Bernard Hopkins predicts Joshua KOs Fury late
By Sean Jones: Bernard ‘The Executioner’ Hopkins is picking Anthony Joshua to stop Tyson Fury late when they face each other in 2021. The two heavyweights have already agreed to the money for their two-fight deal next year, and all they’ve got to do now is win their preliminary fights to get to their much-anticipated unification.
Hopkins likes the athleticism and the ring IQ that Joshua possesses, and he views that as the key to victory over the 6’9″ Fury. Bernard sees Joshua having difficulties early on against Tyson, and maybe hits the deck once. But when Joshua gets back up, he’ll dominate from that point on.
Fury and Joshua have two fights each they need to win
WBC champion Fury (30-0-1, 21 KOs) needs to take care of Deontay Wilder on December 19, and Joshua (23-1, 21 KOs) is defending against his IBF mandatory Kubrat Pulev in November.
The way that AJ and Fury seem to be dialed into facing each other, it gives one the impression that they’re going to dodge their mandatory commitments in early next year.
Fury and Joshua will still need to defend against their mandatory challengers Dillian Whyte and Oleksandr Usyk, in the first half of 2021. They can get out of those fights if they vacate the IBF and WBC titles, but they’re not expected to do that.
They can pay Whyte and Usyk a step aside fee to get them out of the way, but Fury will likely resist doing that. Although Fury does want to fight Joshua straightaway next year, he’s not eager to give away money to Whyte to have him sit and wait for a fight against him.
Joshua has the advantages over Fury in these categories:
AJ will be tough on the inside for Fury
Joshua’s inside game and punching power is going to be a considerable problem for Fury, who now fancies himself as a slugger. If Fury knocks out Deontay Wilder by using his size to walk him down, the win could go to his head, making him think he can do the same to Joshua.
If Fury tries to walk Joshua down in the same way he’s done with Wilder, he could be asking for trouble. Fury will run into a right hand, and be counting stars on the canvas.
What Fury, 31, has worked for him is 6’9″ size, defense, and unorthodox fighting style. Fury is someone that will be very hard for Joshua to prepare for, and he’s going to have to make adjustments.
“Joshua vs Fury is a fight that both guys could win or lose,” said Hopkins to skysports.com. “I like Joshua to be tested, to get his feelings hurt early – that might be a knock-down but he will get up.
“Because of the lesson that he learned being, not unprepared, but overconfident he paid a big price. He redeemed himself. Now that is in his memory – what not to do ever again – Joshua beats Fury by knockout late.”
Unless Fury goes back to his spoiling style of fighting, he’s going to be barking up the wrong tree against Joshua. If Fury comes out slugging early, AJ will take advantage of that by landing his right hands and left hooks to the head.
Tyson will need a good plan-B
Fury is going to need to have an excellent plan-B to utilize if he starts getting dropped repeatedly by Joshua. Against Wilder, Fury got lucky with the referee giving him a count in the 12th, and that may not work for him against Joshua. When you get as hurt as Fury was in the Wilder fight, the referee has to look out for him.
“It will be an interesting, exciting five or six rounds at the beginning. Then Joshua’s athleticism, boxing IQ and experience would overwhelm Fury,” said Hopkins.
Fury’s success against Wilder may feed into his ego, making him think he can recycle the same game plan for the Joshua fight. What worked for Fury against Wilder may be an utter failure against Joshua.
With Joshua’s power, he could get Fury out of there earlier than the sixth round, especially if he bum rushes him early on as he did with Wilder.
Joshua is better technically sound than Deontay, and he’s less likely to have trouble with Fury’s aggressive slugging style if he chooses to fight like that against him.
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