Former two division world champion Andre Ward, who retired several years ago as a top pound-for-pound boxer, was impressed by Saturday’s performance from Oleksandr Usyk.
Usyk retained the WBO, IBF, IBO, WBA heavyweight titles with a twelve round split decision over Anthony Joshua in a highly anticipated rematch in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
The first time around, last September, Usyk picked up a dominant twelve round unanimous decision.
In the rematch, Joshua entering the ring better prepared and with a revamped corner – led by his news head trainer, Robert Garcia.
After Joshua came on strong in the ninth with hard body shots that forced Usyk to go on the run, the undefeated pound-for-pound stylist from Ukraine came out firing from all angles in the final three rounds to clinch the fight.
Ward was not surprised by the outcome, because he feels Usyk is just too smart, from a boxing perspective, for Joshua.
“There was too much IQ for Joshua. There’s no disrespect to Joshua. I can say that and still have respect for what Joshua did as an amateur and what he’s done as a pro,” Ward told Fight Hub TV.
“There’s no shade on Joshua, but it’s just the facts. You fight a certain kind of style for a long time and build up all that muscle, and you can look like an all-time great against certain guys.
“If you don’t work on your game and evolve, it’s the same stuff. He’s got an awesome right hand, and it comes off like a rocket, but you take him out of that element into deep waters and make him think, you see the mental fatigue that comes over him.”