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David Haye: ‘Usyk doesn’t have the punch power’

Aleksandr Usyk Derek Chisora

By Jeff Aronow: David Haye says Oleksandr Usyk lacks the punch power to become a heavyweight champion, and he says he’s made a “HORRENDOUS mistake” in choosing to fight Dereck Chisora in his next contest on May 23.

Haye and Evander Holyfield are two examples of former cruiserweight world champions that were able to make the transition to heavyweight thanks to their punching power and find success in that division

With Usyk (17-0, 13 KOs), Haye doesn’t see the power there for him to succeed as he and Holyfield did, and he’s not just saying that because he manages Chisora (32-9, 23 KOs). Haye doesn’t see the power in the 6’3″, 215 lb southpaw Usyk that will enable him to take his career to the next level at heavyweight.

A lot of fans think that the 33-year-old former 2012 Olympic gold medalist Usyk’s main motive in moving up to heavyweight is money. He can make more money in the heavyweight division as he did at cruiserweight, he doesn’t have to fight a talented fighter to make the big money.

The World Boxing Organization immediately installed Usyk as the mandatory to WBO heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua even before he made his pro debut last October against old and out of shape 38-year-old Chazz Witherspoon.

Usyk lacks the punch power at heavyweight

“As a professional, he’s done as much as you possibly can do, but that fight against the heavyweight champion, the big guy. Can the small guy beat the big guy? I don’t think Usyk has the punch power to become the heavyweight champion,” said Haye to secondsout. “Myself and Evander Holyfield, the only people to do it, and both of us can crack.

“He punched like a heavyweight. The only reason I had success at heavyweight is because I punch so hard. When you fight a big guy, you have to punch the big guy hard to get that respect, because if you don’t, he’ll use his superior size and strength to grind you down. Dereck Chisora knows he can’t have a boxing match against Usyk.

“He hasn’t shown me in the ring as an amateur or at heavyweight that he can hit a big man that weighs 250 lbs hard enough for them to stop moving forward,” said Haye on the power of Usyk. “You need enough power to get the respect of a big man. Has Usyk done anything punch power-wise up to this point?” said Haye.

The Usyk that we saw that fought Witherspoon would have no chance of beating Joshua or WBC champion Tyson Fury. Those guys are too big. Usyk’s best chance of winning a world title at heavyweight was when the badly flawed Deontay Wilder held the WBC belt. But now that he’s been dethroned by Fury, there aren’t any weak links at heavyweight for Usyk to take advantage of to win an easy belt.

Haye NOT impressed with Usyk

“Even his only heavyweight fight against Chazz Witherspoon,” said Haye about Usyk. “In that fight, did he hit him with something so significant that he didn’t keep moving forward? No. I wasn’t that impressed. I know it was his first fight and was getting used to the weight. If there was ever a time to jump all over Usyk is at this stage of his career.

“You don’t want him to have three or four more fights as a heavyweight to fill into the weight. I think Chisora is at his best at 36. I boxed him when he was 28. Mentally, he wasn’t a professional fighter. He didn’t take training seriously, he didn’t live the life, and he wasn’t sacrificing. He wasn’t doing what he needed to be done to get the best out of him. Now he is,” Haye said of Chisora.

Haye isn’t the only one that wasn’t impressed with Usyk’s performance against Witherspoon. Really, no one was because he looked pedestrian the entire fight. Although Usyk did stop Witherspoon in the 7th round, it wasn’t based on his power. He wore Witherspoon down with his activity and tired him out. Witherspoon isn’t a puncher, so he couldn’t keep Usyk off of him the way a good heavyweight would.

Usyk made HORRENDOUS error picking Chisora

“He may be older and with more miles on the clock, but he’s significantly more effective now as a contender than he’s ever been,” Haye said of Chisora. “He could get outboxed through most of the fight, but all he needs is one round with leather landing. The combination that he landed against Szpilka.

“They’re [Usyk and Szpilka] are similar sized. Szpilka is probably bigger than him. Szpilka has gone down to cruiserweight now. So that’s how hard he [Chisora] hits. I think Usyk has made a horrendous error in picking Chisora. They could have picked anybody, but they picked Chisora as their opponent. I think they got it way wrong,” said Haye.

Usyk had to fight at least one good contender for him to be taken seriously by boxing fans, and Chisora made the not sense. He gets a good payday out of the fight, and he can show the British boxing fans that he deserves the Joshua fight.

When Usyk does fight for a world title eventually, his chances of success are minimal. Moreover, it’s going to be hard enough for Usyk to beat Chisora, let alone someone like Fury or Joshua.

Some boxing fans remarked that Chisora was showing maturity, but it looks like he didn’t want to scare him. With the coronavirus, it would be risky for Chisora to get crazy during the press conference by getting too close to Usyk. Unless he knows for sure that Usyk has been tested and is clean, it’s better for Chisora to keep his distance.

Chisora: I didn’t want to scare Usyk

“First of all, I didn’t want to do too much and scare him out of the fight, because right now I’m giving him the A-side and taking the B-side, so I didn’t want to do too much. I didn’t want to scare him,” said Chisora to Sky Sports Boxing about him not wanting to intimidate Usyk during their kickoff news conference.

“I’m just happy he’s here. Getting the party rolling, getting the show rolling. My mentality for this fight is I want to take what’s his and make mine. So I want to go in his house and take it by force, and that’s what I’m going to do. Throw everything. If he knocks me out, he knocks me out. I want to be knocked out by him, and then I’ll be happy.

“You can only be the best in your era because there will be no one out there that can challenge. It’s good that he won the gold. He’s a good guy. He can dance. I know exactly how he’s going to be dancing around the ring. So I’m going to need a good ref and somebody that is going to let me work inside. I’m going to knock him out. My whole point is to knock his lights out,” said Chisora.

It was surprising that Chisora didn’t try and intimidate Usyk by slapping him in the face, kissing him, shoving or putting his head against his during their face-off.  Chisora has done some crazy things over the years during his news conferences, and it seemed strange for him not to be using those tactics on Usyk.

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