Tyson Fury welcomes Francis Ngannou to the boxing ring this weekend, and the majority of fans feel that the MMA man is in for a rude awakening.
Ngannou will step through the ropes as a heavy underdog, and most predictions have centred around Fury doing as he pleases until he sees fit to end the fight.
Hall of fame trainer and analyst, Teddy Atlas, doesn’t agree. In fact, he told ESPN that it’s a dangerous move on the part of the heavyweight world champion.
“A lot of people look at it like a money grab. I think it’s a dangerous money grab, very dangerous. Dangerous for the guy that supposed to win easily – that would be the boxer, the heavyweight champ of the world, the guy named Tyson Fury.”
“It’s an event, it’s a crossover – McGregor and Mayweather like. I remember that fight saying this is gonna be more competitive than people think.”
Atlas said he foresees ‘difficulty’ in the fight for Fury, despite the lack of jeopardy identified by the vast majority fo fans and pundits.
“One thing Francis can do – he can punch, he can put the lights out. He was born with power. If he can put his hand on the chin of Fury, he can hurt Fury. Fury is of course supposed to have his way as the elite boxer.”
“The [upset] can be that Fury doesn’t take him seriously. I don’t think he’s gonna take him seriously. And when you have that power you have an eraser of all sins.”
“I find this intriguing. I didn’t come here to promote this thing, but you’ve got one guy just doesn’t take him serious, it’s hard to all of a sudden change gears in the ring, because 75% is mental … if you’re [thinking ahead] it could be a short night.”
Despite his own focus on the power, Atlas advised Ngannou not to search for the knockout wildly and he might have some success.
The crossover spectacle takes place on October 28 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, with a comfortable win allowing Fury to progress towards an undisputed bout against Oleksandr Usyk.