By Jake Donovan
Heavyweight action returns to Madison Square Garden (or at least the basement), as Tyson Fury makes his stateside debut against former cruiserweight contender Steve Cunningham.
At stake is a #2 IBF heavyweight ranking, with the winner to face Kubrat Pulev in a final eliminator later this year to determine the mandatory challenger for lineal champ Wladimir Klitschko.
The bout serves as a rare Saturday afternoon affair on NBC.
How does the staff at Boxingscene.com see all of the action going down? Read on to find out.
B-SCENE PREDICTIONS – TYSON FURY v. STEVE CUNNINGHAM
“Fury talks a lot of s**t and a good game, but I'll go with him cause Cunningham ain't much better.”
- Damien Acevedo (Fury)
“I expect Tyson Fury to have a successful pro debut. He simply has to many advantages. Size, power, youth are all on his side and will be too much for the former cruiserweight champion. Fury TKO 5”
- Ryan Burton (Fury)
“Cunningham is the better boxer, but size will matter in this one. Fury will struggle early but will eventually settle in and stop the American inside of seven rounds.”
- Jake Donovan (Fury)
“Cunningham W 12. Smaller man. Older man. But also the smarter man when it comes to the ring. Watch for the completion to the clinic USS started against Adamek.”
- Lyle Fitzsimmons (Cunningham)
“Fury by stoppage. Just too damn big for a game crafty, yet horribly undersized, Cunningham. Cunningham will, at times, outbox Fury but the size advantage will take over. From there Fury takes over and stops Cunningham in round 8”
- Ernie Gabion (Fury)
“Tyson Fury has the size and power advantage on Steve Cunningham but i do not believe that will be enough. Cunningham is on another level than anyone Fury has beaten with the exception of possibly Chisora who was completely out of shape. Cunningham brings skill, speed, and elusiveness to the ring and will cause Fury to have fits if he can't land. The rounds will go back and forth in the beginning but a tired and frustrated Fury will gas late and Cunningham will take over winning via Unanimous Decision”
- Tim Kudgis (Cunningham)
“I give Cunningham kudos for moving up to heavyweight and taking on tough legitimate challengers. He did well against Adamek, and arguably won that fight. Conspiracies aside, the argument against him winning was he was not busy enough. He will have to completely alter that style against the much taller, much heavier, much stronger Fury. Cunningham will have his effective boxing moments. Fury's moments will be that much more effective. Goliath downs David in this match via mid to late round KO. Let's say Fury KO victory round nine.”
- Richard Najdowski (Fury)
“Fury Dec. Cunningham: Fury might not be more skilled, or experienced than Cunningham but he has improved tons from where he was a few years ago. He showed girt and stamina in a win over Derrek Chisora and his career to date has been managed well for a combination of education and progress. Cunningham is often vulnerable early and could be stopped, but he has always been resilient. The thinking is he's just giving up too much size, and has a bit more wear. Fury should outwork him.”
- Cliff Rold (Fury)
“I think Fury's overall size and strength will be the key to the outcome of this fight. Cunningham will definitely come to fight but will lose in a spirited effort as Fury gets the win and puts Cunningham down before the fight is over.”
- Luis Sandoval (Fury)
“Cunningham looked like a champ against an old rival the last time out. But forget about actual weights - Tomasz Adamek is not a real heavyweight. Tyson Fury is. Even with a lack of ability he will lock the USS down, cutting angles and cornering him every here and now. The stoppage will come either on the strength of his pounding or with a single killer punch. Fury TKO8.”
- Alexey Sukachev (Fury)
Totals: Tyson Fury 8, Steve Cunningham 2
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com, as well as a member of Transnational Boxing Ratings Board, Yahoo Boxing Ratings Panel and the Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox