The summer schedule is typically a bit more sparse than the rest of the year, which makes sense, because we have a year-round sport. No offseason in boxing.
This hot weather span will feature some fairly high-level, much-anticipated scraps, but overall, no, it isn’t a June-July-August jubilee of rumbling. For me, one of the top-most tangoes that I am very much wanting to see how it lays out goes down July 21 in Russia.
Oleksandr Usyk versus Murat Gassiev, the two top cruisers on the planet will face off in the season one World Boxing Super Series cruiserweight class finale. The Ukrainian Usyk, with a ridiculous degree of seasoning accumulated as an amateur, who’s shown himself to be a ringmaster with just 14 pro bouts tucked into his WBC and WBO belts. And Gassiev, the IBF and WBA champ, with scant amateur experience, who has gone from unknown to pretty damn heralded in the span of two years.
Ask Gassiev trainer Abel Sanchez who he thinks is the favored fighter and duh, you know what you will hear. Honest Abel, last heard sparring with aplomb versus the Canelo crew on a media call to trumpet the September 15 GGG vs Canelo rematch, told me, interestingly, that he pretty much sees this cruiser clash as a 50-50 faceoff.
So on a night in which he will corner six boxers in Russia, Sanchez expects one attribute his guy has an edge in to speak louder: power.
The Cali-based tutor will corner Gassiev (26-0 with 19 KOs; born and bred in Russia), Denis Shafikov, Konstantin Ponomarev, Fedor Chudinov, Bohachuk and a debuter as well. The Gassiev scrap, he thinks, could well play out as the NYFights writer John Gatling has predicted. Gatling said that Gassiev is a top ten pound for pounder who will break down Usyk (335-15 as an amateur) with a concerted body attack.
“I believe that also, but I’m a little biased,” Sanchez admitted.
Is this a 50-50 fight, on paper, though?
“I think so, but with power being the difference,” he stated.
One to 10, 10 being baddest ass power, what level is Gassiev, who had just 25 fights in the amateur sphere.
“Nine,” said Sanchez. Hmm, for comparison sake, I’m curious, what is GGG’s power ranking?
“10,” he answered.
Always leave that room for improvement, something to reach for, an enticement for a 24-year-old work in progress.
Readers, what say you? Is this a 50-50 paper fight? Talk to me!