I’m saying it now, Tim Tszyu will defeat Tony Harrison in Australia tomorrow. I foresee a Tszyu TKO8 victory.
But… If the 32 year old Detroit almost ultra vet were to beat Tim Tszyu, in a bout you can screen on Showtime, it would be for one reason—-the great sparring Harrison had with Charles Conwell.
He’s one of the greatest 154 lbs fighters to not fight for a world title. So fearsome is Conwell, that when the “boogeyman” of the middleweight division needed a mandatory opponent, Conwell, who had never fought in the division, was deemed the number one contender by his reputation alone.
Conwell in fact is the true boogeyman in boxing, as he is having such a hard time landing a big fight at super welterweight sanctioning bodies are deeming him fit to jump into the next division. Abraham Gonzalez was the first to break the news that Conwell was not moving up to middleweight to pursue a world title fight with Janibek, as he has his heart set on being a 154 lbs world champion at the moment.
Oh, and what is Conwell known for might you ask, all the same things as Tim Tszyu, with one exception, Conwell does it better. Conwell is faster than Tszyu, Conwell is able to adjust better. As he showed when he got cut in his last fight with Juan Carlos Abreu, Conwell has the Soul City Boxing Gym style of systematically breaking down the body of the opponent, and he has sneaky fast hand speed.
Conwell was in camp with Harrison prior to Harrison’s marquee career win against Jermell Charlo, and when photos circulated of Harrison entering Australia with the traditional taper fade that Charles Conwell is known to sport, many oddsmakers quickly shifted the line. Conwell was a game changer, and Conwell’s strengths are the things that sometimes Harrison struggles with, mostly being the mental focus.
Harrison is a brilliant boxer, coming out of Detroit, Michigan, as seemingly everyone from Ohio and Michigan can box, and box well – just look at the USA Boxing system in the amateurs. You see Michigan, Ohio, the DMV area, Texas, and California. So to say Harrison can box and has a high ring IQ is like saying the sky is blue. Who cares? It is obvious, let’s get to the substance, let's value your time as a reader.
Tony Harrison sometimes loses focus during his fights. Kris “Lightning” Lopez, of the famed Oakland boxing institution, “Lightning’s Boxing Club”, where “Dynamite” David Lopez, his son, trains out of, astutely once told me, “Lukie, Tony is like the guy who skips rope for eleven minutes straight, but before the twelfth minute, his foot catches on the rope.”
Ever since I heard that I can’t unsee it, and against Tim Tszyu, Harrison should lose. He is going to Tszyu’s home country Australia.
Harrison has struggled with pressure fighters such as Jarrett Hurd and Willie Nelson. Tszyu is not the guy to have mental lapses with, but at the same time neither is Conwell. Conwell is the most disrespected fighter in the sport right now – a 2016 U.S. Olympian, who seven years later most fight fans don’t even know was viewed as one of the best of his era.
A great amateur fighter who no longer fights was the super heavyweight on that team, Marlo Moore, used to refer to Conwell as “man-child”.
The legend of Conwell proceed him, when he fought people went to see him fight in the amateurs. Not unlike Benjamin Johnson at the No Xcuses Gym right now, people were leaving Conwell’s brackets in the amateurs when he entered the elite division.
Now, Conwell is near a world title shot, but the fans still largely don’t give him the credit. The media rarely gives him a call, the doc-u-series are not at Soul City Boxing Gym, talking with his father, as well as his trainer Otha Jones II. Instead, he is in camp – waiting and training. This is the monster that Harrison had to deal with. Tony Harrison had to spend a camp with someone who wants everything Harrison has, and every day he wanted Harrison to understand that not just is he his peer, but one day he might also be in the ring across from him for big money.
It is plausible that Harrison will pull off a decision win of some sort this Sunday in Australia, and Saturday in the United States, because Charles Conwell was taking him to uncomfortable places in the camp, making him have to answer tough life questions, rethink his deepest regrets, then go outside of the ring and continue training.
That was week after week for Harrison. We’d call it hell, for Harrison, that was his workday in the lead-up to this fight.
The man from the motor city could bring a world title back to the United States, and that fight would have been won in the gym and in the preparation for the fight. But… You can see I heavily hedged by prediction. Tszyu is on a certain trajectory, him and his planners see Harrison as a real good scalp. That trajectory will stay on the same arc. But.. Tony Harrison, having gotten that Charles Conwell work, might eff up those best laid plans.
Showtime has an intriguing one for us tomorrow.