Unbeaten and highly ranked heavyweight contender Filip Hrgovic has placed some additional pressure on his broad shoulders by stating how he will retire from the sport if he loses to Daniel Dubois. The Hrgovic-Dubois fight will as fans know, be a most intriguing feature of the stacked and stellar card set for June 1 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Go back a year or so ago, and a fan would have shot back Hrgovic’s name if asked who would win in a fight between him and Dubois. But Dubois put on a pretty decent showing when he challenged Oleksandr Usyk last summer, and “Dynamite” then showed strength of character in scoring a late stoppage win over Jarrell Miller in his next fight.

Hrgovic, meanwhile, has not looked particularly special in his last two fights, with him labouring to a late stoppage win over big underdog Demsey McKean last August, and then wiping out an even bigger underdog in Mark de Mori, in what was really a nothing fight for Hrgovic, this in December on the card that saw Dubois stop “Big Baby.”

Dubois feels his strength and power will see him to victory over Hrgovic and maybe a few people, or more than a few, are inclined to agree with the Londoner. Certainly, this is no straightforward win for the man from Croatia. Hrgovic, as we have seen, can be hit and hurt – his 2020 battle with Zhilei Zhang showing this. Yet in speaking with IFL TV, Hrgovic, 17-0(14) made the statement that he will retire should he lose to Dubois, 20-2(19) and at age 26, the younger man by five years.

Hrgovic and Dubois sparred some years ago, and both men have a different account of what transpired (that old adage,’what happens in sparring stays in sparring’ being pretty much ignored). Speaking to IFL, Hrgovic said the spar “didn’t go very well for him [Dubois].”

“I don’t know why he’s talking about that spar, because it didn’t go well for him,” Hrgovic said. “He said he has changed, and of course he has changed, he was young at the time of the spar, but I was young as well. I think he has improved, you can improve but you can never change your character, you can never change who you are. Yeah, I’m confident I will repeat [what happened in] that sparring (smiles). I worked hard, I’m 18 years working in this sport, working like a f*****g maniac. So if I lose to Dubois, f**k that s**t – obviously I’m not [as] good as I think that I am, so I [would] retire.”

Hrgovic is not the first fighter to state how he will retire if he loses to a certain fighter, nor will he be the last, but we all know anything can happen in a fight, especially one between two big men. Might Dubois get the win on June 1, and in so doing make Hrgovic out to be a liar? It would be seen as an upset if Dubois won, but not a shocking one. Indeed this fight, like most of the terrific match ups on the June 1 card, could be looked at as pretty much a 5-0-50 affair, perhaps 60-40 in favour of Hrgovic.

Is Hrgovic failing to give Dubois the full respect he deserves? Maybe.

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