By Sam Volz: Andre Ward believes that the size, skills, and dogged determination of Tyson Fury may prove to be too much for the smaller unified heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk in a fight between the two for the undisputed championship.
Ward is intrigued by this match-up because it pits two highly skilled champions that are vastly different in size. The 6’9″ Fury (32-0-1, 23 KOs) will enjoy a six-inch height advantage and possibly a 40+ lb weight advantage against the 6’3″, 221-lb Usyk.
That’s not to say that Usyk can’t win because Fury’s whole game is centered around fighters that stand in front of him to allow him to get his shots off and lean on them. Usyk isn’t going to be there for Fury to use his usual back of tricks on him that he’s done against so many of his other opponents.
“It turned out just like I thought it would turn out. Usyk had too much flavor and too much IQ for Anthony Joshua,” said Andre Ward to Max Kellerman on Boxing. “I was pleasantly surprised Anthony Joshua looked a little bit better.
“You could see him thinking in a good way. You saw him early in the fight, trying to stand his ground and be the bigger guy. I’m sure that’s what Robert Garcia, his new coach, and his new team were trying to implement and remind him of.
“You can’t box with a great boxer. You have to be the bigger man, and he tried to follow the script. You also saw him go to the body. Something you normally don’t see Anthony Joshua do very often.
“He also tried to make a stand in the ninth round that got Usyk’s attention. If Joshua was able to muster that kind of effort and that kind of mentality throughout the fight, he would have won.
“Just because he improved doesn’t mean he was winning and doesn’t mean he did enough to win. Usyk did what he had to do. He came in with a heavy heart and a lot on his shoulders with his country being at war.
“Not only wanting to represent his team, his family but his country on the biggest stage, and he did just that. Who wins? We’ve talked about this offline and talked about it on the air for many years that a good big man will always beat a good little man.
“I believe this will be the case in this situation,” said Ward in picking Tyson Fury to beat Usyk. You can’t write Usyk off by any stretch of the imagination, but Tyson Fury is not Anthony Joshua.
“Tyson Fury has an amateur pedigree. Tyson Fury is big and has got a range, and he knows how to use it. He’s not conflicted about his style. He’s not conflicted about the type of fighter he is.
“He knows he can box, but he’s also got that dog in him. We’ve seen him get off the canvas against a puncher like Deontay Wilder and get hit with some massive shots that take most men out.
“He found a way to get up, bite down on his gumshield and stick to the game plan and go get the win.
“I don’t think there will be any difference in this fight with Usyk, but it’s intriguing because of the skillset of both guys, the size differential between Usyk and Tyson Fury. Both guys want the fight.
“I get goosebumps when I see Usyk say, ‘I don’t want another fight. I want the dude that has the other belt,’ and Tyson Fury is the same exact way. That’s shades of the 90s and early 2000s to me,” said Ward.