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MAGNO'S BULGING MAIL SACK: USYK-FURY, TANK DAVIS

By Paul Magno | May 23, 2024
MAGNO'S BULGING MAIL SACK: USYK-FURY, TANK DAVIS

Every Thursday here at FightHype, we make a space among the video content for a good, old-fashioned written word money shot from the depths of my bulbous, bulging sack. So, get ready for some of that infamous Magno-rific gooey, salty, sometimes NSFW truth. This week, we have comments/questions regarding Usyk-Fury and Tank Davis.

Usyk-Fury: More Thoughts

Fury caught up to Fury. The poor boxing work ethic that Fury has exhibited over the course of his career came back to haunt him.

Long layoffs and taking opponents lightly finally took a toll on the Gypsy King. We've seen Fury take long layoffs, come into bouts undisciplined and still get the victory. Then go into his next fight and dominate his opponent. I was sadly fooled into believing that Fury could get floored by an MMA fighter while going the distance. Then turn around 6 months later and beat a skilled technician. At the age 37 he can no longer be a part time boxer.

His work ethic caught up to him and his old chin let him down once again. But he was unable to recuperate this time. The man who rose from the canvas against Wilder and fought his way to a decisive decision against Ngannou is no longer in existence and in order for him to become a champion again he's going to have to take the sport seriously year round.

Is Usyk historically good or is he just the prime beneficiary of a crap shoot Heavyweight division?  First undisputed since Lennox Lewis is a great accomplishment. Where does this rank amongst Heavyweight achievements?

The fight in itself didn't feel like a heavyweight undisputed championship bout. I don't know if it was the crowd in Saudi Arabia or if it was the style of the two fighters. To be honest I wasn't impressed with anything about that bout. If that's the best that the Heavyweight division has the offer, I'll stick to watching the little guys between 135-168.

– Na'-il Rahman

Hey Na'-il.

Don’t let the boxing media hear you call Usyk-Fury anything but an all-time classic! Some probably still have to change their boxers several times a day from “wetting” themselves with emotion. For me, it was an entertaining fight, but I think it only becomes a next-level event when you’ve invested so heavily into the Usyk mythos. Usyk is good, and skilled, but he’s not a “great” in the all-time sense. Sorry. And there’s no way to measure him as a great in this present tense where his greatest wins will have come via generally close decisions over a foggy-minded and stylistically mismatched, in-his-doldrums, Anthony Joshua and a wildly inconsistent Tyson Fury. Again, sorry to the Usyk spit bucket guzzlers who will now surely jam my inbox with angry messages, but I don’t put on a cheerleader skirt for anyone.

What Usyk is very good at, though, is being single-minded in his focus and doggedly determined in doing what he’s set out to do. That’s a huge advantage against someone who is not so doggedly determined or focused-- like Fury and Joshua-- but it could actually be a disadvantage against someone with actual focus and some creative on-the-fly improvisational skills (although, to be fair, who?).

Usyk was actually struggling with the loosey-goosey Fury from the third round through the first half of the eighth. You could see that major weakness in Usyk’s game. But Fury couldn’t keep that focus and didn’t have the inner resources to keep Usyk working at a disadvantage. And a lot of that has to do with the first point in your email.

Fury has half-assed his way throughout much of his career and it may have caught up with him. The competitive fire is not something you can just turn off and then turn on whenever you like. I was thinking that Fury would beat Usyk, even if he was “three-quarters assed.” But, looking back, maybe I should’ve known that Usyk is not that type of fighter that will let you get away with coasting and picking spots.

Fury has shown that he could best Usyk over long chunks of a fight. Can he get himself into the shape-- mentally and physically-- to do that over the course of an entire fight? Who knows? I wouldn’t bet on it.

Usyk: An ATG?

With that performance on Saturday, do we have no other choice but to name Oleksandr Usyk a heavyweight all-time great?

– S. Tali

Hey S.

Short answer? No.

Longer answer: When it comes to Usyk as an all-time heavyweight great, I made my case above. There’s just no way you can proclaim him an ATG in this present tense. You could probably argue ATG status at cruiserweight, though. At heavyweight, his body of work just isn’t there-- and that may have more to do with available opposition than his ability. But we’ll never know. I just don’t get the mad dash to declare fighters all-time greats, touching off discourse over questions that could never be answered. It should be enough to say that Usyk is the undisputed heavyweight champ right now.

Usyk vs. The Greats

Hi Magno

I wasn't expecting to enjoy the Fury v Usyk fight, mainly because I thought Fury would hit and hold, and like yourself I don't really think Usyk is his best at heavyweight, his punches don't have that crispness that they did at cruiser, and he doesn't move as well. but I absolutely loved the fight. I felt it was a fight told in four parts. I hadUsyk winning early, then Fury, then Usyk, then even. I had the scoring different to yours. I had: U, U, EVEN, F, F, F, F, U, U (10-8), U, U, U (although I think there's an argument this could have been an even round), F. So, even if I'd have judged the 11th as even, I would have Usyk winning by 2 points. great fight though and to me there were no losers here. I'm not going to get into the arguing of scores with you because you know your boxing and we just saw things a bit differently.

What I wanted to talk about was this idea that I don't really see Usyk as a heavyweight or at least I don't in this modern era of super heavyweights. Fury weighed in 40 lbs heavier than usyk. and he's not an outlier. There are lots of very big heavyweights around who come in at 250+ like Joshua for example.

So I looked up the weights of Frazier and Ali for their first fight and found out that Ali at 6 3" came in at 224lbs (so same as Usyk) while Frazier came in at 215. I then went to the Frazier v Foreman fight and saw that Foreman came in at 224, as did Frazier.

1. If Usyk were fighting those guys in that era, what weight would he come in at? Personally I think it would be quite a bit lighter than 224. considering he moved so much better at cruiser, I would suspect somewhere around 215.

2. How would he stack up, at his ideal weight, against those guys? I'm not saying that out of disrespect to the 3 ATG fighters of the 60s -- Frazier is my favorite heavyweight of all time -- I just wonder how you think he'd do against each of them individually, where he might have success, and where he might have failures.


Thank you again for all your hard work.

Omar from London

Hey Omar.

I think, any way you tallied it, the fight should’ve been close— because it was.

As for your questions:

1. It’s hard to compare eras, especially considering how much of an actual science strength, conditioning, and supplementation have become in this modern era. Honestly, I suspect that Usyk may have been a light heavyweight if he were fighting 60 years ago. And, in the political world of that time, he may have never fought pro at all.

2. I hate addressing era vs. era fantasy fights. You’ll never get at a real answer of any sorts. There are just so many variables and factors that are era-exclusive. But assuming we built a time machine and Usyk competed in the era of a prime Ali, Frazier, and Foreman? I think he would struggle mightily with a mobile, improvisational, and internally tough Ali. He would also struggle against Frazier, who had that fierce one-punch power and mental toughness. Usyk would probably do the best against Foreman, who was slower and less fluid. 

Tank’s Time

Hey Magno.

Canelo had his day, Inoue had his day, Usyk had his day. Now it’s Tank Davis time! June 15 vs. Frank Martin. Who you got? How? And will this earn Tank the p4p respect he deserves?

– Johnny Ray

Hey Johnny.

Tank will be too much for Martin, who is a very good technical boxer, but hasn’t really shown the fire or firepower of an elite-level presence. Whether Davis wins by decision or knockout depends on Martin’s chin, which we really haven’t seen tested like Tank can test it. But we already know that, no matter what happens, he won’t get the media love that guys like Inoue, Canelo, or Usyk got. There are many reasons for that and I’m tired of running through them over and over. Needless to say, Tank Davis just doesn’t profile as someone media will respect without being absolutely forced to. And, to be honest, Davis’ resume thus far isn’t really forcing the issue. His body of work isn’t as terrible as many pretend it is, but there also aren’t a lot of legacy fights on his ledger to shut the critics down. On the basis of skill, ability, and entertainment value, he’s as good as anyone and better than most everyone (maybe better than them all), but he needs to showcase all of that against bigger, more eye-catching names. To be honest, though, most of his critics will remain critics no matter what.

Got a question (or hate mail) for Magno’s Bulging Mail Sack? The best of the best gets included in the weekly mailbag segment right here at FightHype. Send your stuff here: paulmagno@theboxingtribune.com.

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