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Former Heavyweight Analyzes Usyk’s Ring Mastery

 

By Scoop Malinowski

Dennis Mitch Maley was a professional heavyweight in the early 2000s who compiled a pro record of 3-1 before calling it quits. He attended Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania, earning a degree in Government. While at Shippensburg, he was a three-time All-American and captain of the school’s boxing team. He won two national silver medals and one bronze.

With his natural articulation, valuable background in the sport and up close exposure to several top tier elite fighters, Maley’s perspective and analytical skills of the sport are first class, top notch. After meeting Maley once and talking boxing for about 30 minutes, I realized he could hold his own with any of the best analysts on HBO, Showtime or ESPN.

After the Oleksandr Usyk decision win vs. Tyson Fury last weekend, I was curious to learn about the Frackville PA born Maley’s observations of the historic world heavyweight title unification clash…

Question:  What did you think of the Usyk vs Fury fight? Did Usyk impress you?

Mitch Maley:  It certainly had its moments. Fury looked good for the first part, but Usyk is very good at varying the pace, getting the guy out into deep water, and watching him drown. I think he’s deceptively good. There’s no flashiness to it, but he’s outstanding at positioning himself to always be in a position to counter; he’s a master at gauging distance, his punches have extraordinary accuracy, and his conditioning is unrivaled among heavyweights. I can’t name anyone in the division that I would pick over him.

Question:  I feel the same way. No one can beat him today, just age.  Also starting to wonder if Usyk could beat all the greats from history. I consider Lennox the best of all but the fact is he made two major mistakes in his career – the KO losses to Rahman and McCall.  Yes he avenged them but there was a flaw there. Usyk seems to have no flaws, his discipline and focus are superior to Lennox.  His skills and diversity of tactics may be too. I think it’s possible Usyk could beat any heavyweight champion from history too, as crazy as that may sound.  Nobody seems to understand this Ukrainian wizard. On the surface he looks unspectacular and just a lucky guy in an allegedly weaker era. But no era is weak, just how it’s presented and perceived by media. Usyk may actually be the goat? Or one of the goats?

Mitch Maley:  Yeah, in many ways, he reminds me of a heavyweight version of Vasyl Lomachenko, who was one of the most technically sound fighters. For all his gifts, Lewis was susceptible to looping rights from slightly shorter opponents, like many tall fighters. It was a nearly identical punch in both of those instances. He also came into the Rahman fight heavy and not acclimated to the altitude, something I couldn’t imagine Uysk allowing to happen. His dedication to the craft and respect for what each fight takes trumps many of the physical advantages other greats might have had against him. I’d find it difficult to bet against him, at least confidently, against almost any past champ.

Joshua has looked good as of late, and obviously, a fight between him and Fury would have been big money had things gone a different way, but I don’t see him faring any better in a third bout with Usyk. If it’s a Fury rematch, then a third fight with Joshua, I’d be disappointed. I’d rather see Uysk face a broad array of interesting fights that will tell us more about how great he is. Because of styles, Joseph Parker and Zhang would be interesting stay busy defenses, in my opinion. Maybe Andy Ruiz if he gets things back together. Hrgovic, Dubois, or Joyce aren’t interesting to me. Who would you like to see him fight?
Question:  There’s no one left to beat, nothing more to prove. At 37 this is the perfect time to ride off into the sunset, if Fury declines to do the rematch.  Of course, Usyk will be offered fortunes for more fights that he will not be able to walk away from. The names you mentioned just don’t stir any kind of excitement. Maybe a farewell fight somewhere in Europe vs. Wilder, though the American certainly doesn’t deserve it, he still has the most recognizable name after Joshua, Fury. Usyk vs Joshua 3 would be a difficult sell.
Mitch Maley:  Oh, I didn’t realize he was 37. I agree walking away on top would be the move, but he accepted the short money against Fury and Joshua, so he’ll probably pad his winnings a bit, and I still think he’s got too much passion for the sport to walk away just quite yet. Yes, Wilder would probably be the biggest paycheck because casual fans are enamored by his power.
Now a resident of St. Petersburg, FL, Dennis Mitch Maley is the Editor and Featured Columnist of The Bradenton Times
He is also is a podcaster and author, (Burn Black Wall Street Burn – Punk Rock Publishing June 2021).

 

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