Usyk: I have a feeling Tony Bellew is a bit arrogant
By Scott Gilfoid: Oleksandr Usyk says he didn’t see much when he stood for a face off with former WBC cruiserweight champion Tony Bellew other than an impression of him being arrogant last Saturday night at Wembley Stadium in London, England. Usyk says Bellew told him during the face off, “I’m here, super star.” ‘I said, ‘Okay, okay,’ per Boxing Social. “I have a feeling that Tony is a bit arrogant.”
Usyk came away from the brief meeting with the 35-year-old Bellew with the overall impression that the British fighter is arrogant, which isn’t surprising because that’s been the perception that many boxing fans have had about ‘The Bomber’ for many years. Bellew’s arrogance has led to him losing to the likes of Adonis Stevenson and Nathan Cleverly, which by far are the best fighters on his 11-year pro resume in terms of fighting prime fighters. Bellew beat David Haye twice, but he was an old and injured fighter by the time he fought him. Bellew didn’t fight a prime Haye obviously. If Bellew had fought a prime Haye, he likely would have been smashed to bits.
Usyk (15-0, 11 KOs) and Bellew 30-2-1, 20 KOs) were on hand to watch IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua’s fight against Alexander Povetkin. Bellew and Usyk stood for a face off to help promote their November 10 fight at the Manchester Arena in Manchester, England.
“I told him to his face, ‘I feel nothing. I’m not in fear of you. I don’t fee in awe of you, and on November the 10th, I’m going to punch you in the face as hard as I can,'” Bellew said to Fighthype about what he said to Usyk during their face off.
Bellew is going to be losing a lot of weight to get back down to cruiserweight, a weight class that he hasn’t fought at in two years since 2016. Andre Ward says he doesn’t like Bellew losing weight to go back down to cruiserweight. He thinks it’ll be hard for Bellew to take the weight off and fight the 31-year-old Usyk. I’m not sure if that will be the case. Bellew weighed in at 213 pounds for his recent rematch against David Haye last May. Usyk weighs more than that for his fights at cruiserweight after he rehydrates.
Of course he tried to get to me in that stare-down but if he thinks that is going to do anything to me, never mind get me worried, he is just a big fool,” Bellew said about Usyk to skysports.com. “He tried to intimidate but I am not scared of him, at all.”
It’s interesting that Bellew feels it necessary to demean Usyk by calling him a “big fool” just because he did what was required of him to take part in the face-off with him. Bellew must have seen something in Usyk’s stare down that angered because to call him a fool shows that he saw something that he didn’t like. Maybe Usyk didn’t cringe, shiver and scrape the ground by bowing the way that Bellew wanted him to do. It’s hard to know what precisely Bellew wanted from Usyk during the face off. He probably wanted Usyk to show fear so that he could feel better about himself. After all, Bellew is going to be a tremendous underdog on the night when he gets inside the ring with Usyk on November 10.
Bellew’s problem is he’s a totally unproven cruiserweight. Bellew arguably bailed from the division when he was supposed to face Mairis Briedis. Further, Bellew never fought any of these talents from the cruiserweight division: Yunier Dorticos, Murat Gassiev, Denis Lebedev, Krzystof Glowacki, Beibut Shumenov, Maxim Vlasov and Mike Perez. It sure would have been nice if Bellew had fought some of those guys if not all of them. I hate to say it but I don’t think Bellew would beat even half of those guys. Briedis, Glowacki, Dorticos and Gassiev would have likely beaten Bellew handily. Vlasov, Lebedev and Shumenov would have been tough outs for Bellew. Those would be 50-50 fights. It’s for that reason why Usyk vs. Bellew is perceived to be such horrible mismatch. Bellew is still unproven at cruiserweight because his best win in the weight class is against Illunga Makabu, a fighter would be bounced around the ring by the above mentioned fighters.
In looking at the stare-down, it appeared that Usyk was grinning at Bellew. It didn’t look like Usyk was trying to intimidate Bellew. It was more of case of Usyk trying to keep from laughing. He’s this way each time he has face offs with his opponents. Sometimes Usyk sings while facing off with his opponents. As far as I could tell, Usyk just looked like he was about to laugh. Bellew was saying stuff to him and he was agreeing with him to make him feel better. I guess Bellew felt it was important for him to talk trash, and Usyk wanted to make him feel better, so he agreed with him. It was obviously important for Bellew to talk trash so that he could feel that he was scaring Usyk. It might have worked for Bellew to trash talk his lesser opponents to put some fear in them, but I don’t think it’s going to work for him at all against a talent like Usyk. He’s mentally strong and is above being cowed by the trash talking from Bellew.
This is Bellew’s big chance to try and beat the best fighter in the cruiserweight division in Usyk, who will have his IBF, WBA, WBC and WBO titles on the line for the fight. Bellew has never fought a fighter that was considered to be the best in the division, although some boxing fans would argue that Adonis Stevenson was the best fighter at 175 at the time Tony fought him in 2013. In Usyk’s case, he’s estbalished himself as the best fighter at cruiserweght without any doubt with his recent capture of the World Boxing Super Series tournament in beating Murat Gassiev and Mairis Briedis to unify the division. Briedis is the fighter that Bellew arguably ducked in 2016 when he chose to flee from the cruiserweight division when the World Boxing Council was going to order him to face.