Hall of Fame boxing trainer Teddy Atlas just favours Tyson Fury in his eagerly-anticipated all-British blockbuster with Anthony Joshua – but only if you hold a gun to his head.
Atlas knows great heavyweights when he sees them, having been part of the team which unleashed a young Mike Tyson on the world in the mid-1980s, before later guiding Michael Moorer to world-title glory.
Now he has been putting his mind to analysing how a unification battle between Fury and Joshua might play out if it happens as expected in 2021.
Atlas told The Sun: “The safe pick is Fury – but I look beyond that. I think, ‘Wait a minute, who’s the guys whose had a compostable personal life? How do we know that’s not going to be a factor? How do we know he can stay at this level?’ So far he has and I give him all the credit in the world.
“Then you look at Joshua; he gets knocked out, but the truth is he came back. You have to give him credit and his team did a marvellous job in re-inventing him physically, mentally, technically (for the Ruiz Jr rematch last December) – he was a different guy. He went from looking like the Hulk with those great glistening muscles to all of a sudden becoming a slimmer version and he’s able to box and use his legs to outbox Ruiz.
“Ruiz was was 280lb, that didn’t help his cause but you can only control what you can control and Joshua did go in there ready to redeem himself and he did it, he won. So, you have two guys in Fury and Joshua that have shown the ability to adapt their styles.”
As well as being acclaimed as the best pure boxer in the heavyweight division today, Fury has shown his ability to surprise by coming out with a perfect and often unexpected gameplan. That unpredictability is a factor.
“It’s two different styles and with Fury you just don’t know what you’re going to get,” said Atlas.
“We could see Joshua show things we didn’t see in the Wilder rematch – Fury could walk into some counters, or maybe he doesn’t just walk forward and have his way. Fury could have to deal with things he didn’t against Wilder, and he could wind up getting outboxed by Joshua, I can see that happening.
“But if a gun was put to my head, right now, I’d go the easy way. I’d go with Fury. But you know what? I would wait a bit of this. I could see an argument for both scenarios.”