By: Hans Themistode
Roy Jones Jr. has a tremendous amount of respect for Oleksandr Usyk. The former multiple division titlist has watched closely from the sidelines as Usyk dominated the cruiserweight division. Jones Jr. has also been an interested observer as Usyk made the trek to the land of the heavyweights.
Yet, no matter how much Jones Jr. reveres the Ukrainian, even he was taken aback by what took place last night.
In front of a jam-packed crowd at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, in the United Kingdom, Usyk caused a huge upset as he strolled into the backyard of Anthony Joshua and stripped him of his heavyweight titles.
Even with his astute boxing mind, Jones Jr. simply didn’t expect things to shake out the way they did. With Joshua holding a considerable height, reach, weight, and overall size advantage, Jones Jr. was fully expecting him to use all of his physical attributes on the night, especially early on.
That said, Joshua conceded much of the preceding rounds before ultimately losing a fairly wide decision. Even now, as several hours have gone by, Jones Jr. is still scratching his head as to why Joshua came out so passive.
“Joshua came out and gave Usyk respect right away,” said Jones Jr. during an interview with IFL TV. “He let Usyk basically control the center of the ring, so Usyk won the first three rounds. I was surprised.”
Usyk, a former 2012 Olympic gold medalist, broke Joshua down in the first six rounds before cruising to the finishing line. In the 12th and final round, in particular, Joshua appeared to be on his way out. The muscular former heavyweight titlist languished against the ropes as Usyk connected on several unanswered shots.
Immediately following his defeat, Joshua stepped up to the podium and announced that he would be invoking his rematch clause. Since his declaration, several boxers, including Josh Taylor, and Dillian Whyte – have admitted that they don’t like the chances of Joshua heading into part two.
For Jones Jr., he isn’t entirely ruling out a Joshua victory in the sequel. But while the all-timer could have gone into the Xs and Os and described the picture-perfect game plan for Joshua to use, he abstained from doing so. In the end, the bigger alteration that Joshua can make should come between the ears.
“There are a few adjustments he can make. A lot of it is mental, a little bit is boxing but it’s more mental than boxing. He’s just got to hang out with a killer. When I say a killer, I mean a killer in the boxing ring, not outside. He’s a very good guy and that’s fine. I was a very good guy but when I got in that boxing ring, I was a killer. He’s got to get that killer mentality.”
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