The youngest heavyweight champion of all time offered his prediction for how the forthcoming heavyweight unification bout between Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury will play out.
“You know I f---ing love Joshua, but I think Fury is too elusive,” Mike Tyson told Haute Living in an Instagram Live chat on Tuesday.
“Joshua is not going to hit him. We're keeping it honest right? I like Joshua a lot. He don't punch. Maybe he punches harder than Deontay Wilder, but he doesn't punch faster than Wilder. If he doesn't punch faster than Wilder, he's not going to f---ing touch this guy. That's just what I see. If Tyson Fury can get away from Wilder's fast punches, Joshua might be in trouble.”
The WBO, WBA, IBF and IBO champion Joshua (24-1, 22 KOs) and WBC titlist Fury (30-0-1, 21 KOs) are slated to meet in a super fight later this summer.
Both fighters signed a two-fight deal last week but an announcement doesn’t appear imminent because Joshua promoter Eddie Hearn and Fury co-promoters Bob Arum and Frank Warren are still working toward securing a sizable site fee.
Skills aside, Tyson may have a soft spot for Fury because the Brit is named after him.
Tyson’s onetime trainer Teddy Atlas also believes Fury is the superior fighter.
"I think Fury could stop him. I like AJ, he's a good fighter, he's got good talent, he's had a great comeback. I like all that," Atlas said on The Fight podcast.
"I'm not gonna say he has a China chin, I'm not gonna say that. But, I'm gonna say Fury has a better chin. And I'm gonna say he's been to dark places when he got stopped by Ruiz. He being Joshua. He went to dark places. Now he found a light and he lit the room up and he's back into a place that's lit. I just don't think he's that far away from a power shortage.
"I think there could be a blackout again, where his confidence [goes]. When I say the electricity, the light, I attach it to confidence, belief, mental strength and durability. I think that a blackout could happen in that generator of his again. He's not far from removed from being taken back to no lights. So I'm going with Fury.
"Joshua can punch, Joshua's a banger. He gets into position, but he's going to have to get into that position. Because Fury is more versatile, Fury has more say because he can do more things."
Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist, writer and broadcast reporter. He’s also a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and MMA Journalists Association. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan, via email at manouk[dot]akopyan[at]gmail.com or on www.ManoukAkopyan.com