A new story from SI Boxing with Chris Mannix


And to your point real quick Gareth like we do have to give Helenius some credit for being dangerous because in the minds of many people especially in the US Robert Helenius is the guy that Deontay Wilder starts to one round. We have forgotten that look he took out Adam Kavnowski twice when Kavnowski was still undefeated and still considered a heavyweight contender. So there was still some meat on the bone of Robert Helenius even at 39 years old. Yeah, and even on six days notice because he didn't need 14 to 15th century Schloss in Finland a castle. He's probably fighting, you know as an entertainment event. I can't remember the guy's name Mika someone or other but it wasn't it was it wasn't a white-collar event, but it was an entertainment event, you know, it wasn't a true kind of high-level boxing match, but he didn't have time to overthink it. He definitely came with Fitness. He looked fantastic by the way, he wasn't flabby. He's a great guy. Isn't he Helenius anyway? Yeah, I'm sure you've had time with him. I really like the guy. Took 10 minutes to say yes to the fight all week. He kept his cool. He is an old dog as I say knows his way around the ring. He took the center of the ring. Well in the in the early rounds Joshua's a notoriously slow starter. Now, he's got a good rangefinder Helenius and he's got a very powerful right hand that you've got to respect as you say what he also did and he told me about this and Boxers always have their reasons and it is a game of chess at heavyweight level because these guys can change the course of a fight with a jab if they have to. He'd been sparring loads. He said with John Tae Wilder in all their spars. They both just came forward and he thought what I'm going to have to do against Wilder is come forward and put it on him first push the bully the blueprint that Tyson Fury set in the second fight with Wilder you put Wilder. I don't think while there's a bully I think he's a wonderful person but when he fights he has a very menacing presence and a bullying style because you know, he's got equalizers in both hands and he said I was trying to push Deontay back and he said after the fight and he played possum Wilder didn't he and he said after the fight Malik Scott and Deontay told him they've been practicing a counter left hook off the back foot for two years. Yeah, so styles make fights and the style in that fight was very come forward. He didn't come forward hard against Joshua. He met him in the middle. I didn't like you say he he deserves credit as well. But what I found concerning was Joshua not riding at all with colonious punches and punches and countering when he did come forward Joshua's moving backwards that half step backwards that Manny Stewart the late great Manny Stewart who I'm sure we both loved it was wonderful to be around who would give you an hour when you wanted five minutes. I went to his hand wrap class one day in London. No wonderful man. Wonderful man. He taught Klitschko just take one step back whenever anyone was advancing on him and Klitschko look what he did after his catastrophes early in the career that last phase. He was absolutely extraordinary till he met Tyson Fury. Here's what I think this is a style or you'll probably come to this but I think it's an evolution with Joshua rather than the rebuilding at the moment an evolution of a guy who can no longer be gung-ho because he knows what happens when he marches for it's like the experience of age. So it comes to all of us. We pick our battles. Don't we we pick our battles with our partners our wives our children our bosses our employers people in the street you pick your battles, you know, and I think he knows that he's taking more risks if he exchanges with other fighters. So it's a safety first measure and that's how I see him at the moment evolving into that. He's probably not got more than three fights left in my view. I agree and those three fights are significant and those three fights are dangerous and the first could potentially be a fight against Deontay Wilder Eddie Hearn has been teasing for weeks now months even the possibility now likelihood that Saudi Arabia comes through with the right offer to make Deontay Wilder against Anthony Joshua. They're talking about January at the moment. Let's say that fight does materialize the Anthony Joshua that you see right now. How do you assess that matchup with Joshua against Wilder this version of both men? Well, I don't think he's going to get very far with the same game plan the same strategy. Yeah, the same ideology that he and Derek James are creating that he had against Jermaine Franklin and Helenius against Deontay Wilder because Wilder if you put Helenius in his position Helenius did land some punches. I said at the time straight after the fight. I didn't think Joshua would ship too much punishment. He took a few punches out to us when you look at it afterwards that that left eye was at the left eye and the bloody nose he had you know, not look at Helenius after that fifth round thought Helenius had his best round in the fifth and after that fifth round he went back to the corner. He was hollering. He came out of the ring out of the corner after the fifth round hands held high in the air like Helenius was feeling pretty good about himself. He had a quote recently to somebody in his home country about like saying I thought I had the fight in control through six rounds. Well, I dispute that but I did think he had a pretty fair amount of success through five rounds the kind of success that if it's Deontay Wilder instead of Robert Helenius that's going to be trouble for this version of Anthony Joshua. Yeah, much fitter Helenius who'd had a he'd had an eight-week camp for Joshua. I think his fitness. Well, his explanation was afterwards was my fitness started to go and you could tell he sometimes carries the look of a worried Viking. I mean he was as he said at the beginning and I told me for talk sport on the Wednesday or the Thursday. I'm embracing Valhalla here. I'm giving it all the Nordic nightmare and he his fitness probably did tell but he had to be very focused against Joshua. The trouble is we talked from a standpoint with Joshua of I think someone we always want more from weirdly there's stellar eyes and his Olympic super heavyweight gold and his wrecking ball plundering style that was there that we want that back. It's a bit like you'll recognize this great fighters. We've followed on extraordinary nights when we can't sleep afterwards for a couple of days because the adrenaline is still around us. Never mind them those great fighters. We wait for one more great fight before the end, you know, and you just hope Joshua's got two more great fights in him and those two great fights are Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury and obviously Deontay Wilder's people are saying the same. We want two great fights in you or maybe three we want for Wilder. We want a great fight against Joshua a great fight against you sick a great fight maybe against Joe Joyce or Jilly Zhang and maybe a great fourth fight with Tyson Fury and that's that is conceivable for Deontay Wilder, by the way. He's got he's been knocked down four times now by Fury and got up every time till he was neither stopped or nailed didn't want that towel coming in. Was it seventh round in the second fight? He didn't want that towel coming in. He didn't want to get stuck. He didn't stop till he was nailed. Was it the 11th round in the third fight 11th round down and out from that right now Fury Fury was down to that's one of the I'm sorry. I know people accuse me of being very pro Fury. I'm very pro Wilder. I'm very pro Joshua. I'm pro all of them. That's one of the greatest heavyweight fights I've ever seen like I agree. I agree drama theater everything. So to come back to the main point. I make I make Wilder a very big favorite against Joshua based on what we've seen in the last two fights. I would to while I will hit you. Yeah, I would to that that straight right hand for Wilder. You could see AJ. I think AJ would be even more cautious against Deontay Wilder, you know, I thought you shouldn't be no, I don't think you know, I agree. I think you got to push him back. I didn't get to do exactly what Tyson Fury was doing but in doing that you've got to be willing to eat some shots and that's what Fury did. I mean Fury went down repeatedly in the first three fights, but he got back up and he wound up finishing those fights place the last but he didn't in the second fight. He didn't even allow Wilder right first fight and third fight. Yeah different fighters different styles, but Fury is very evasive as well. We forget how how evasive he can be and how he ties people up. Joshua doesn't tie people up in the same way. No, it's a very dangerous fight for him. But the the the the truckload of gold at the end of it if he can pull it off is extraordinary. You can't sit here as I said with Eddie Hearn earlier today, but Eddie's convinced he's his guy. They're very good mates. They've grown through the sport together. It's when you close your eyes and watch the silhouettes moving. I'd love Anthony Joshua to win because I'd love to see a triumphant Joshua then fight Tyson Fury which for us Brits would make the biggest richest British or British clash of all time. But when I close my eyes Chris which I often do with the silhouettes. I see that right hand come crashing through all that or that jab coming through putting it over Joshua's eyes shielding him and that big right hand coming through the gloves in the middle or even a left hook. Yeah, I agree and look we talked about Wilder if somehow AJ got through Wilder. I would give him very little chance against Fury. I think Fury would just look I just think look you've got to if you're going to beat Fury. You've got to engage with him. I don't think you can you can't win a boxing match against a pound-for-pound guy like Tyson Fury. You can't he's going to box circles around you've got to engage with them and make it more of a fight and based on what I've seen Gareth over the last four years. I don't know if Anthony Joshua has that fight in him anymore. I don't care what what who trains him. I just think mentally he's just not there where he's going to you know, drop his hands like he did against Dillion White and throw and get up off the canvas and engage with Vladimir Klitschko and knock him out. I just don't think that guy's there anymore. And I feel like I'm saying the same things after each and every one of Anthony Joshua's most recent fights the you sick fights the Franklin fight and now this fight he's technically changing a little bit because of who is working with him, but ultimately if he's not willing to throw three four five six punch combinations that put him in danger. He's going to have a really hard time winning at these highest of levels. I completely agree. And as I said, you can't give him no chance against Fury. But again, I make Fury a massive favorite in the fight with Joshua as well. If I had to pick around I think you know, I think in I think Deontay Wilder probably gets through within seven even if Joshua's having a good fight unless he can put it on him. And I think the same with Fury if not, maybe fewer rounds if Fury wants to fight that way, you know and wants to put it on him. The thing is with Joshua if he does hit you hard, you're probably going to go as well. You're probably going to go but it's that combination as you rightly say, you know, if he can get on the inside throat because he's got a hellacious uppercut as well as me but like you say it's you know, the most fascinating stories. I wrote on him last week leading into leading into it were how do you not overthink a new opponent in six days and also where is his mindset right now and I must have spoken to you know, we like to do pieces that are about voices. I must have spoken to 10 voices on him inside and outside his team. I don't agree with Tony Bellew and David Haye that he should take another fight before Wilder. It's just longing it out. I do think as well if if he gets a decent, if he beats Wilder of course, there's a massive Fury fight there Eddie Hearn believes even if he loses to Wilder 60 million dollars is the reported fee by the way, come on just take it. Yeah, you know, I mean, it's a great show. Everyone wants to see the fight because they want to see if Joshua can do it. Eddie reckons the Fury fight is still there for Joshua even if he loses to Wilder. So in a sense, he has nothing to lose other than a more blemished record. He's he's going to struggle to be come the number one of this era. He needs a trilogy fight with you sick. He needs to beat Fury and he needs to beat Wilder if he does that by the way, and even if he fights those two guys, he hasn't fought he will have fought all the other guys in the era and the other ones won't have I honestly think I mean, I disagree with Eddie on that one. I think if he loses to Wilder the Fury fights a wrap. I just don't I don't see how you market that if you've had lost twice to sick and you've lost to Deontay Wilder and your only wins are coming against mid-level guys like Jermaine Franklin and Robert Olenius. I don't see how you sell a fight like that to any public much less the British public. Yeah, and if Fury loses to you sick and you have two losers which you see maybe yeah, you can be a rematch. Yeah, maybe like that. He'll forget about the video game you gave him on his birthday.

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