per round where he can cause damage, land eye-catching shots and try to deplete Usyk.  

In the early rounds Usyk will do his best to weather the storm. I don't think he will be trying to pitch a shutout by over-moving or running a race. He will need to pick and paw from the outside and mid-range and to limit Joshua's opportunities for sustained offensive sequences. He can't get hit by something he doesn't see and he needs to keep his combinations short and quick.  

Usyk may spend the first four rounds of the fight trying different things, which at first may appear to lack a coherent plan. He may circle in both directions. He may move up and back to stay well out of range. I wouldn't be surprised to see him clinching more than expected. Early in the fight is where he needs to be cautious, to get Joshua thinking, and to get Joshua to burn off a lot of energy. Maybe he does run around the ring for a round, and then spends the next round doing lots of holding – anything to prevent patterns from being formed or Joshua from making easy adjustments.  

I expect Joshua to have a couple of rounds of success early in the fight. He will try to go for the stoppage, but I don't think he will be able to put the right shots together to do that. By the fifth or sixth round I see Usyk starting to take over. Whereas the earlier rounds featured both fighters having their moments, Usyk will now start to go to work with his best power punches.  

If Usyk can establish additional power punches other than his straight left, I don't think that a fatigued Joshua will be able to defend himself properly. Gradually Usyk will put a more consistent hurting on Joshua as the fight progresses into the second half. I think that the fight will end in the late rounds, more from Joshua taking sustained punishment than a singular final blow. Usyk will weather the early storm and leave no doubt that he is a deserving heavyweight champion.  

Oleksandr Usyk TKO 11 Anthony Joshua  

Adam Abramowitz is the founder and head writer of saturdaynightboxing.comHe's a member of Ring Magazine's Ring Ratings Panel and a Board Member for the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board. 
snboxing on twitter. SN Boxing on Facebook. 

Thursday, July 21, 2022

Punch 2 the Face Radio

In this week's Punch 2 the Face podcast, Brandon and I talked about Ryan Garcia's emphatic victory over Javier Fortuna. We previewed this weekend's interesting clash between Joet Gonzalez and Isaac Dogboe. Also, we talked about some news and notes in the sport, including Demetrius Andrade, Adrien Broner and the WBA. To listen to the podcast, click on the links below: 

Apple podcast link:

Spotify link:

I heart radio link:

Stitcher link:

Adam Abramowitz is the founder and head writer of saturdaynightboxing.comHe's a member of Ring Magazine's Ring Ratings Panel and a Board Member for the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board. 
snboxing on twitter. SN Boxing on Facebook.