By Jack Tiernan: Gareth A. Davies believes it’s possible that Anthony Joshua will retire if he loses the rematch against Oleksandr Usyk on Saturday.
Whether Joshua (24-2, 22 KOs) retires or not will depend on the manner in which he loses to Usyk (19-0, 13 KOs), says Gareth.
For example, if Joshua is knocked out or totally outboxed once again, it increases the chances that he’ll hang up his gloves because it would mean that he wasn’t competitive.
The sport will miss Joshua if he walks away at 32, but it’ll carry on 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 firefight
“You can see that Usyk has bulked his body up, looking for a firefight. The funny thing is, Joshua had a bit of success to Usyk’s body in the first fight in the middle rounds, and I think might have felt those punches,” said Gareth A. Davies to iFL TV.
“I think he might think Joshua is going to go to his body in this fight a little bit earlier. He definitely looks thicker around the torso. I don’t buy this 20 kilos. No way. That makes no sense at all, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see him fight fire with fire early on to try and time Joshua.
“I spoke to Robert Garcia in the build-up already, and they are looking at educated pressure this time, being a bit more dirty in there, being a bit more underhanded, trying to discover that animal side of himself a bit more.
“It’s all about getting momentum early in the fight for Joshua. Yeah, there will be more heat in the early rounds. I don’t think it’s a 12-round fight. I don’t think it goes 12 rounds,” said Gareth.
Joshua-Usyk is a huge event
“It’s enormous, a really, really big fight,” said Davies. “It’s a big event for us all in the boxing world because Anthony Joshua has left a trail behind him that’s drawn a lot of attention from the mainstream.
“He’s been wonderful for the sport. The problem for him is that tiny little bit. Can he find redemption? This is his wound have, should have, could have moment.
“He lost to a smaller cruiserweight eleven months ago. The thing is about Anthony Joshua and great athletes in sports, in that moment of having to shift the pattern of moments where they etched themselves into history, can they discover his superego, super id?
Is Joshua too rich now?
Is he too rich now, or is he too successful to have that hunger that’s still in him?” said Davies. “I’m sure it’s still burning in him, but can he put it in action against this tricky, awkward southpaw in Usyk, who has his own reasons for etching himself into history now that are bigger than boxing and bigger than a sporting event?
“It’s massive because of the implications of Joshua and Tyson Fury. A year ago, were about to see those two fight twice. You seem to forget that so easily.
“Tyson Fury has only retired for a couple of weeks. It’s a subconscious thing, in my view, where he can say, ‘I’m not interested in that stuff over there.’ Of course, he’ll comment on it. It’s his way of saying, ‘It doesn’t matter to me. I’m #1 anyway.’
“It was interesting to see Mauricio Sulaiman of the WBC come online and talk about that. No promoter and no sanctioning body is ever going to say, ‘A boxer should carry on boxing,’, especially with what Tyson Fury has achieved and with the two wars he had with Wilder if you discount the middle fight where he really took it to Wilder.
“He’s going to be back. I thought the Chisora trilogy was a bit of a ruse as well. I don’t think it was ever going to happen. I think Tyson had one of those moments where he’s gone, ‘I’m 34 today, that’s it.’
“Anthony Joshua wins; it’s possible, not probable, then I see him back. There’s too much money on the table, it’s too big of a fight, and it’s a fight that Fury will fancy against Joshua, and it’s a fight we all want.
AJ might retire if he loses
“Well, he might,” said Davies about Joshua possibly retiring if he loses to Usyk. “Johnny [Nelson] is fine saying that. He’s not saying that Joshua should retire. What he’s saying is if he’s knocked out by Usyk and outboxed again and can’t get anywhere in the fight. He might want time to psychically, mentally, and psychologically recover.
“He might say, ‘I’ve reached my zenith, and maybe there isn’t anything bigger ahead for me. Johnny was only giving his view. Of course, he wants AJ to win. We all would love for AJ to win, but he was just being honest.
“I don’t think that’s the case,” said Davies about Sky Sports wanting Joshua to lose because he signed a deal with DAZN. They’ve certainly given it s soft launch. They haven’t gone hard on the fights.
“They haven’t gone hard at it. I don’t think they want Joshua to lose. Why would they want Joshua to lose? His stock is enormous if he wins. That’s why DAZN has taken that gamble.
“The basic fact is Usyk is the favorite in this fight, but AJ had an off night against him eleven months ago. If he wins, Sky isn’t going to be worried about it. He might retire. He might have had enough if he loses,” said Gareth 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 by a razor-type split decision, I know I’ve been saying someone gets stopped in this fight. If he loses by a razor-type split decision, he’s not going to walk away from the sport. He still has massive fights out there.
“I’d like to see him in with all four or five of those guys before he stops,” said Davies.