Usyk/Joshua…A Rematch of Alternate Endings…..


It is late in a London pub this Saturday night. The sound is deafening. As a non boxing enthusiast walks by, they wonder why the noise is louder than usual…….

At that same exact moment, 1,600 miles away in an undisclosed oblast, the boisterous output of countless Ukrainian soldiers shakes the very soil they are protecting……….

The rematch between Oleksandr Usyk 19-0 (13), and Anthony Joshua, 24-2 (22) this Saturday night in Saudi Arabia will provide the conclusion to the opening herein. 

The rematch is the tale of two stories, or alternate endings, as you will. The curtain rises……

Act 1-First Ending…..USYK, The Champion…..

Usyk is a modern day Picaso, painting on the canvas of the squared circle fight after fight.  In his first fight with Joshua, Usyk performed a masterclass taking the title from the former champion. 

A former top cruiserweight champion, now wreaking havoc in the heavies, he is on a similar career path reminiscent of a legend from Atlanta. 

Back in February, this rematch was the last thing on the champion’s mind as his beloved homeland of Ukraine was senselessly invaded. The overused idiom, “fighting for something larger than yourself” can unapologetically be inserted here as Usyk left boxing to fight for his country. At the urgence of his fellow soldiers, he left to pursue the rematch with Joshua. 

As long as Usyk doesn’t get careless, which he has never shown to be, this fight will be one-sided. Usyk will be even more dominant this time around. He knows the power Joshua possesses, and he has the edge of having bested him the first time around. In fact, Usyk was close to putting Joshua in serious trouble late in the first fight, last September. 

What we know….Usyk possesses the blueprint to beat Joshua. Working from his southpaw stance, a stance that Joshua admittedly admires and credits for giving him difficulty, Usyk circles, works in and out, and lands power when the opportunity presents itself. That said, it is the active jab of Usyk that is the core of the blueprint. 

In the first fight, it was Usyk’s jab that caused Joshua to reset, over and over. The southpaw’s  jab confused Joshua, and he fought cautiously, not knowing when the left power shot would come. In fact, this caused Joshua to correctly keep his right glove sealed tightly to his face, keeping himself out of harm’s way. This is textbook; however, Joshua was so cautious, he negated his own advantage, the power of his right hand.  Joshua was trapped in the tangled web that is the genius of the Ukrainian. 

Usyk needs only to follow his game plan from last September, and improve upon it. Use his speed, which was a factor against the heavy muscled lumbering approach of Joshua, and mix in the sneaky power left like he did initially in Round 3 and then throughout the fight. The jarring effect of Usyk’s power left caused Joshua to rethink everything, and arguably had him doubting his own gameplan. 

Joshua has been almost embarrassingly complementary regarding Usyk’s southpaw style. I’m unsure if he believes he can be successful. Usyk can use this to his advantage and possibly switch stances, confusing Joshua and providing an opportunity for a huge opening.  

In the lead up to this rematch, Joshua’s energy is off, not in a physical sense, but in a mental one. His body language is off and he appears to visibly show signs that he has doubt he can actually win. Usyk’s job is half done, the other half is the easy part for a painter.   


Act 2-Alternate Ending…..Joshua The Challenger…..

Anthony Joshua, are you all in? Have we already begun to see the decline? The oddity of the first fight with Andy Ruiz goes without saying. Even in the rematch, although one-sided, was not overly convincing in a stylistic sense, and more of a case of a lesser Ruiz, than an improved Joshua. 

Flash-forward to the first fight with Usyk, and it is clear, something is amiss. Sure he KO’d Kubrat Pulev in between; however Pulev is a tailored made-flat footed opponent who was fighting on a 13 month layoff. 

Combine all of this with the aforementioned vitality zap, and Saturday night may be the longest of his career yet, unless he focuses on the basics.

In the first fight, Joshua’s body attack was non-existent, his jab was sloppy and non committal, and his inability to fully commit to his power provided a recipe to relinquish his belts.    

If Usyk had any vulnerability in the first fight, it was his inability to fight off his back foot. If you look close enough, you can see that Joshua’s angles and movement were giving Usyk a bit of confusion. When Joshua moved Usyk back even with a lazy jab, Usyk looked uncomfortable, and he had to reset, stopping all of his beautiful movement. The problem is, Joshua could not sustain it, and he allowed Usyk to dictate the terms. Further, Joshua did not cut off the ring, and  allowed Usyk to control the space. 

If Joshua is to be successful in the rematch, he needs to fight tall, and commit to the jab, which carries a four inch reach advantage. Use the stick as a weapon, not just as a range finder. Be a big heavy against a blown up cruiser. Back Usyk up, and use combinations to set up the advantage. Work the body, and impose his will. 

That said, he must have success early and often. Heavily muscled fighters fatigue quickly. Evander Holyfield was the rare exception. Usyk appears bigger in the rematch than he was the first go; however, where Joshua’s size is more akin to a bodybuilder, Usyk’s size is more about endurance strength with speed. 

If Joshua fights tall, works behind the jab, and stays disciplined he can keep the superior boxer at bay. This will force Usyk to fight off of his back foot and not allow him to impose his will like he did in the first fight. 

Go back to the basics. Under the wise guidance of Robert Garcia this time around, Joshua may just be all in……


We may get a heavyweight version of Hagler v. Hearns at some point in this one, but only for a minute or so. I believe both bigs will try and make an early statement. Due to his speed, Usyk will get the better of it and will work under Joshua’s long reach, negating his power. Joshua will smartly understand that this tactic will not work, even though he is the bigger man. As such, each blueprint will have to be executed. 

There is a lot to like about Joshua’s chances after rewatching the tape and seeing that it is only the most basic components of the sweet science that he needs to execute to have success. That said, the physical piece is only half. You must have a mindset that knows no defeat. Usyk has that, Joshua has not shown that he does. 

Joshua will have more success and make things interesting; however, Usyk is just too good at this point in his career. He gets better with every fight and will be even better in the rematch. Joshua’s improved limited success will be his downfall. He will provide openings for the champion and will begin to take a beating. As the fight carries on past the middle rounds, and the heavily muscled Joshua begins to get arm weary, the speed of Usyk will become power and Joshua will find himself in trouble. His heart will say fight but his mindset will enter down that dark lonely land known as doubt. 

Joshua will show a warrior’s heart, but the referee has a job to do. Usyk’s combination punching with bad intentions are too much. 

Usyk TKO 8

As a loud patron leaves the London pub, the non boxing enthusiast  inquires of the uproar….the patron says..”Joshua was knocked out”. 

At that same exact moment, 1,600 miles away in an undisclosed oblast, the Ukrainian soldiers celebrate with pride as one of their own defends the world heavyweight championship…AND STILL!!!…….for these soldiers, and all of the Ukraine, all is right, if only for a moment…..

Curtain Closes

Deontay Wilder vs. Luis Ortiz International Media Conference Call Transcript & Audio Recording

Deontay Wilder vs. Luis Ortiz International Media Conference Call Transcript & Audio Recording
Click HERE for MP3
Lou DiBella         
Thanks for joining us, everybody for the call for SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING tripleheader presented by Premier Boxing Champions featuring the heavyweight championship of the world pitting Deontay Wilder vs. Luis Ortiz at Barclay Center in Brooklyn, New York Saturday night March 3, 2018.
Tickets are on sale for the live event and available at Ticketmaster, Barclays Center box office or  It’s been a great start to the year already for SHOWTIME Boxing.  It’s been a great start of the year for Stephen Espinoza who was recently promoted deservingly to President of sports and events programming for SHOWTIME Networks.
Stephen’s been instrumental in Deontay Wilder having a home at SHOWTIME and was instrumental in creating this tremendous tripleheader for the fans on March 3rd so it’s my pleasure to introduce Stephen Espinoza.
Stephen Espinoza    
Thanks very much, Lou, and as good as a main event this is and we’re very excited about it, the other two fights that are on the card are high-quality fights as well.
These are three fights which could have been a main event in their own right. Andre Dirrell and José Uzcategui, this is a rematch of a really good fight that was a little bit overshadowed by the controversial unfortunate event that happened afterward.  The fight itself was a Fight of the Year candidate.
Jermall Charlo and Hugo Centeno are two young guys in the primes of their career with only one loss between them, an interim title fight as well, and then the big one, Wilder vs. Ortiz.  When we announced our first half of the year schedule, which was a loaded schedule with 11 different events and 13 world title fights, I think this fight Wilder vs. Ortiz was really the marquee matchup.  Not just because of the heavyweights but because it’s such a well-matched fight. 
Deontay is making his seventh and arguably his most-difficult defense of his WBC heavyweight title.  It is the closest betting odds for a Wilder fight since he won the title in January of 2015, and deservedly so. Luis Ortiz is probably the division’s most-avoided fighter, a great power-puncher, a lefty, very skilled boxer and a matchup of two of the four top heavyweights in the world.
In fact, in March we will be featuring all four of the top four heavyweights in the world and all four of the major world titles: Wilder/Ortiz on March 3, bookended later by Joshua vs. Parker on March 31. 
Between those two fights we will be featuring all four of the best heavyweights in the world, all four world championships and a combined record among those four fighters of 111 wins, 0 losses, 100 knockouts. 
Between the two of these guys in our main event by itself, we have 67 total fights with 62 of those ending in knockout.  We have a thrilling schedule for the first half of the year, a great slate of two heavyweight title fights, and I think the marquee matchup of the first half of the year, the fight everyone’s looking forward to, Wilder vs. Ortiz. 
L. DiBella            
Thank you so much, Stephen Espinoza really has put together an incredible slate.  It’s already been announced and it’s unprecedented to have this type of schedule out there this far in advance with fans getting a consistent product like this.
Not to belabor a point but I read a comment on my Twitter feed from a fan saying that this fight card would be pay-per-view worthy.  Well, I guess that that’s a compliment but I think it’s a bigger compliment to the people at SHOWTIME that this is a live tripleheader on premium cable.
This is an opportunity for people to subscribe to the best premium cable network for boxing out there if they don’t do so already and to get a card featuring a a highly competitive terrific heavyweight title matchup with two other great fights.
So we’re going to move on to the fighters now but this really is a special night of boxing on March 3.  Everyone who can get to Brooklyn should be at Barclays Center for it but if not, you have the opportunity to see this on SHOWTIME.
Luis “King Kong” Ortiz, 28 and 0, 24 KOs from out of Miami, Florida now by way of Camaguey, Cuba.  He won numerous titles, every Latin-related title you can win on his way up the world rankings.  He was 343 and 19 as an amateur, 343 and 19.  That makes him one of the greatest amateur heavyweight fighters in the history of boxing.
He’s a big guy, he’s a left-hander, he’s a power-punching left-hander and through the goodness and the desire of the heavyweight champion of the world Deontay Wilder to prove himself to be the best, Luis Ortiz – “King Kong” Ortiz – will get a chance on March 3rd to change the lives not only of his family but of his grandkids and generations to come, an opportunity to dethrone the heavyweight champion if he can do it.
It’s another opportunity after some other possible opportunities that fell through, he’s getting this chance yet again so he’s coming into this fight with these stellar credentials with all the stability and with nothing to lose.  His manager Jay Jimenez will do the translating for him – but believe me I’m sure that King Kong has a lot to say, Luis “King Kong” Ortiz.  Jay?
Luis Ortiz
As far as the preparation, I’m ready to go.  We’re ready to go this week if we have to.  As far as for the fight and for Wilder, I have no comments for him. 
L. DiBella            
All right, well then I’ll then turn to the heavyweight champion of the world.  When he knocked-out Bermane Stiverne in their rematch on November 4th, it allows him to now say that he’s knocked-out every man he’s faced as a professional. 
This is a step toward proving that he’s the best and a step toward eventual unification of the heavyweight titles if he can get past his toughest test to date so Deontay, would you like to say a couple of words?
Deontay Wilder
Good evening, everyone.  Hope everybody’s having a wonderful day and a beautiful day as beautiful as mine.  I just had a scrumptious meal with some sweet tea, I’m feeling good.  I’m fixing to get ready to go spar and get this past week over and March 3 I’m coming to whip Luis Ortiz’ ass but I’m excited for this fight.  I am so excited for this fight.
I’m glad that it’s finally here, one more week, next weekend, all the talking, all the anticipation for this fight, all the hype, all of that’s fixing to come into play next week and I’m looking forward to it.  I’m looking forward to being in one of my biggest, one of my toughest fights to date and we’re going to see what happens.
I’m feeling great, camp has been going great.  This is what I’ve been waiting on to prove to the world what I’ve been saying all along, that I am the best heavyweight champion in this era. I am the best heavyweight champion, period, and I’m willing to prove that not only to Luis Ortiz but to the world. 
I think Luis Ortiz is a great fighter and I think this is the biggest fight that could be made at this point in time in boxing. He’s been waiting a very long time and here I come, Luiz Ortiz called me his angel because I came along, I took him under my wings, I’ve blessed him not only once but twice and I can’t keep saying that enough.
I want people to get it in their mind that I could have ran from this fight.  I could have chosen any opponent that I wanted to to fight on March the 3, especially when all the other stuff went about, I could have easily gone somewhere else but no, I’m adamant about what I say, I’m confident about what I’m going to do and I’m ready to prove it to the world. So I got the perfect opponent, it’s the perfect time, it’s the perfect place. 
Somebody’s ‘0’, got to go and you all already know what I come to do.  I talk my talk to walk my walk.  It’s going to be up to Luis Ortiz to prove me wrong.  He’s got an opportunity to be the first Cuban heavyweight champion of the world.  It sounds good but he got a big task in front of him.  He dealing with a monster.  He dealing with a guy with a killer instinct. 
He dealing with a guy that ain’t afraid of not one human being on Earth, especially when you get in that jungle and I am the king of the jungle.  I am the lion of the jungle.  He’s never faced nobody with the pedigree with the killer instinct that I have inside of me.  He’s never faced a guy that wanted to knock his head off so clean off his shoulders. 
He never been in there with a guy that won’t back down, won’t budge.  I can’t wait.  I hope he’s sleeping good, too.  I hope you’re getting all your minerals, your protein and you’re taking your medicine faithfully because March the 3rd it’s going to be a real fight.  I’d like to welcome you to the real sport of boxing.
How hard is it for you to think and to focus so hard on this fight knowing that you’ve had three other fights to my count that have fallen-out because of bad drug tests. Do you allow yourself to think of that as a possibility?
D. Wilder            
Yes, that could happen, that’s a possibility, we always say, once a cheat, always a cheat and that will always carry with him but that’s going to be up to Luis Ortiz.  I think Luis Ortiz is a smart guy and I think he’s going to do the right thing up to this point.
If he doesn’t, like I said, it’ll be shame on him to put people through so much pain and it’s ridiculous that we have to be talking about this still at this point in time with drugs and cheating and stuff but I think he’s going to do the right thing and so with that being said, I’m not worried about it.
I have confidence in him that he’s going to turn-up clean and he’s going to give a great performance on the night of that fight and we’re all going to be winners at the end of the night.
How hard is it to have the birth of a child take place so close to the fight?
D. Wilder            
Well, boxing comes first.  This is my life.  This is my career that we’re talking about.  This is how I can afford to feed my family so nothing come above this so when coming into that involvement, I made it perfectly clear that boxing was first and boxing was last.  Now we have some in the middle that we can fill but then we can do so.
They were very cooperative of what I requested and what I wanted to happen and they fulfilled their obligations with me and I did so with them. My focus is solid on Luis Ortiz.  I don’t want people to mistake me doing reality show for not caring about this fight.
When Deontay Wilder’s mind is set on something, when he’s focused, nothing is going to stop me.
Deontay how do you prepare for fights mentally and how do you think that helps or hurts you?
D. Wilder            
I think boxing for me is 90% mental during the duress or even 96 percent. it’s a majority mental for me more than physical. That’s why I’m able to speak and say what I’m going to do and actually deliver that because I believe in myself, I believe what I say, I believe in what I say I’m going to do.
I don’t play around.  That’s the thing about it and it all comes from my mental standpoint, my mental game, mentally, emotionally, physically I am ready for this fight. 
Like I said, I fought this fight 100 times and the thing about it – about this fight – out of the 100 times I done fought this fight, most days were similar but the only thing that was different out of the 100 times I done fought this fight, the ending it ended in different ways, different knockouts because I will knock him out.
It ain’t going to be a matter of time.  A win is going to be a matter of time or when it lands and the fashion I do it in so mental plays a big part in what I do.  That’s why I’m able to boldly speak how I speak because a lot of guys they aren’t confident in themselves. 
They won’t dare speak how I speak, they won’t dare to do it because they don’t know what the outcome’s going to be on that night of that fight but with me, I know what it’s going to be because it’s up to me. 
It’s not up to the crowd, it’s not up to my trainers, it’s not up to nobody but myself in that ring and we all know what when Deontay Wilder get under those lights, those cameras, I perform my best.  I’m an entertainer so I can’t wait.
Luis how do you feel when people say they want to see Joshua vs. Wilder?
L. Ortiz
I have no feelings there, that fight isn’t going to happen.  That fight is not going to happen.
Everybody that talks as much as Deontay loses.  Brandon Rios just the other day was talking and talking and talking and talking against Danny Garcia and look what happened. None of this talk bothers me.  He can talk all he wants.  Deontay is trying to convince himself. 
Deontay you said that it feels like I’m better off not being in this sport as being in it, I don’t understand it when it comes to all the failed drug tests your opponents have had in the past couple of fights.  Do you still feel that way?
D. Wilder
So sometimes I still feel that way, but also I have to face reality as well too that these guys are going to do it.  They’re going to do it and these organization makes it worse because they allow them to do it because they bring them back in without suffering any really no type of consequences behind their actions.
Makes you wonder what they doing when they taking these PEDs. Everybody wants to come-up, I understand. 
Everybody want to feed their family; I understand but how can you say you a man when you take PEDs? When you cheat, when you try to do things to give you that advantage to try to get on top of the game, it doesn’t work that way. 
So many champions have done it as well. We don’t know how many times these guys do it we just know the number of times that they got caught. The intention is to do it without getting caught. We try to be as smart as we can not to get caught and that’s a problem.
It’s like I can’t even be a man, I couldn’t even be a man and sit up here and allow nobody to put something in my mouth or stick needles in my arm or in my ass or wherever it goes. I couldn’t be a man and say that and I win a title and something and say I did it because no, you didn’t.  You didn’t do nothing.
You cheated and that’s bottom line.  It’s a touchy subject because I’ve been a clean fighter all my life.  I never even thought about even taking no drugs or put in my body to make my body do something that it’s not normally supposed to do.  I’m a clean fighter.  I’m a fair fighter.  I bring what I bring and I give you results.
I say what I’m going to do and I deliver.  I give you results.  I’m very confident of what I say no matter what nobody may feel or what they may say. No.  I don’t have to deal with none of that because it’s already there.  I’ve showed you 39 times, 39 knockouts. 
This is about to be my 40th fight with 39 KOs.  Yes, we may have an amateur background but that’s amateur.  This is the pros and in the pros I’m more experienced.  I’m a knockout artist.  That’s what I come to do and that’s what I will do.  I promise you that.  Promise.  Promise.  I promise.
First question for Luis, is Deontay the toughest fighter that you’ve faced and do you have a prediction for this fight?
L. Ortiz
Absolutely not. It’s going to be a hell of a fight and somebody’s going to hit the canvas.  While he keeps hyping himself and hyping himself and trying to believe in himself, it’s going to be a bad night for him.  He’s talking about PEDs.  I’ve taken seven tests in a month and a week, seven blood and urine tests for VADA and the New York Commission. 
Bryant Jennings was the toughest fight Luis ever had.
D. Wilder
Oh lord, you can say that now because you ain’t faced me.
L. Ortiz
Well, you’re in for a hell of a problem March 3.
Deontay how have you improved since that Szpilka fight and are there any tactics you plan on using differently when facing a southpaw this time around?
D. Wilder            
No, my camp has been great. I’ve had a lot of great sparring partners.  I’ve even had sparring partners that have whipped his sparring partners, so that explains a lot.  It’s going to be a great fight.
Szpilka was a very awkward fighter, just like myself so when you get two awkward fighters in there, it turns-out to be like that. I adapt to every fighter.  I feel every fighter out.  No matter how long it takes, I’ll figure you out.
Szpilka was a very awkward fighter, just as myself so when you get two awkward fighters in there, it turns-out to be like that.  I feel every fighter out.  No matter how long it takes, I’ll figure you out.
It’s a 12-round fight.  People got to understand, people want me to be so perfect.  They want me to win all the rounds, they want me to look good doing it and they want the knockout.  They expect so much of me but it’s okay, because I always deliver what I say I’m going to do.
That’s the thing about me, I’m a man of my word and I have a lot of credit for being a man of my word worldwide, not just the belief part isn’t it?  So with this southpaw, I can’t wait.  He’s not as awkward as you think, there’s a lot of things that he does wrong, there’s a lot of mistakes that he’s making in the ring and it’s due to his long amateur experience.
That’s going to be a bad thing for him when you’re coming in the professional rankings so the fight is going to be good as it lasts and I can’t wait.  They never had nobody in front of them that won’t just knock his head off like I want to do.  They never had a guy in there so vicious, so mean as me, and it’s so real.
There’s nothing that I have to pretend to be. I am who I am.  I am the king.
What do you think of Ortiz’ level of opposition to this point?
D. Wilder
I’ll let you be the judge of that. Ortiz has never faced nobody with my caliber.  Ortiz ain’t never faced nobody with the intensity, with the mindset that I have or with the natural killer instinct that I have. 
All that shit goes out the window when you get in the ring with a real one.  I don’t care about all that.  That ain’t nothing. 
There is nothing that man’s going to do to touch me where he’s going to hurt me.  I’m going to walk through all that.  I’m telling you.  That’s nothing.  I’ve seen his style many, many, many times. I’ve fought it coming-up in the amateurs.  I’ve got a lot of Cuban friends.  I know their style.  Trust me.  And I can’t wait.  That’s why I do my talking.  I talk my talk so I can walk my walk.
Anybody else on the outside of the ring can’t talk the talk because they’re not going to be able to walk that green mile.  His trainers, his promoters, his people around him are not going to be able to walk the green mile.  Luis Ortiz is going to be the only person that’s going to be able to have to suffer the consequences and the more they talk, the more punishment that comes on him. 
Everything intensifies my anticipation of knocking his head off.  Keep talking.
L. DiBella            
Well guys, Deontay’s going to go do some talking in the ring.  He’s got to go spar right now.  Jay Jimenez thank you and Luis Ortiz for being on the call.  Jay, Luis is going to get an opportunity to do all his talking on March 3rd. Thanks everybody for joining us.  Thank you Jay, thank you Deontay.