Tyson Fury Will Have To Be At His Best If He Is To Fend Off Oleksandr Usyk On May 18

Earlier this week, Fury declared at a news conference to promote the fight that he’s positioned to become the best heavyweight of his era by defeating Oleksandr Usyk, the unbeaten former undisputed cruiserweight champion from Ukraine.

That was the lead discussion point on Friday’s episode of ProBox TV’s “Deep Waters.”

“A focused Tyson Fury might be one of the most dangerous heavyweights in history. How often do we get a focused Tyson Fury, though?” asked former welterweight champion Paulie Malignaggi. “Are we going to get a focused Tyson Fury in his fight against Oleksandr Usyk?”

While reports from camp are that the 35-year-old Fury (34-0-1, 24 KOs) is in phenomenal shape, “Deep Waters” analyst and former 140-pound champion Chris Algieri said that dedication must transition into the ring against the superb Usyk (21-0, 14 KOs).

“Anything less than a 100 per cent focused Tyson Fury loses to Oleksandr Usyk,” Algieri said. “Usyk is basically the DJ Khaled of boxing – ‘All I do is win, win, win.’”

And with two victories over former heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua on his resume, Usyk, instead, is better positioned to seize the claim Fury seeks about generational greatness.

“Usyk might be the best cruiserweight since [Evander] Holyfield … that’s why we’re here,” Malignaggi said. “This fight is for supremacy of the generation.”

Fury has yet to fight Joshua, and Joshua (28-3, 25 KOs) trumped Fury by starching Ngannou by second-round knockout last month following a convincing December stoppage over Otto Wallin, who gave Fury fits in their bout.

“His performances lately have been sharp and destructive,” Algieri said. “If Usyk wins [May 18], I don’t think anyone cares to see the [third] Joshua fight, but if Tyson Fury wins, Joshua’s a whole different guy now. He’s like the Joshua of old, and I literally fancy him against almost anyone in the world. I could see him beating Tyson Fury.”

A Fury triumph over Usyk “sets up a mega, mega showdown [between Brits], and if the winner is Fury, then, yes, hands down, he’s the greatest heavyweight of our generation.”

That’s a serious pending back-to-back workload.

Usyk, a 2012 Olympic gold medalist, is “multi-layered,” Malignaggi said, but at age 37, there are questions about how well his gifted legs will allow him to maneuver when confronting the ominous size of Fury in what is effectively a 50-50 fight at the sports books.

“Usyk is a tactician, a strategist who creates beautiful angles [and] uses the fundamentals of being a southpaw, [skills] and Team Usyk [have said Fury] is susceptible to some of the tricks that southpaws do,” said Algieri.

For instance, look at the cut that Wallin caused on Fury, requiring 47 stitches to close.

“[Usyk] stays invisible by staying outside that lead foot, [fighting from] the weak side, he always wins the battle of positioning,” Algieri continued. “But he’s got to be on his Ps and Qs all night long. Twelve rounds is a very long time with a guy who’s going to have a functional weight advantage of 55-to-60 pounds. Tyson Fury is a massive human being and he knows how to use his size. He’s a big, athletic, slick guy who moves well, has a good jab and knows how to use that ‘dirty’ boxing on the inside. He’ll lean on you.”

That physicality is a major issue to watch.

“Is Usyk going to be able to use those legs for enough rounds to avoid the size advantage of Tyson Fury?” Algieri said. “[Fury] has a great gas tank and is very fluid.”

Yet … .

“Usyk’s never lost. There is no game plan to beat him,” Algieri said.

Solve that remarkably complex riddle, then beat countryman Joshua, and then Fury can proclaim anything he wants about his standing among the heavyweights and the sport itself.