Former world champion Sergio Mora is backing Oleksandr Usyk to retain the IBF, IBO, WBA, WBO heavyweight titles when he faces Anthony Joshua on Saturday night in Saudi Arabia.
The fight is a rematch of their encounter from September 2019, which saw Usyk win a dominant twelve round unanimous decision.
For the second bout, Mora parted ways with longtime trainer Robert McCracken and secured the services of veteran coach Robert Garcia.
Mora is not convinced that Garcia will be enough to turn the tide.
“A lot of people in the business will tell you that it's going to be hard for Joshua to make the adjustments to beat a master boxer like Usyk," Mora told Vegas Insider.
“We saw in the first fight that Joshua was clueless. He didn't really know whether to be an aggressor, whether to cut off the ring or whether to fight like a big man. He was just lost in there and it showed. He almost got stopped in that fight the later it got. It was just discouragement. You saw flashes of that Andy Ruiz fight towards the end.
“He brought in a new trainer in Robert Garcia. He has a new mentality; that killer dog mentality and he's going to need it. He's going to need it because this isn't going to be a physical fight it's going to be mental warfare and Anthony Joshua has suffered in that department. I don't know if Robert Garcia is going to be able to bring out that animalistic mentality or whether Joshua has it but we know that Usyk definitely has it. He has it everywhere. A brilliant boxer.“
And if Mora had to pick a scenario to play out, he can see Usyk pulling off the knockout.
Joshua seemed to tire out in the second half of the first meeting. He intends to start faster with added aggression - which Mora believes will be a benefit to Usyk.
"I believe the aggression that Joshua's gonna have to implement to win this fight is gonna play into Usyk's hands. So I actually like Usyk by stoppage. We saw glimpses of that towards the end of that fight (last year’s fight),” Mora said.
“I think this time around Usyk might be able to close the show. It's gonna be around that 10th-11th round but I think he'll be able to do it.”