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Last Updated Aug 16, 2022, 7:56 AM

Mora backs Usyk over AJ

Ahead of the much-anticipated heavyweight bout between Anthony Joshua and Oleksandr Usyk, Vegas Insider sat down with former WBC light middleweight champion Sergio Mora.

‘The Latin Snake’ shared his thoughts on what AJ could learn from his defeat in their first fight and what the Brit has done to prepare for the champion from Ukraine. 

Mora explained how AJ could win the blockbuster fight, but also why he thinks Usyk will win on Saturday. Lastly, he gave his two cents on whether or not we will see Tyson Fury suit up for a fight against the winner. 

Sergio Mora: Anthony Joshua was clueless in the first fight. I don’t know if Robert Garcia can bring out the right mentality in AJ 

“A lot of people in the business will tell you that it's going to be hard for Joshua to make the adjustments to beat a master boxer like Usyk.“

“We saw in the first fight that Joshua was clueless. He didn't really know whether to be an aggressor,  whether to cut off the ring or whether to fight like a big man. He was just lost in there and it showed. He almost got stopped in that fight the later it got. It was just discouragement. You saw flashes of that Andy Ruiz fight towards the end.”

“He brought in a new trainer in Robert Garcia. He has a new mentality; that killer dog mentality and he's going to need it. He's going to need it because this isn't going to be a physical fight it's going to be mental warfare and Anthony Joshua has suffered in that department.  I don't know if Robert Garcia is going to be able to bring out that animalistic mentality or whether Joshua has it but we know that Usyk definitely has it.  He has it everywhere. A brilliant boxer.“

Sergio Mora: AJ is not as athletically gifted as Usyk. He can’t try to outbox him 

“He needs to fight Usyk, he can't try to outbox Usyk.“

“Usyk is a cruiserweight coming up to heavyweight. He's a southpaw. He's a gold

Medalist. He's everything that Joshua was. Joshua was a gold medalist. He's (Joshua) a physical fighter. He's a power puncher. He's not gifted athletically like Usyk is.”

“That's exactly what Joshua's gonna need to do. Be someone that he's never been. Fight athletically, fight with speed and have that dog mentality in the later rounds when the power is not gonna be enough. Speed, game plan and toughness is what AJ is gonna need for 12 rounds because he's not going to knock out Usyk.”

“This is going to go the entire distance. It's going to be 36 minutes of fighting.“

Sergio Mora: Usyk will discourage opponents by boxing the hell out of them 

“(To win, Oleksandr Usyk should) Be himself, as cliche as it sounds.”

“Usyk is a heavyweight version of Vasiliy Lomanchenko. These are two pound-for-pound greats.“

“They're Ukrainian rock stars and it's unbelievable what they do with their feet. Their hands are the second most beautiful thing to watch. It's their mentality and their feet. They're just strategists. They're master chess players in there and they just discourage opponents by boxing the hell out of them.” 

“Beating them from angles, not letting them catch up, not letting them get in the fight and a fighter beats himself. They're just brilliant, they've been doing it from the amateurs all the way to the pros and they've been able to make that transition perfectly and that's very difficult to do.”

Sergio Mora: Boxing shoots itself in the foot all the time 

“You can't put it in the same category as 20 or 30 years ago.“

“Boxing seems to shoot itself in the foot every time we have something huge coming up.” 

“Everyone was salivating; I mean everybody in the world would have stopped for an Anthony Joshua - Tyson Fury fight. Undefeated both of them.” 

“(They) were on top of the world but Deontay Wilder decided to exercise his rematch clause as he should have, but he ‘belt blocked’ the biggest fight in boxing, and we never got it. We never got to see an undisputed, undefeated champion and two of the biggest boxers in the world.” 

“Boxing just continues to disappoint on that level. The promoters can't get themselves out of the way the networks can't seem to you know play friendly with each other, and then finally the boxers don't step up and say ‘I want this fight next, I'm taking this fight next, I'm not giving the fans what they want.’” 

“They refuse to do that, so it's just not in the place that it was 20-30-40 years ago.”

Sergio Mora: Oleksandr Usyk has the most tools in the toolbox. I’ll always go with the boxer and not the puncher 

“I would still stick with Usyk. Anytime I have a brilliant boxer and a brilliant puncher, I'm always gonna side with the boxer. They have more tools in the toolbox."

"When the puncher just has a hammer, the boxer has a hammer, a measuring tape, he has a screwdriver. He has a lot more tools. So I'm always going to go with the boxer. I'll take Usyk.”

Sergio Mora: Usyk could be able to close the show in the 10th-11th round

“That one is where the money's gonna be. I believe the aggression that Joshua's gonna have to implement to win this fight is gonna play into Usyk's hands.

"So I actually like Usyk by stoppage. We saw glimpses of that towards the end of that fight (last year’s fight).” 

“I think this time around Usyk might be able to close the show. It's gonna be around that 10th-11th round but I think he'll be able to do it.”

Sergio Mora: If Usyk wins Tyson Fury will stay retired, but he’ll come out of retirement to fight Joshua 

“If it's Usyk I would think Tyson Fury would do the smart thing and retire. Because you don't need that headache. You don't need his style, that southpaw style, you just don't need it. So retire with all the money in the world unblemished, undefeated on top of the heavyweight championship rankings and go off into the sunset. I think if Usyk wins Tyson Fury retires, if Joshua wins, I think we’ll see more of Fury.”

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Photo by Joel Muniz

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