Johnny Nelson has revealed that he will tell Oleksandr Usyk to “behave himself” if he has taken exception to his recent comments. ‘The Entertainer’ recently claimed that he would beat Usyk if they both fought in their primes and went on record to suggest that the Ukrainian is an ‘average southpaw’.
In response to those comments, during an iFL TV interview, Usyk called him out, saying: “Does he wanna fight me? Why is he saying things like that? Ok, I will finish it with AJ on Saturday and let him come.”
But Nelson believes the situation has been blown out of proportion by ‘clickbait’ and ‘twisted words’. Speaking to Express Sport, he said: “These guys are trying to get clickbait, I’m old enough to be Oleksandr Usyk’s dad, do me a favour. So, these people are talking like this is what I’m saying now because I was asked if I thought I would beat Usyk in my day.
“I’m not going to lie if I thought I wouldn’t have done I would have said no chance. I was asked that about Evander Holyfield, I said ‘no, Holyfield’s style would have been just too on it for me’ but against Usyk I believe I would have won in my day when I boxed.”
“People are twisting it around and taking it to Usyk, that’s what they are doing to try and wind up the situation I don’t mind that at all, I’ll bump into Usyk today at some point and he’ll probably ask me what I meant and I’ll say ‘behave yourself, I’m old enough to be your dad,’” Nelson laughed.
“I suppose it’s like asking a fighter like Mike Tyson if he would have beaten Sonny Liston in his day and you can either be humble and say ‘no, I want to stay respectful’ or you can either say what you really thought, that’s my opinion if I’m wrong, I’m wrong, but it’s just how people twist things.
“I don’t mind getting roasted now and then but you sit me down and I’ll answer those questions – but I suppose it makes good headlines for the guys that are trying to create that.”
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Fans were left baffled by Nelson’s comments that ‘Usyk is an outstanding fighter, but an average southpaw’. The Sky Sports analyst – who will be part of the broadcast team for Usyk-Anthony Joshua II – made the claim shortly after the first fight between the pair and has now expanded upon what he meant.
“Oleksandr Usyk’s an outstanding fighter, as a southpaw you look at outstanding southpaws such as Prince Naseem Hamed, such as Pernell Whittaker, such as Manny Pacquiao – they use that southpaw style to confuse, negate and knock out fighters,” Nelson told Express Sport. “Usyk’s southpaw style makes him awkward, makes him hard to hit but you wouldn’t say ‘oh my goodness, this guy’s an unbelievable southpaw’.
“Southpaws are the most difficult fighters to face but he’s not a Pernell Whittaker kind of southpaw. When you look at southpaw’s he comes to average but as a fighter, he’s an outstanding fighter, look at his achievements and what he’s done.”
• Watch the Usyk vs Joshua rematch on August 20, live on Sky Sports Box Office.