Tony Bellew: I’m going to take Usyk apart
By Scott Gilfoid: With less than one month to go before he meets up with IBF/WBA/WBC/WBO unified cruiserweight champion Oleksandr Usyk (15-0, 11 KOs), Tony Bellew (30-2-1, 20 KOs) feels more confident than ever that he’s going to march into the Manchester Arena and defeat the Ukrainian talent on November 10 on Sky Box Office.
This is a fight that has the potential for a lot of angry boxing fans when/if it turns out to be a royal slaughter with Usyk exposing Bellew for what he is, a limited fighter with power an inflated resume, but not much in the way of boxing skills.
Usyk (15-0, 11 KOs) is expected to make easy work of Bellew. The only one that doesn’t see the fight as a mismatch is Bellew. He thinks he’s going to win based on his lack of fear. The theory Bellew has for why Usyk wins his fights is that his opponents go into the fights with him afraid. I’m not sure that I agree with Bellew’s crazy theory for why Usyk always wins, but whatever he wants to believe is fine.
Bellew, 35, isn’t considered to have much of any chance of pulling off the upset in the view of the oddsmakers and the boxing fans. Usyk vs. Bellew is largely viewed as a cashout fight for him to get a good payday before he hands up his gloves. Usyk, 31, is the best fighter at cruiserweight, and he’s decided to throw the outgoing Bellew a bone by letting him have a shot at all four of his titles before he vacates them and moves up to heavyweight in hopes of unseating IBF/WBA/WBO champion Anthony Joshua.
“I have 100 percent belief that I’m going to take him apart. Out of all the guys he’s faced, none of the other guys believed that,” Bellew said to skysports.com. ”They just don’t believe it, and I’m crazy enough to believe it.”
Honestly, I doubt that Bellew believes half of what he’s spouting about Usyk. He has to know that Usyk is going to knock him into the stratosphere on November 10. The only chance Bellew has of winning this fight if if he can get lucky and land one of his big left hooks. In case that the 2012 Olympic gold medalist Usyk gets near enough for Bellew to connect with one of his powerful left hooks he might be able to hit him with it and knock him out. It’s still highly doubtful that Bellew will be able to land his best shot before he’s embarrassed completely by the 2012 Olympic gold medalist.
A win for Bellew would make him the unified cruiserweight champion, and it would be an excellent way for him to bow out of the sport. Bellew says he’s retiring, but he could be lured back for the right fight. There’s no one other than Usyk at cruiserweight that Bellew wants to fight. Since Bellew isn’t interested in fighting WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder or Anthony Joshua, it would likely need to be someone from the light heavyweight division like Adonis Stevenson, Dmitry Bivol or Artur Beterbiev. It would be nice if Bellew showed some courage by taking on a heavyweight like Luis ‘King Kong’ Ortiz or Dillian Whyte. I don’t see that happening though. Bellew fooled a lot of boxing fans into believing him due to his two wins over and old, injured and ring rusty David Haye. It’s a different story for Bellew to try and beat a healthy heavyweight that is staying active like Ortiz or Whyte.
Bellew held the WBC cruiserweight title in 2016 after beating Illunga Makabu to win the vacant World Boxing Council title. Rather than stick around to defend the belt against Mairis Briedis, Bellew defended the belt against bottom dweller BJ Flores and then left the division to face David Haye twice. Bellew lost a year of his career in waiting around for Haye to heal up from his injuries after the first fight with him in March of 2017. It would have been wiser for Bellew to move on and take another fight while he waited for Haye to heal, but he stuck it out and sat on the shelf for 14 months before facing ‘The Haymaker’ in a rematch last May, which he won by a 5th round knockout. Bellew is now about to face the best opponent of his career in facing Usyk. It’s safe to say that Bellew doesn’t belong in the ring with Usyk, but that doesn’t matter. This fight is what you can call a busniess fight. In other words, it’s about money rather than sport. If Bellew was serious about wanting to fight against the best at cruiserweight, he would have been doing that since he moved up to the weight class in 2014. Bellew didn’t fight the best in the cruiserweight division. He took the soft road and fought these guys:
– Illunga Makabu
– Valery Brudov
– Nathan Cleverly
– Ivica Bacurin
– Julio Cesar Dos Santos
– BJ Flores
– Mateusz Masternak
– Arturs Kulikauskis
If you know anything about the cruiserweight ivision, you’ll know that those fighters are not the talented guys in the weight class. Those re the fringe and in some cases the 2nd tier level fighters. Bellew has been padding his record by taking the easy path in his fights at cruiserweight. He never fought the talented guys like Usyk, Yunier Dorticos, Briedis, Marco Huck, Murat Gassiev, Maxim Vlasov, Beibut Shumenov, Denis Lebedev and Krzystof Glowacki. It’s surprising that the boxing public didn’t call Bellew out for not fighting those guys when he was at cruiserweight, because it was so clear that he was dodging the talented fighters. As such, Bellew is finally going to be taking on a good cruiserweight after all these years when he faces Usyk on November 10, and the outcome is utterly predictable. Hopefully for the sake of the boxing public they don’t have huge expectations about the fight. As long as the fans realize this is just a retirement sendoff for Bellew in him getting a payday before he retires. As long as Bellew is competitive in losing, his loyal boxing fans will likely be happy. But if his fans are expecting him to win, they’re likely going to be disappointed.