Heavyweight contender Frazer Clarke believes Tyson Fury can defeat undisputed champion Oleksandr Usyk in their rematch on December 21st if he’s more consistent with his offense.

Clarke thinks Fury can win if he eliminates the showboating he used in his 12-round split decision loss on May 18th and is more active with his offense.

Fury’s Age and Fighting Style: A Potential Obstacle

In watching their previous fight, the 35-year-old Fury (34-1-1, 24 KOs) looked like he only had enough stamina to fight three rounds at a half-pace, and even then, he perched himself near the ropes.

That’s where Fury was the entire fight, next to the ropes, unable to come out to the center of the ring.

It was like watching Larry Holmes, chubby around the waistline at the end of his career, needing to fight with his back against the ropes against Oliver McCall. Fury can no longer fight in the center of the ring, and that will not change in the rematch with Usyk.

Fury is too old to fight the way he did in his wins over Deontay Wilder and Wladimir Klitschko, the ONLY two notable opponents on his 36-fight, 16-year professional resume.

In re-watching Fury’s win over 39-year-old Wladimir in 2015, I noticed that he spent much of the fight with his back against the ropes. The only reason he won is that by that point in Klitschko’s career, the long-time heavyweight champion was gunshy, just like Deontay Wilder is now.

Klitschko could no longer pull the trigger on his punches against a stationary Fury, who would have been easy work for him in his younger days, or his brother, Vitali. Fury was lucky he didn’t fight him because the big brother would have chewed him up.

If Fury can’t stay off the ropes, he won’t beat Usyk in the rematch unless he’s given a controversial decision win like we saw in his bout against Francis Ngannou.

You can’t rule that out from happening. It will look bad, obviously, but there’s a lot of money at stake with a lucrative mega-fight against Anthony Joshua just around the corner.

Promoter Eddie Hearn says a Fury-Joshua fight will still happen if Fury loses the rematch with Usyk, but obviously, it won’t be as big as it would be if Tyson were coming off a win.

The Illusion of Fury’s “Hot” Moments

“When Tyson was on his form, he was hot. When he was controlling the fight, he was hot,” said heavyweight Frazer Clarke to Secondsout when asked if Tyson Fury can avenge his loss to unified champion Oleksandr Usyk in their rematch on December 21st.

I don’t know what Frazer is talking about when he says Fury was “hot” during the two or three rounds where he had some success. He barely looked better than Usyk in the handful of rounds that he won, and the only reason he did is because Oleksandr wasn’t putting it on him with combinations like he did from the ninth round.

“When I look at those three rounds, and think, ‘If we do this for two or three rounds more, we win the fight,’ So, he hasn’t got to go and dramatically change,” said Clarke.

“He’s got to do what he did a little bit more consistently. Forget about the showboating and come out a little bit more serious, but obviously, that’s in his character as well.”

A Daunting Challenge for an Aging Ex-Champion

It looked like Fury was trying to use the same showboating he did in his fights with Deontay Wilder and Wladimir, thinking that it would frustrate Usyk and unnerve him.

It wasn’t going to work against Usyk for two reasons. 1. Because he’s mentally strong, don’t go for that. 2. Fury looked pathetic, badly out of shape, and trying to frustrate. He wasn’t young enough or in good enough condition to throw Usyk off his game by showboating, and he looked awful doing that

“Who’s the favorite? I’d probably say Usyk at this moment because of the way he finished the fight,” said Clarke. “But if Tyson can make a few small adjustments because, at that moment, I can understand why people were comparing him to the best of all time because when he was on top and doing his job properly, he was so good.”

Fury will need more than the “small adjustments” that Clarke speaks about to defeat Usyk in the rematch because it will be more aggressive next time. Now that Usyk has seen that Fury can’t handle high-volume offense, he will pour it on and look to overwhelm him.

Usyk knows how to beat Fury now, and he will be on the attack early, ensuring that it doesn’t go to the cards. It’s too risky for Usyk to let the judges decide the outcome of the rematch, given that the lucrative fight against Joshua will be on the line.

Leaning vs. Punching

“You don’t win fights by leaning on people. You may slow down your opponent a little bit, but it doesn’t win you the fight,” said Frazer when asked if Fury should try leaning on Usyk more in the rematch. “You win the fight by landing punches on people.”

Fury tried to lean on Usyk during their fight last month, but he was pushed away hard each time he attempted. He can try again and hope he lets him, but it won’t work.

For the Gypsy King to win the rematch with Usyk, he’s got to stay in the center of the ring and let his hands go. He won’t be victorious by mauling like he did in his fights against Wilder.

Usyk is too smart for that, and he’ll shove Fury away when he tries those tactics. Fury’s coach, Sugarhill Steward, will need to develop a better game plan than leaning on Usyk to give him a chance to win.

“When Tyson led off from the center, the second it started getting hard is when he stopped punching. He stopped giving Usyk things to think about, and he was able to walk in quite easily,” said Clarke.

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