By Jack Tiernan: Gareth A. Davies believes Anthony Joshua may retire if he loses the rematch against Oleksandr Usyk on Saturday.
Whether or not Joshua (24-2, 22 KOs) retires will depend on how he loses to Usyk (19-0, 13 KOs), Gareth says.
For example, if Joshua gets knocked out or totally outmatched one more time, it increases the chances of him hanging up the gloves because it would mean he’s not competitive.
The sport will miss Joshua if he leaves at 32, but it will continue without him. Joe Joyce, Daniel Dubois and Deontay Wilder should more than make up for what boxing loses if Joshua retires now.
Usyk looking for a shootout
“You can see that Usyk has increased his body, looking for a shootout. The funny thing is that Joshua had a little hit on Usyk’s body in the first fight in the middle rounds, and I think he may have felt those hits,” Gareth A. Davies told iFL TV.
“I think you might think that Joshua is going to go to his body in this fight a little bit sooner. It definitely looks thicker around the torso. I don’t buy these 20 kilos. No way. That doesn’t make any sense, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him fight fire with fire early on to try and time Joshua.
“I already talked to Robert Garcia in the buildup, and this time they’re looking for polite pressure, being a little bit dirtier in there, being a little bit more shady, trying to discover that animal side of himself a little bit more.
“It’s about getting momentum early in the fight for Joshua. Yes, there will be more heat in the first rounds. I don’t think it’s a 12-round fight. I don’t think it will last 12 rounds,” Gareth said.
Joshua-Usyk is a great event
“It’s huge, a very, very big fight,” Davies said. “It’s a huge event for all of us in the boxing world because Anthony Joshua has left a trail behind him that has gotten a lot of mainstream attention.
“It has been wonderful for the sport. The problem for him is that little bit. Can he find redemption? This is the wound of him having, should have, could have moment.
“He lost to a smaller cruiserweight eleven months ago. It’s about Anthony Joshua and great athletes in sports, in that moment of having to change the pattern of moments where they recorded themselves in history, will they be able to discover their super ego, super id?
Is Joshua too rich now?
Is he too rich now, or is he too successful to have that hunger that is still in him? Davis said. “I’m sure he’s still burning in it, but can he put it into action against this tricky, clumsy southpaw in Usyk, who has his own reasons to go down in history now that they’re bigger than boxing and bigger than an event? sports?
“It’s huge because of the implications of Joshua and Tyson Fury. A year ago, they almost saw those two fight twice. You seem to forget that so easily.
“Tyson Fury has only been retired for a couple of weeks. It’s a subconscious thing, from my point of view, where he can say, ‘I’m not interested in that stuff over there.’ Of course, he will comment on it. It’s his way of saying about him: ‘I don’t care. I’m number 1 anyway.
“It was interesting to see Mauricio Sulaiman from the WBC come online and talk about it. No promoter or sanctioning body is ever going to say, ‘A fighter should keep boxing,’ especially with what Tyson Fury has accomplished and with the two wars he had with Wilder if you rule out the middle fight where it really took him to Wilder.
“Will come back. I thought the Chisora trilogy was a bit of a ruse too. I don’t think it would ever happen. I think Tyson had one of those moments where he’s like, ‘I’m 34 today, that’s it.’
“Anthony Joshua wins; it’s possible, not likely, so I see it back. There’s too much money on the table, it’s too big a fight, and it’s a fight Fury would like against Joshua, and it’s a fight we all want.
AJ could retire if he loses
“Well, I could,” Davies said of the possibility of Joshua retiring if he loses to Usyk. “Juanito [Nelson] it’s okay to say that. She is not saying that Joshua should retire. What he’s saying is if Usyk knocks him out and outplays him again and he can’t get anywhere in the fight. He may want time to recover physically, mentally and psychologically.
“He might say, ‘I’ve reached my zenith, and maybe there’s nothing bigger ahead of me. Johnny was just giving his point of view. Of course he wants AJ to win. We’d all love for AJ to win, but he was just being honest.
“I don’t think that’s the case,” Davies said of Sky Sports wanting Joshua to lose because he signed a deal with DAZN. They have certainly given it a soft launch. They haven’t gotten tough in fights.
“They haven’t tried very hard. I don’t think they want Joshua to lose. Why would they want Joshua to lose? His stock is huge if he wins. That is why DAZN has taken a risk.
“The basic fact is that Usyk is the favorite in this fight, but AJ had a bad night against him eleven months ago. If he wins, Sky won’t worry about it. She could retire. He might have had enough if he lost. Gareth said about Joshua.
“I don’t think he will retire because there are brilliant fights for him anyway, even if he loses and how he loses is important. He has potential fights with Deontay Wilder, a second fight with Dillian Whyte, a fight with Joe Joyce, Daniel Dubois and Tyson Fury.
“Even if he loses on a knife split decision, I know I’ve been saying someone gets stopped in this fight. If he loses on a knife-edge split decision, he won’t walk away from the sport. He still has massive fights out there.
“I’d like to see him with all four or five of those guys before he stops,” Davies said.