Oleksandr Usyk will defend his three heavyweight titles against Daniel Dubois on Saturday in Poland, with the Ukrainian coming in a big-time favorite, and Dubois looking to give his career an absolutely massive shot in the arm.
Can Dubois buck the odds, or will Usyk make the case for some eyeball-grabbing headlines about how he’s really the best heavyweight in the world while Tyson Fury farts around with Francis Ngannou?
We’ve got our picks in!
Scott Christ (72-29)
I just think Usyk is too good for Dubois. Like, way too good. Way too skilled, experienced, not actually past his best days no matter what Dubois says to hype his chances at the uppy (I remembered!).
I’ve repeatedly said that Dubois is “worse Anthony Joshua” and I stand by it, without meaning it as some MASSIVE F’N DIG at Daniel Dubois. AJ was really good at his best. Dubois is young and good, he should still have a future if this doesn’t go terrible and wreck his confidence.
I think it’s kinda gonna go terrible, though. The confidence part is up to him. I think Usyk absolutely picks him apart and forces a late stoppage. Usyk TKO-10
Wil Esco (80-21)
It’s hard for me to see this as anything other than a poor style matchup for Daniel Dubois, if I’m being completely honest. Dubois certainly packs a punch but there are levels to this game and that in and of itself isn’t going to be enough to take out one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in the sport today.
Oleksandr Usyk’s masterful blend of movement and technical acumen will keep Dubois from being able to really set his feet to generate the kind of fight-ending power he’ll be looking to land, and I think he gets picked apart on points along the way. Unless Usyk is no longer the fighter he was last year, he cruises to a decision here. Usyk UD-12
John Hansen (71-30)
I made The Hater’s Case for why Usyk shouldn’t be such a slam dunk favorite over Dubois in this week’s podcast. If you didn’t listen, here’s the link, and here’s the brief rundown:
- Dubois is still just 25, and ahead of the professional development curve (and level of opposition) we saw from the leading modern heavyweights like Fury, Wilder, and Joshua.
- Usyk’s heavyweight reputation largely rests on his two big championship wins over Anthony Joshua, and Joshua hasn’t really looked that great for about five full years now. Before the Joshua fights, heavyweight Usyk looked capable (or less) against Chazz Witherspoon and Derek Chisora.
- Dubois answered a lot of questions about toughness and craft in the Kevin Lerena fight. He didn’t “give up” despite a wrecked knee and three first round knockdown/kneeldowns, survived and regrouped, and hung in long enough to bait Lerena into the one hand he could still throw with power.
Basically, there’s an argument that Dubois is more of a threat than the tentative and chin-anxious modern version of Anthony Joshua, and he’s at the stage of his life when the great heavyweights start really developing into the best versions of themselves.
Am I picking the upset? No. By the odds, the betting public think Dubios has about a 1-in-9 chance here. My friendlier take on the matchup is that Dubois is actually more like a 1-in-4 or 1-in-5 underdog. And I’m not down so bad that I’m ready to get into November Staff Picks 4th Place Scott Christ Riverboat Gambler Mode. I still have Usyk as the No. 3 pound-for-pound guy in the sport, and I fully expect his skill to carry him to a win on Saturday.
(Editor’s Note: Being in last place seems like a good time to go into gambler mode, but what would I know? I’m just the guy usually in last place. — Scott)
Even though I made the devil’s advocate case for Dubois this week, I do believe that if Usyk were really vulnerable, Tyson Fury wouldn’t have spent the past year in boxing witness protection to avoid him. I think this is a better fight than many, and I hope that if it does go according to expectations, the Daniel Dubois we see in four or five years is much better for the experience he’ll get in this fight. Usyk UD-12
Patrick Stumberg (77-24)
I’m not prepared to write Daniel Dubois off yet. He’s had a few stumbles, but he remains a 25-year-old physical specimen in a division whose BoxRec top 10 features six men at or above 35.
That said, Oleksandr Usyk’s heavyweight tenure has essentially been a slew of opponents asking “can he handle someone big, strong, and physical” and him exasperatedly answering “yes.” Dubois, on paper, doesn’t offer much that Joshua didn’t; more power and a stiffer chin, sure, but nothing to suggest he’ll have more success consistently landing punches on Usyk. 12 rounds of Chisora and 24 of Joshua have made it clear that Usyk can avoid most of what heavyweights send his way and absorb the rest, so unless Dubois can land a real cracker of shot that Usyk doesn’t see coming, he’s getting picked apart all night. Usyk UD-12
Jared Anderson vs Andriy Rudenko
- Scott: Anderson TKO-3
- Wil: Anderson TKO-6
- John: Anderson KO-4
- Patrick: Anderson TKO-4