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PREDICTION PLANET: Big Mac’s Expert Panel–Pacquiao-Bradley 2 Edition

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— Photo Credit : Chris Farina – Top Rank

It’s that time of year again. A big fight beckons, so your old pal McCarson gathered picks from around the boxing world to see who will come out on top Saturday when Manny Pacquiao faces Timothy Bradley at the MGM in Las Vegas.

While the majority of TSS writers like Pacquiao to win a decision, a panel of 15 other boxing gurus ended up muuuuuch closer: 8 see Bradley winning, 6 see Manny the victor, and one abstained, on principle.

One panelist, boxing writer Matt McGrain, gave perhaps the most interesting response of the bunch. McGrain won’t pick a winner and won’t even watch the fight because he says fight fans “were robbed” back in 2012 when two boxing judges gave Bradley the nod in a bout most everyone else saw a clear Pacquiao win.

Without further adieu, here are Pacquiao-Bradley predictions from boxing’s best panel of pickers.

TSS Crew Picks Pacman 8-1, Woods Says Draw

I’m going with Tim Bradley again. I picked him in the first fight and I pick him again in the rematch. He cleaned out the junior welterweights and now is targeting the welters. Bradley by TKO. — David Avila, TheSweetScience.com

I’ve never been so timid to call a fight with conviction… I can genuinely see this going either way. I’m going with Pacquiao via majority decision, with one knockdown being the difference in the fight. — Blake Hochberger, TheSweetScience.com

Pacquiao won the first time and did everything right except get the decision. Manny will try and turn up the heat and pressure more this time (because he doesn’t believe Bradley can really hurt him) and Bradley will try to box and move a little more…The fight will go the distance and Pacquiao’s hand will be raised regardless of whether or not he deserves the decision. — Frank Lotierzo, TheSweetScience.com

I am not going to want this fight to end. I love Bradley’s game. He continues to get better and looked great against Marquez. I would love to see Bradley fight Mayweather because of their styles. But Bradley doesn’t have an answer for Pacquiao’s speed. If I have to choose a winner, I like Pacquiao to win a close, highly competitive fight by KO. Pacquiao’s speed and timing will be the deciding factor. — Raymond Markarian, TheSweetScience.com

Bradley is going about it all wrong. He convinced himself he won the first fight when all but a very few people actually believed that to be the case. He’ll go into the rematch thinking he can do the same thing and get the win. He can’t. Pacquiao will defeat him more convincingly this time and win a wide unanimous decision. — Kelsey McCarson, TheSweetScience.com

Freddie, as always, is making big promises about the “Old Manny” returning. It might sound like a tired tune, but the last time he said it, Manny almost finished off Marquez, even though it didn’t quite pan out. If Freddie isn’t just blowing smoke, an aggressive Manny could be all wrong for Bradley. This is a different Tim Bradley, though. After surviving Provodnikov and legitimately beating Marquez, Bradley rightly believes he’s ready for prime time. I see a close, exciting fight with the difference being that Bradley won’t be able to really hurt Pacman. That will allow Pacquiao to eek out a tight, unanimous decision. — John Nguyen, TheSweetScience.com

After Bradley beat Pacquiao by split decision in 2012, Lennox Lewis said the outcome was “maybe not worse than my draw with Holyfield but still bad nonetheless.” In that particular rematch, Holyfield performed better, but Lewis still won a unanimous decision. In this rematch, Bradley will show that he has the skills of a top-level fighter, but Pacquiao will walk away with a unanimous decision. A rubber match is inevitable. — Aaron Tallent, TheSweetScience.com

Tim Bradley is good. Real damn good. I thought he’d be damaged goods after Ruslan gave him some wicked thumps. But he showed me YET AGAIN that my omniscience is a work in progress. The man has skills, and even if those skills don’t include much in the pop department, he can box a doozy. The other guy can still too, and his flashy, still-present hand speed will get judge love onApril 12. And maybe you recall, they kind of owe Pacquiao one, don’t they? I see 12 rounds that can go either way, though, and a MAJORITY DRAW. — Michael Woods, TheSweetScience.com

Pacquiao’s turn to take a close, questionable call, as he’s done in Vegas a few times already. This time Arum will borrow a page from Bradley’s book and show up with a poster for Pacquiao-Bradley 3. — Phil Woolever, TheSweetScience.com

Contrary to popular belief, I thought the first fight was highly competitive. I’m expecting more of the same. However, this time, whether he deserves it or not, Pacquiao will be the one who has his arm raised.Pacquiao by SD. — Lee Wylie, TheSweetScience.com

Other Panelists See Bradley A Winner, 8-6, McGrain Abstains

I like Pacquiao to win a competitive unanimous decision. He will be a lot more active in the ring and throw more eye-catching shots than Bradley will. I also think Pacquiao’s power will be a big difference in the fight. He throws the type of punches that judges respond to—at least the competent ones. — Adam Abramowitz, SaturdayNightBoxing.com

In their first tilt, Pacquiao did not land fractionally as often as he was expected, or in many cases seen, to do. Bradley’s performance, too, was sub-par. Pacquiao will be slower but more aggressive this time. Bradley will be quicker but less aggressive. And it will be make-up day on the scorecards: Fans and pundits will see Bradley win on effectiveness, Las Vegas judges will see Pacquiao win on activity, and acrimony will ensue. — Bart Barry, 15Rounds.com

Two years removed from a decision win he didn’t deserve, Timothy Bradley Jr. has done nothing in the interim but improve. Now, at the peak of his absolute prime, expect the versatile boxer-puncher to utilize his speed, guile and fearlessness to claim a tight decision that’s justified. Pacquiao remains one of the very elite fighters in the sport. But he’s slowing down just a bit. Look for Bradley to utilize the confidence gained in the final few rounds of their first fight when he outboxed Pacquiao to score enough points to offset the Pacman’s power shots that will likely sway the crowd in his favor. — Brian Campbell, ESPN.com

While I agree with the masses that Pacquiao deserved to win the first go-round in 2012, I also think the intervening two years have been kinder to Bradley. Particularly in his Marquez fight, he showed the varied skills he’ll need to handle a Manny who’s either still what he was back then, or a trifle diminished. He’s got speed, he’s got guts and he’s got the patience and the smarts to stick to a game plan that might make for a dull fight… but a successful ending. Give me Tim by a close decision, 115-113 let’s say, and get ready for the third match. — LyleFitzsimmons, CBSSports.com

It seems that most of the questions for this fight revolve around Manny. Is he still hungry? How much has he slipped? Does he still have that old killer instinct? Bradley is solid and has many tools. However, Manny looked quite good against Rios in November. So I say he’s still got it. Pacquiao by unanimous decision. — John DiSanto, PhillyBoxingHistory.com

There are very few ELITE fighters and even fewer elite fighters that love to slug it out: we are getting a combination of both in #PacBradley2. It’s going to be a battle of who has the toughest chin, and right now, I think that is Bradley. But who has the most heart? — GeorgeForeman IV, Foreman Boys Promotions

I’m still not convinced about the “not wearing socks” excuse. At the highest level, I’d imagine Bradley’s feet being conditioned to fight without socks and to also prepare for “spongy” rings. I’ve fought all over the world in different conditions. A fighter shouldn’t be surprised of the environment. Second, Bradley was able to utilize his skills against a much slower Marquez, who also took a lot of punishment from his last fight, which was with Pacquiao. Can we agree that Pacquiao is much faster than Marquez? I can’t base Bradley’s performance with Marquez being a “litmus test” of how much he’s improved. No disrespect to Bradley, he’s a great fighter, but whether he wears socks or not, I give the edge to Pacquiao winning. — boxer Ana Julaton, former world champion

I like Bradley by unanimous decision with a display of athleticism and skill. — Andy Lee, middleweight contender

PACQUIAO BY UNANIMOUS DECISION. I had Manny up by two rounds in their first fight. Even though he out-landed Bradley, in the middle round his activity level slumped after the 6th stanza. Manny is inspired for this one and I believe he will consistently press the attack this time around. In their first fight, Bradley was often able to slip Pacquiao’s third and fourth punches. The Pacman has to change that on Saturday night and score his signature long combinations. Pacquiao has no respect for Bradley’s power – which is both a plus and a minus. The minus is, of course, that Bradley could surprise him with a potent counter-right. The plus is that the power differential will make Pacquiao more comfortable staying in the pocket and throwing punches in bunches. Either way, I can’t wait for this one – two amazing fighters and ambassadors for boxing. —Gordon Marino, Boxing.com

Pacquiao by decision. He won the first fight, no reason to think he won’t win the second one as well, especially since he’ll be coming in hungry to right the past. — Rachel McCarson, Boxing Photographer

Not only am I not picking a winner for Pacquiao-Bradley II, I won’t be watching. The day after the first fight I wrote that “anyone who buys the sequel is in some way endorsing the decision in the first fight”, and that is how I feel about it. In the summer of 2012 we were robbed – you, me, every other boxing fan, Pacquiao, and not least of all Bradley, who supposedly came close to retiring in the wake of the hatred that enveloped him in the wake of that first ridiculous decision. Who robbed us? Some s——d that was after our money or two idiots that don’t understand boxing. Doesn’t matter. Pacquiao outclassed Bradley last time around, and the only reason there is a rematch is because of those idiots – or those criminals. My prediction is losers all round – the writers that cover it like it is a real fight, the fans that buy tickets, the fighters that got duped the first time around. Bob Arum will win though. Unlike other picks, this one is inarguably correct, and unaffected by the outcome. — Matt McGrain, Boxing.com

Timothy Bradley Jr. is a dangerous fighter. He’s highly skilled, determined and feels like he has something to prove. That’s a dangerous mix, especially against an opponent who has been half in and half out of boxing for the past several years. In this fight, you can expect a lot of close, competitive rounds. But when the judges award them to Bradley, this time, he’ll have earned them. He’s just more intense and more desperate to prove himself than Pacquiao. Bradley “avenges” his win in the first fight with a close unanimous decision. — Kevin McRae, BleacherReport.com

Many observors are picking Pacquiao, and understandably so. He’s come back well after the sickening knockout loss to Marquez, as he looked fairly decent against Rios last November. Personally, I thought Manny would’ve been damaged goods after Marquez planted that bomb on his chin, but he’s proved me wrong so far. But let’s see what happens when he’s hit regularly with full blooded punches and is truly tested. Bradley doesn’t need to fully commit himself – yes, I’m talking about being pretty aggressive – to win via knockout or on points. He should hang back a little bit behind the jab while using his speed and movement, occasionally stepping in with countering power punches, then swiftly departing – Marquez style.  To sum that up in a simple format: Boxing combined with sporadic attacks, making himself multi-dimensional. He’s got the speed, timing, athleticism and style to accomplish such a strategy. However, he’s got to adjust to what Manny does as the fight progresses. Another thing he needs to do is match, or surpass, Manny for workrate to hang in there when it comes to convincing the judges. Crucial. When Manny is in the mood and firing on all cylinders, he’s no joke. Although not with concrete conviction, I’ll go for Bradley on points. –fighterwriter Robbi Paterson

A lot has happened since Pacquiao and Bradley first met in the ring. The Bradley vs. Provodnikov fight is one of the most memorable I’ve seen. I remember where I was, who I was with, and thinking, “HOLY?COW.” Although Tim took quite a beating, he served one greater. I think he will do the same with Manny. This is Tim’s chance to shut people up for all the detestation after their first fight, and I think he will take full advantage of it. In other circumstances, the idea of having to avenge a win doesn’t make sense, but here it does. Hopefully this will be the final statement to bring Tim the respect he deserves. Of the Bradley fight, JMM said, “…you don’t have to knock a guy out to win.” But with Tim Bradley, maybe you do. That is something I don’t see happening. It will be a battle, and I can’t wait to see it. Bradley SD — Stephanie Trapp, Trappfotos.com

Pacman moved up to a weight class where within the past 2 years, he has not been able to knock out an opponent. Timmy is younger, and very strong-willed. Two hungry fighters, I do not see a knockout… But I see a close decision for Timothy Bradley. Unless of course that one lucky punch comes. — boxer Kaliesha West, former world champion

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Avila Perspective, Chap. 284: Tyson Fury, Oleksandr Usyk, and Much More

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Avila Perspective, Chap. 284: Tyson Fury, Oleksandr Usyk, and Much More

Argue all you want about the appeal of other sports, only boxing grabs fans on all levels and stratum.

It’s the oldest sport that has an international swag that only the World Cup can rival once every four years. Boxing has it every year.

Heavyweights take the forefront in Saudi Arabia while lightweights battle in Southern California. It’s an all-day affair pitting champions from all parts of the world.

Tyson Fury (34-0-1, 24 KOs), the WBC and lineal heavyweight champion, finally meets Oleksandr Usyk (21-0, 15 KOs) who holds the IBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight titles on Saturday, May 18, at Riyadh. DAZN ppv, ESPN ppv, and PPV.Com will stream the massive fight card at 9 a.m. PT/ 12 p.m. ET.

It’s a rare opportunity to decide who truly is the “baddest man on the planet.” Ever since the emergence of the alphabet titles, few know the name of the heavyweight champion. Not since Mike Tyson ruled the prize ring could fans tell you the name of the champ.

Some people still think Tyson is the heavyweight champ.

Now we have England’s “Gypsy King” Fury ready to prove that he indeed is the biggest and baddest of all the heavyweights in the world. He’s got his dad head-butting people to prove it.

“I predict that somebody’s ‘0’ has got to go. And it’s going to be that team over there, unfortunately for them,” said Tyson Fury who at six-feet, nine-inches tall towers over most opponents.

Facing Fury is Usyk, the Ukrainian fighter who twice defeated Anthony Joshua for several versions of the heavyweight championship.

Though several inches shorter and much lighter in weight, Usyk has displayed mobility and agility that allows him to dart in and out of danger. Will this tactic work against Fury?

“I have a plan. It’s a better plan. And it’s a great plan,” said Usyk. “I will have the opportunity to become undisputed for a second time.”

Of course, size doesn’t always matter when it comes to heavyweights. History has taught us the bigger man doesn’t always win. From Jack Dempsey whipping Jess Willard to Joe Frazier beating Buster Mathis, size doesn’t dictate the winner when it comes to heavyweights.

Top Rank’s Bob Arum summed up the importance of this heavyweight clash.

“After this fight, there is one ‘Baddest Man on the Planet,’ the undisputed heavyweight champion. That means everything in the sport of boxing. That means everything for fans who love boxing,” said Arum.

Two other world titles fights are also planned.

IBF super featherweight titlist Joe Cordina (17-0, 9 KOs) defends against Anthony Cacace (21-1, 7 KOs).

Cordina was seen in Santa Monica, California sparring various super featherweights in preparation for this match. His last match against Texan Edwin Vazquez was a squeaker but you can never tell what the Welsh fighter will do.

Who can forget his two-round demolition of Japan’s Kenichi Ogawa?

Cruiserweights also battle. IBF titlist Jai Opetaia (24-0, 19 KOs) of Australia defends against Latvia’s Mairis Briedis (28-2, 20 KOs). This is a rematch. They fought two years ago with Opetaia winning by decision in Australia. Can Opetaia do it again in neutral territory?

PPV.Com

Headlining the PPV.COM announcing crew for the Fury-Usyk card will be Dan Canobbio, Chris Algieri and Kevin Iole. They will be commentating and also discussing the fight via text on social media.

It’s been almost a year since this this style of reporting was adopted. Fans like the opportunity to discuss the fight with the experts.

San Diego Fights

Three-division world champion Emanuel Navarrete (38-1-1, 31 KOs) attempts to become a four-division world champion when he meets Ukraine’s Denys Berinchyk (18-0, 9 KOs) for the vacant WBO lightweight title on Saturday, May 18, at Pechanga Arena in San Diego, Calif. ESPN will televise.

The Mexican fighter known as “El Vaquero” seeks to become the sixth Mexican fighter with four division world titles and join the prestigious elite. Among those accomplishing the feat are Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, Juan Manuel Marquez, Erik Morales, Jorge Arce and Leo Santa Cruz.

Navarrete barely survived his last fight with a majority draw against Robson Conceicao last November in Las Vegas. Perhaps the extra five pounds will help?

On the co-main event welterweight contender Giovani Santillan (32-0, 17 KOs) of San Diego returns home to face Georgia’s Brian Norman (25-0, 19 KOs) for the interim WBO welterweight title.

Santillan, 32, is coming off a big knockout win over Alexis Rocha last year. The southpaw has always stepped up when bigger and better competition confronts him. Can he do it again?

Norman, 23, is a hard-hitting welterweight who fought 16 times in his first two years. Many of those fights took place in Mexico. It’s a big test for him.

East L.A. Fights

Super featherweights Dariial Kuchmenov (7-0) and Daniel Lugo (5-2) meet Saturday May 18, at Salesian High School in East Los Angeles. The Elite Boxing USA promotions card begins at 6 p.m. The card features several other bouts including female fighter Mayra Ruiz.

For tickets go to www.tix.com/ticket-sales/eliteboxing/7

18th & Grand Exhibit

The final day to visit the “18th & Grand” exhibit takes place on Sunday May 19, at La Plaza De Cultura Y Artes located at 501 N. Main Street in downtown Los Angeles 90012. The exhibit is free.

Inside you will find photos and art of the Olympic Auditorium that was the center of boxing, wrestling, roller derby, and rock concerts for decades.

For boxing fans, its where the sport showcased the likes of Henry Armstrong, Baby Arizmendi, Art Aragon, Jerry Quarry, Mando Ramos, Scrap Iron Johnson, Art Hafey, and many others.

The exhibit is free of charge.

Jake Paul vs Mike Tyson

Tickets went on sale this week for the return of Iron Mike Tyson who will face Jake Paul in a heavyweight match commissioned as an actual fight.

Most Valuable Promotions will stage Tyson versus Paul along with the rematch between Katie Taylor and Amanda Serrano on July 20, at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Netflix will stream the card live.

A number of other bouts are planned for the mega event.

Paul’s first actual boxing match took place when Tyson fought Roy Jones Jr. in Los Angeles several years ago.

“I started Jake off and I’m gonna finish him,” promised Tyson when they fight.

Paul said he respects Tyson like family.

“I love you like a father loves his son, but I must discipline you. You’re going down, man,” said Paul.

Fights to Watch

Sat. PPV.COM 9 a.m. Tyson Fury (34-0-1) vs Oleksandr Usyk (21-0).

Sat. ESPN, 7:30 p.m. Emanuel Navarrete (38-1-1) vs Denys Berinchyk (18-0).

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At Long Last: Marvelous Marvin Hagler to Finally Get His Statue in the ‘City of Champions’

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At Long Last: Marvelous Marvin Hagler to Finally Get His Statue in the ‘City of Champions’

Not much good news comes out of Brockton, Massachusetts these days but I’ve got some.

Former undisputed middleweight champion Marvelous Marvin Hagler will be posthumously honored in the city he helped keep on the boxing map with a life-sized bronze statue produced by Brodin Studios in Kimball, Minnesota. The statue of Hagler, “in an action stance” will be unveiled on June 13th at a small space near to where the old Petronelli Gym was once located.

According to Hagler’s widow Kay, the space is now called the Marvelous Marvin Hagler Park.

That date, June 13, 2024 will be on the 43-year anniversary of Hagler’s 1981 rematch with Vito Antuofermo at the Boston Garden. As the new champion, Hagler was making the second defense of the world title he won in 1980 from Alan Minter. Hagler’s first shot at the title came in 1979 against Antuofermo in Las Vegas and was ruled a draw. The rematch was a mismatch.

The unveiling, scheduled for Thursday June 13 at 11 am, will also fall on the 31-year anniversary of Hagler’s 1993 induction into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in Canastota, NY. Will thousands show up to celebrate like they did when another Brockton boxer was remembered?

Back in 2012, when a 22-foot-tall Rocky Marciano statue was put up by the WBC, many asked why Hagler didn’t also have a statue in Brockton and would he ever get one? The answer is yes.

Somebody finally did something for Hagler. Before he died in 2023, longtime Marciano family friend Charlie Tartaglia told me the reason he put up a bronze plaque for Hagler at Massasoit College with his own money was because as he put it, “Nobody ever did nothin’ for Hagler.”

Brockton state representative Gerry Cassidy secured the $150,000 needed from the state to build and maintain the long overdue statue in tribute to Hagler who died in 2021 at the age of 66.

Hagler’s new sculpture will be on display approximately two miles away from Rocky’s. It won’t be as tall as Marciano’s towering memorial but that’s fine, Rocky was a heavyweight while Marvin was a middleweight.

“This testament to a true hometown sports and community icon will be a permanent monument to one of the greatest champions from our ‘City of Champions,’” said Brockton Mayor Robert F. Sullivan in a public statement announcing the marvelous news.

The legendary physique of Hagler in his prime is befitting of a likeness commemorating it. Somebody on Facebook wrote, “I guarantee his jaw and muscles were stronger than his statue is going to be.” Another Facebooker wrote, “A fitting tribute to a boxing great gone too soon.”

Hagler reigned as middleweight champion of the world from 1980 to 1987 and during this time he carved out a reputation as one of the greatest middleweight champions in the history of boxing. Hagler was a member of the “Four Kings” which also included Sugar Ray Leonard, Thomas “The Hitman” Hearns and Roberto Duran. Hagler beat Duran and Hearns but lost to Leonard.

One of the reasons it took so long for Hagler to be honored in this way is that despite his greatness in the boxing ring, Hagler had another reputation in Brockton and that was as somebody with the capacity for violence against women, most notably his ex-wife Bertha.

Domestic incidents between the pair were common and in her complaint against Hagler, Bertha alleged that she lived in fear of Marvin; that he put his hands on her and threw a large rock at her car. Regardless of all this, Brocktonians are happy and excited to see Hagler and his surviving family finally get what’s coming to him even if it will come three years after Hagler passed away.

Still, not everyone in the City of Champions is so pleased with the planned placement of the new statue. As mentioned, the Hagler memorial will be located a couple miles away from Marciano’s.

“Hagler’s statue belongs at Brockton High School,” says Mark Casieri, owner and caretaker of Rocky Marciano’s childhood home located at 168 Dover Street. Casieri knows a thing or two about Brockton boxing. “It belongs there alongside Rocky’s statue so that the youth coming up through the school system are able to know the sports heroes that came out of Brockton.”

Brockton High School has been in the news recently but for all the wrong reasons. Violence and debauchery at the high school has gotten so bad that politicians considered bringing in military units of the National Guard to quell the unprecedented unrest. It’s ironic but Brockton has become like Newark, NJ, the city that Hagler’s mother moved him away from to protect him.

As a young middleweight just starting out as a professional fighter, Hagler fought nine of his early bouts at the Brockton High School gym including his pro debut against Terry Ryan in 1973.

For the record, I reached out to Brodin Studios for some information about the statue (its official height and weight? What fight is the action stance from?) but they are playing it very close to the chest, saying only what an honor it was to build it for Hagler and the entire Brockton community.

The Marvelous One is finally getting his statue in the City of Champions. Better late than never.

Photo insert: Marvin Marvin and Vito Antuofermo (undated; circa 2010)

*** Boxing Writer Jeffrey Freeman grew up in the City of Champions, Brockton, Massachusetts from 1973 to 1987, during the Marvelous career of Marvin Hagler. JFree then lived in Lowell, Mass during the best years of Irish Micky Ward’s illustrious career. A former member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and a Bernie Award Winner in the Category of Feature Story Under 1500 Words, Freeman Covers Boxing for the Sweet Science in New England.

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Fury vs. Usyk: Who Wins and Why? – The Official TSS Prediction Page

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The heavyweight division, it has been said, is the engine that drives the sport of boxing. By this measure, Saturday’s match in Saudi Arabia between Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk is the most important fight in decades.

Whenever a very big fight comes down the pike – assuming the odds are not too lopsided – we call upon our fine community of wordsmiths to get their thoughts. The participants in the poll are listed alphabetically.

Simply put size matters. Usyk has never fought anyone that weighed more than 225 pounds and given Fury’s recent history it seems safe to assume he should tip the scales north of 260. Eleven years ago, Fury fought another former cruiserweight champion in Steve Cunningham. Cunningham’s speed gave Fury problems early and Fury was even knocked down. But Fury used his size and weight to lean on Cunningham draining him of all his energy. Eventually a badly fatigued Cunningham was knocked out by Fury. I see something happening when Fury faces Usyk. Usyk has success early and maybe even scores a knockdown or two. But Fury leans on Usyk and uses that weight advantage to slowly wear down the smaller man. FURY TKO 10. – MATT ANDRZEJEWSKI

After a lackluster and controversial split decision win over Francis Ngannou, Fury looks fit as a fiddle and should handle the six-inch shorter Usyk by keeping his distance and landing more than enough big blows. In a fight filled with drama and excitement, it’s FURY by unanimous decision. – RICK ASSAD

Fury’s jab and straight right vs. Usyk’s straight left and right hook (think Cotto vs. Pacquiao), whichever two-punch combination is more effective will decide who controls the range and pace. I believe Usyk’s straight left along with his southpaw stance and movement will give Fury trouble, but Usyk doesn’t attack like other smaller heavyweights to the body (i.e. Tyson/Frazier). Like Lomachenko, he uses his footwork to get inside, which will give him enough moments to make a focused and in-shape Fury take it to another level. Fury also isn’t a big body puncher, but he will use his size to lean on Usyk after he lands clean shots to wear Usyk down and gain control of the fight. FURY by decision. – LUIS CORTES III

Oleksandr Usyk is a good little man but he’s in way over his head against a well-trained Tyson Fury who looks to be treating this fight with the respect it deserves. Usyk will puzzle Fury for a few rounds but once Tyson makes his adjustments, he will bring his superior size and power to bear on the smaller fighter, wearing him out to the body and grinding him down late. I pick FURY by TKO in the championship rounds. Usyk will be on his feet when the fight is stopped but nobody will be crying foul about it. – JEFFREY FREEMAN

FURY by stoppage late. He’ll be in condition this time (unlike the Ngannou debacle). And an in-shape Fury boxes well enough and is too big and strong for Usyk to deal with. – THOMAS HAUSER

There’s always a chance that a fight will be stopped on cuts. Of the two, the Gypsy King would seem to be more prone to this unfortunate happenstance. He overcame a terrible gash over his right eye to upend Swedish southpaw Otto Wallin and it was a cut over his right eye during a sparring session – a cut that reportedly required extensive stitching — that pushed back this fight from its originally scheduled date of Feb. 17. Since this fight has a rematch clause, the ring physician may feel less pressure to allow the fight to continue against his better judgment if it boils down to this. Regardless, USYK has lost fewer rounds as a pro and it’s easy to envision the Ukrainian banking enough rounds to stave off a late rally by Fury to cop the decision. – ARNE LANG

A lot of ink has been shed on the cut Tyson Fury suffered in sparring causing a postponement of this fight to this coming Saturday; it’s Tyson Fury’s elbows that interest me though. Fury fought in terrible pain in his third contest against Deontay Wilder in 2021, taking cortisone injections in both elbows prior to this fight. Wilder actually outjabbed Fury early and Fury threw three or fewer jabs in seven of the eleven rounds. Since, he has been inactive (only three fights since his late 2021 defeat of Wilder), unimpressive (especially against novice Francis Ngannou last year) and irrelevant (the world needed Chisora III like it needs more inflation). In short, this fight, which once seemed so clear cut to me, will now be decided by intangibles. Fury looks sleek, I’m interested to see his weight. Over 265lbs and he’s struggling to get the jab working and will be here to maul a fleet-footed Usyk. Under and he thinks his elbows are right and he will look to control the smaller man with his range.  Based on the videos team Fury have been releasing, I’ll go for Fury to dominate until his stamina starts to slide at which point, Usyk will take over – I think that will be late enough for Fury to get home with a decision win.  But nothing would surprise me now. – MATT McGRAIN

Since his high profile wins over Deontay Wilder, madhatter Tyson Fury has carried himself like a dilettante (admittedly, not the first time he has been guilty of that charge in his erratic career) and the effects showed last year against Francis Ngannou, a boxing newbie who nearly (and risibly) secured a place in prizefighting lore next to Buster Douglas. Fury will find his usual advantages—size, footwork, counter punching—negated by Oleksandr Usyk, who, despite being a converted cruiserweight, has proven he can not only outthink his opponents but outwork them as well. USYK via Split Decision – SEAN NAM

FURY uses size alone for a UD 12, with little drama barring a cut. Unless the distractions of Fury’s celebrity lifestyle have eroded his mauling focus (the wake-up call against Ngannou probably remedied that), I can’t see how Usyk can win this though he’s proved me wrong before. Fury’s mobility makes it very doubtful Usyk will be able to get in and out unscathed to score like he did against Joshua or Dubois, and even more unlikely he can outgun Fury toe to toe. Still, Usyk has perfected his southpaw style into a puzzle nobody has solved yet so Fury might have some early problems. — PHIL WOOLEVER

Editor’s Note: It’s a fair guess that Fury vs. Usyk will be the most heavily bet fight of all time, surpassing Mayweather-Pacquiao. As a rule, fights in the “pick-‘em” range attract the most action. At mid-week, although the action was tilting toward Fury, “11/10 and take your pick” was still readily available. In fact, at some houses, the action is so well-balanced that the operator reduced his vigorish (i.e., the house commission assuming balanced action), going from a 20-cent to a 10-cent line, confident that he could not lose.

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