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Malignaggi doubts Anthony Joshua will stop Kevin Johnson

By Scott Gilfoid: Matchroom Sport promoter Eddie Hearn is hoping his heavyweight fighter Anthony Joshua (12-0, 12 KOs) keeps his knockout streak going on Saturday night in his fight against 35-year-old journeyman Kevin Johnson (29-6-1, 14 KOs), but that may not happen.

Johnson is a wily veteran and he knows how to deflect punches, and stay alive in the ring against fighters whose main focus is to try and get a KO. Joshua, 6’6” has a disadvantage in that he doesn’t throw body punches, and that would seem to be his only real chance of stopping a fighter with defensive skills like Johnson.

Sky commentator Paulie Malignaggi is doubtful that the 25-year-old Joshua will get a stoppage in this fight because he sees Johnson going into a sparring partner mode once he realizes he has no chance of winning. In other words, Johnson will become totally defensive and not give Joshua opportunities to land a lot of punches.

“Joshua hasn’t gone a lot of rounds, but he’s in with a guy that specializes in making you go a lot of rounds,” Malignaggi said to IFL TV. “Once Johnson gets to the point where he knows he can’t win, he’ll just go into the sparring partner mode. He’ll be defensive. It’ll still be a very good experience for Anthony Joshua. It’ll be very difficult [to try and get a KO]. Johnson knows his way around the ring.”

If Joshua spends too much time just trying to get a knockout instead of focusing on his boxing skills, he could very well gas out in this fight or fade enough to look sloppy. With all the muscles he’s packed onto his 6’6” frame in the last two years, we could see Joshua get very tired.

Joshua hasn’t gone past the 3rd round in any of his fights as of yet. If Johnson is able to force Joshua to go the full 10 rounds, we could see Joshua look like a very different fighter. Even if Johnson fights at a slow pace, Joshua may end up looking bad in this fight with him getting tired, and not having the snap on his punches.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Joshua needs to lose muscle weight. He’s become way too muscular in a short period of time, and his punching power has not improved with the additional muscle he’s put on. He seems to be adding muscle to look good rather than for the beneficial effects.

I think Joshua was a far better fighter when he weighed 220 in the Olympics just three years ago compared to the 245 pound fighter we see now. Joshua has put on 25 pounds of muscle in just three years, and he’s clearly slower than he was in the Olympics, but without any additional punching power. He needs to get a clue and lost that weight.

Unfortunately I don’t see that happening. I think Joshua is going to continue to put on muscle and eventually will be weighing in the 270+ region. By that point, I think he’s going to be very, very slow and easy to hit. The thing is when you put on a lot of muscle, it changes you when you lose that weight. That’s why it’s important not to put on useless muscle in the first place.

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