Tim Tszyu will host Tony Harrison in Sydney, this weekend, in a Showtime boxing main event that will take place on Sunday in Australia, which means it airs live Saturday night here in the United States.
The interim WBO 154 lb title is on the line in the fight. Will Tszyu stay unbeaten and keep his place in line to face undisputed king Jermell Charlo, or can veteran Harrison pull an upset?
Scott Christ (16-12)
What I was going to write is that Tony Harrison is a better boxer than Tim Tszyu and would win several rounds of this fight, probably be up on the cards (or deserve to be, anyway), and then get stopped late. This happened in 2015 against Willie Nelson, in 2017 against Jarrett Hurd, and while he wasn’t winning at the time, he was also stopped late in 2019 in his rematch with Jermell Charlo.
But I’m 2-6 in my last eight picks trying to be clever and cute. So why stop now? Harrison is going to be very vulnerable as this fight gets into the later rounds, but I get the feeling some rounds he’s going to make Tszyu look extremely limited, too. Tony’s taller, he’s longer, he’s got a really good jab, he knows how to box, he’s fought at a higher level.
There are legitimate reasons to like Harrison’s chances here, but Tszyu has a good engine and a lot of determination, plus he’ll be home in Australia, so there are also legitimate reasons to pick Tszyu, and there’s a reason is the favorite — but also a reason that a 32-year-old Harrison with three losses on the road is not a major underdog. I’ll pick Harrison to get the cards, which is probably the worst bet of all, because go big or go home, who cares? Harrison UD-12
Wil Esco (20-8)
Honestly, Tony Harrison is in fact one of the easiest characters in the sport to root for. He gets his message across and offers plenty of pretty good trash talk without having to meltdown or really go over the top. Harrison also happens to be a very technically proficient fighter whom I expect to give Tszyu a lot of difficulty, particularly in the early rounds of the fight.
And while I really, really want to pick Harrison to be able to pull off a decision here, I have some reservations about his ability to stand up to Tszyu’s pressure down the stretch of the fight. Harrison generally starts fights well but can lose focus and when his defense begins to lapse he starts showing more and more vulnerabilities, and I don’t think he has the best chin in the world. I think Harrison starts the fight boxing his way up to a lead on the scorecards only to start to wear down in the back half, providing Tszyu better opportunities to land some power and turn things around.
Somewhere along the last third of the fight I think Tszyu will land something that really changes the tenor of the fight, and Tszyu manages to force a stoppage (even if a bit controversial) with Harrison reeling. I wouldn’t mind being wrong, though. Tszyu TKO-10
John Hansen (23-5)
I’m still not totally sold on Tim Tszyu as a world championship level guy. The Gausha win was significant, but it wasn’t a commanding performance. Tszyu was easy timing for a high-level veteran opponent, and it got him dropped quickly. Credit to him for powering through, literally, and putting the fight to Gausha on the ropes after that. But, I think Harrison is better than Gausha, and less vulnerable to the forward march that won Tszyu his last fight.
Look, Harrison obviously can and has been caught and stopped. And, historically, I am a bit of a skeptic when it comes to Australian fighters stepping up to challenge for a belt. If you’re a Tszyu fan, keep in mind that when I’m most wrong about them, we get great fights like Briedis-Opetaia and Navarrete-Wilson. I think if we ran this fight 10 times, Tszyu might win four or five of them. I just don’t think he’s the favorite, so I’ll take the former champion here instead. Harrison TKO-8
Patrick Stumberg (20-8)
A not-inconsiderable chunk of this fight is going to look like Harrison’s masterclass against Sergio Garcia. He’ll have no shortage of opportunities to bury his jab in Tszyu’s face and tee off with the sorts of combinations that make you wonder why this guy only ever won one title fight. Garcia didn’t offer the level of punching power and sheer physicality that have long vexed Harrison, though, and that looks like the crucial factor here. It wasn’t like Garcia couldn’t get inside on Harrison, it was that he consistently got punished before he could do any real damage. The implacable Tszyu will be tearing up Harrison’s body as 1-2s bounce off of him, and though Harrison has some good snap to his shots and Tszyu’s been dropped before, odds are that “Super Bad” will end up on the wrong side of that attrition battle.
The specter of Jarrett Hurd hovers over this matchup, which might explain why the rest of Hurd looked so shabby on Saturday. This is Harrison’s chance to right that wrong and outclass an overwhelming force, but while I do think he’ll put Tszyu through the wringer, I don’t trust him to hold up to a full fight’s worth of punishment. Tszyu overpowers him late while down on the cards. Tszyu TKO-10