By Craig Daly: Trainer Malik Scott says if he were a betting man, he would put his money on Zhilei Zhang to defeat Joe Joyce tonight in their rematch at the OVO Arena in London.
Malik feels that Joyce (15-1, 14 KOs) wasn’t trained right to learn how to get out of the way of punches and can only get away with using your face to block shots while you’re coming up against non-punchers.
Zhang-Joyce II event can be seen on ESPN+ at 2:00 p.m. ET.
Once you reach a certain level where heavyweights have massive power, then you see what happened to Joyce in his last fight against Zhang (25-1-1, 20 KOs), getting stopped in the sixth round due to his right eye closing shut.
It’s probably too late to try teaching the 38-year-old Joyce defense because as the saying goes, ‘You can’t teach old dogs new tricks.’
Joyce is almost 40, and that’s ancient for someone trying to do a complete overhaul for their game. That’s just one problem that Joycee has going into tonight’s fight.
It looks like the 281-lb Joyce had a few too many treats given to him during camp because the six-pack abs that he had for the previous fight with Zhang have been replaced by a small potbelly.
Joyce is just going to have to stick with what’s worked for him in the past and plod forward with his ‘Juggernaut’ style of fighting, hoping that he can wear Zhang down before his right eye closes shut again.
Joyce has a tough task tonight
“He’s in an uphill battle for him right now, and the reason that it is are two reasons: one, he has been glorified for having a good chin,” said Malik Scott to talkSport Boxing about Joe Joyce with a tough task tonight against Zhilei Zhang in their rematch in London.
Joyce is too slow to be clever about getting in punching range, which is why he plods forward, slowing walking his opponents down.
“To me, fighters who get glorified for having a good chin, they start believing in the hype, and that becomes like, ‘Well, I have a good chin, so that means I can take it,’” said Scott.
“Yeah, but that runs out. You may have a good chin for five fights or ten fights, but the higher level you go up to, that chin you could say runs out because someone can hit you.
“I can give you a prime example of what I mean by this real quick Chris Arreola had one of the best chins to me in the history of the sport. I’ve seen Chris Arreola get hit with everything. After he fought Vitali Klitschko, his punch intake went down.
“In his very next fight or two fight, he got knocked down by was it Travis Kaufman. Someone [Note: It was Bermane Stiverne that Arreola was knocked down by in 2013 and it was ten fights after his bout with Klitschko in 2009 In the Arreola-Stiverne rematch in 2014, Stiverne knocked Arreola down twice. In 2015, Arreola was dropped by Travis Kauffman].
“That’s not even a real puncher and what that was. That didn’t give credit to Travis Kaufman as a puncher. That gave the reality that just taking punches or having a good chin, it runs out. I love Joe Joyce. I work with him a lot,” said Malik.
Zhang the favorite
“I want the best for him, but he’s in an uphill battle because to me, he never was really taught defense for the highest level, and he’s in with someone that comes from a very good teacher. Sean George is Zhang’s trainer,” said Malik.
Unless Joyce intends on using his feet to stay out of rang in the early going, we’re likely to see a repeat of the first fight. The problem is, that Joyce has put on too much weight for him to be able to evade Zhang.
“He comes up in the amateurs with me. This guy’s a very good teacher, and Zhang is a very dangerous, very dangerous southpaw. He’s big, he’s imposing, and he believes now,” said Scott.
“So, if I was a betting man right now, my heart would be with Joe Joyce, but my money would be with Zhang. The difficulty is that Joe Joyce could have made him believe. I don’t think he made him believe.
“In the heavyweight division, you have to sit on punches. You have to get some respect, even if you’re not a puncher. I don’t think Zhang thinks a deal about Joe Joyce after that first fight.
“That could work in two ways. That means he could walk into something big early, and Joe could get him out of there, or it could be a very long night for Joe and worse than the [previous] night that he had with him,” said Malik about Joyce.
Source: Boxing News 24