During a recent news conference to announce the third fight between Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder, Fury said he was “going to run [Wilder] over, like I’m an 18-wheeler and he’s a human being.” Fury also said he expected to be much bigger than the 273 pounds he was when he defeated Wilder by seventh-round TKO in February 2020.
“Before I only had five or six weeks of practicing what I was going to do to him; this time I’ve had 18 months of practicing what I’m gonna do to him,” said Fury. “… I’m building my weight up, I’m trying to get up to 300 pounds for this fight, yeah, because I’m looking for a big knockout straight away.”
Will Fury follow up on his promise and get to the 300 mark? Is that an advantage for him, or will it slow him down?
And talking about weight, should we take Eddie Hearn’s recent comments about Canelo Alvarez’s intentions to return to light heavyweight to chase more world titles seriously, as long as he can successfully clear out super middleweight and become undisputed at 168?
Former undisputed lightweight champion Vasiliy Lomachenko seems to have cleared a path back to Teofimo Lopez and a chance to regain his three world titles. Heading into that fight in a healthier state, could Lomachenko win the rematch against Teofimo Lopez if the fight is made?
Finally, while Jermell Charlo is looking to unify all four junior middleweight belts on June 17, he’s not the only fighter in the family with a world title. Is he the better boxer between the twin Charlo brothers?
Boxing analyst and former two-division world champion Timothy Bradley Jr., as well as boxing writers Mike Coppinger, Ben Baby and Salvador Rodriguez, dig into the biggest questions of the moment in boxing in an effort to separate what’s real from what’s not.
Canelo Alvarez will unify the 175-pound division, after unifying the 168-pound division
Rodriguez: Real. If Alvarez is able to collect all the super middleweight titles as he has planned, I think there’s a good chance of him going up to 175 pounds, where he would have the toughest challenges of his career.
Even though Alvarez had said that he would stay at super middleweight, it seems that the challenges that attract him the most are at light heavyweight — a division in which he would have much stronger challenges, but also greater rewards.
I don’t think it will be easy, but Alvarez and his trainer, Eddy Reynoso, feel confident Alvarez can unify all the belts at 175 pounds.
He will surely have certain disadvantages against bigger guys at 175, but I do believe that matches up very well with both Artur Beterbiev, the WBC and IBF belt holder, and Dmitry Bivol, the WBA titlist — the two most recognized champions in the division. And if Alvarez can take their power, he will add to his boxing legacy.
Jermell Charlo is better than Jermall Charlo
Coppinger: Not real, at least not until Jermell fights Brian Castano for all four belts on July 17. That’s when we’ll have a better idea of just who the better fighting twin is. There have been ebbs and flows when it comes to public opinion in the Jermell vs. Jermall debate.
When the Charlo twins were on the way up, Jermall wasn’t even signed to a promoter. It was Jermell who was promoted by Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions, and through Jermell’s convincing, Jermall was placed on the undercards as an afterthought.
But with each crushing knockout, it became apparent that Jermall was the real deal. Soon, through his impressive title run at 154 pounds that included a fifth-round KO of Julian Williams, Jermall came to be widely considered the superior Charlo.
A title run at 160 pounds that included a comfortable decision win over Sergiy Derevyanchenko in September only strengthened that notion. “Big Charlo” is an impressive blend of brute strength and power tied together with one of the best jabs in boxing.
But Jermell has certainly been on a tear at 154 pounds, with a first-round KO of Erickson Lubin that has only looked better as time has gone on, along with a knockout of Jeison Rosario and a KO of Tony Harrison to avenge his only pro defeat.
Now there’s a stronger argument for Jermell as the better Charlo, and more people subscribing to the notion — particularly in light of Jermall’s tougher-than-expected win over Juan Macias Montiel last month. Jermall won virtually every round over the fringe contender, but was hurt late in the fight and seemed to gas.
If Jermell can turn back Castano’s challenge in impressive fashion, in perhaps his toughest test yet, he’ll surely separate himself from Jermall, at least for now. Castano proved in his draw with Erislandy Lara that he can compete on the elite level, and the hard-charging Argentine is only a slight underdog.
The twins are intensely competitive — Jermell even more so, as the smaller Charlo — and he would surely love nothing more than to finally gain that recognition. With a convincing win, he’ll crack my pound-for-pound top 10, and yes, that’ll mean Jermell leapfrogging his brother Jermall, too.
Manny Pacquiao will retire after the Errol Spence fight, win or lose
Coppinger: Real. Manny Pacquiao is apparently already beginning his Presidential campaign ahead of next May’s election in the Philippines by publicly sparring with President Rodrigo Duterte, criticizing his soft stance on China.
A high-stakes in-ring showdown with Errol Spence Jr. on Aug. 21 is the perfect boost to Pacquiao’s run in a country where he’s a rock star, A-list actor and borderline divine figure wrapped up in one. Since he became a Senator in 2016 — and before that, a member of the House of Representatives in 2010 — Pacquiao has had to plan training camps and fights around his busy political schedule. If he wins the Presidential election, he’ll surely have no more time for fighting.
At 42 years old, he also has nothing left to prove in boxing. It’s a surprise to most that he’s even taking on such a tough challenge in Spence, one of the five best pound-for-pound fighters in the world and a large 147-pounder in his prime at 31. In a rare instance, Pacquiao is the underdog. If he can spring the upset, there’s no higher note to leave the sport on.
Pac-man won his first title at 108 pounds and years later shattered Antonio Margarito’s orbital in a 154-pound title tilt. Along the way, Pacquiao’s fight with Floyd Mayweather was the biggest commercial success in boxing history.
A win over Spence would strengthen Pacquiao’s already incredible legacy and perhaps push him past Mayweather on the all-time list. He’s already surely one of the 25 best fighters ever.
A loss to Spence leaves nothing to be ashamed of. A victory and he’s upset the odds once more. Aug. 21 is the perfect swan song — one final Vegas mega fight for the living legend — and Pacquiao knows it.
Bob Arum and Teofimo Lopez Sr. both state their desire to negotiate a rematch between Vasiliy Lomachenko and Teofimo Lopez Jr. later in 2021.
A healthy Vasiliy Lomachenko will defeat Teofimo Lopez in their rematch
Baby: Not real. Initially, the natural inclination was to lean in favor of Loma after an impressive TKO win over Masayoshi Nakatani last weekend. But the former lightweight champion showed signs of a similar issue to what sidelined him against Lopez — he didn’t throw enough punches early.
Some term these early stretches as Loma’s “information loading phase,” which has proven to be successful for the bulk of his career. However, against Lopez, the limited punch output led to Lomachenko losing rounds early in their fight, which ultimately played a major role in the loss.
The way Loma beat Nakatani isn’t the way to beat Lopez. If Lomachenko wants to get his belts back, he must become the aggressor, let his hands go and try to win rounds early. The similarities in the early rounds of the Lopez and Natakani bouts indicate injury wasn’t the issue in his title defeat to Lopez — it was the game plan.
Lomachenko doesn’t need to look like he did against Nakatani. He just needs to be the same guy he was in the second half of the Lopez fight from the opening bell.
Tyson Fury will be 300 pounds for his trilogy fight with Deontay Wilder
Bradley: Real. I believe Fury will try as hard as he can to reach 300 pounds before weigh-in time. But he needs muscle weight more than fat, so if he’s going to accomplish that, he needs to start building that muscle as soon as possible.
It would benefit him most to build it from the waist down as well. Building too much muscle up top would only slow him down and hinder some of his strongest skills. With the style of fight expected from Fury, gaining weight wouldn’t be a bad idea as long as it’s done correctly.
When he deploys his offense, Fury’s punches will hurt more with the added weight — and the moment he leans on Wilder on the inside, it’ll have an immediate effect there as well.