Tim Tszyu vs. Tony Harrison Fight Preview & Pick
Tim Tszyu (21-0, 15 KOs) vs. Tony Harrison (29-3-1, 21 KOs)
When: Saturday, March 11, 2023
Where: Qudos Bank Arena, Sydney Olympic Park, Sydney, Australia
Weight Class: Interim WBO 154-Pound title
Betting Odds: Tim Tszyu (-275), Tony Harrison (+200)—Odds by Bovada
Tim Tszyu battles Tony Harrison for the interim WBO 154-pound belt on March 11 in Sydney. This is a bout between two of the better junior middleweights in the world, with Tszyu, 28, the unbeaten up-and-comer, and the former champion Harrison the more-hardened veteran who, at 32, is looking to get back on top. It’s an interesting bout, and even with Tszyu having been impressive, he’s now dipping his toe into the deep end of the waters at 154 pounds. Can he continue his impressive ways, or will the slick vet Harrison prove to be a brick wall?
Recent form, home-stadium advantage, youth, and being the A-side of this event are in Tszyu’s favor. Harrison is giving himself time to acclimate, however, arriving in Sydney early. It’s still a long road trip for Detroit’s Harrison with a pronounced home-field advantage for Tszyu, who is the son of Kostya, perhaps Australia’s greatest-ever boxer. Tszyu began slow in his career, eventually battling with some solid Aussie talent, before taking on American Terrell Gausha in his last fight, getting dropped, but winning a decision. At first, as is the case with any son of a legend, the skepticism was looming, but he has established himself as a crisp boxer-puncher who is really a thoroughbred in the ring, looking all the part of a world-class fighter.
But alas, there are questions. Granted, the Aussie scene over the last 4-5 years at or around Tszyu’s weight has been a decent-quality pool of fighters. It’s not like he hasn’t fought anyone, but Harrison has been in the deep end of the pool at 154 pounds for the better part of a decade. On top of beating a group of solid contender-types, he also holds a win over Jermell Charlo. And while he lost to Charlo in the rematch, while also losing to Jarrett Hurd in 2017, he’s been a steady contender/titleholder for a while now and carries a lot of know-how and ability into the ring.
Harrison’s recent form is both promising and alarming. He’s been far less active than Tszyu, fighting just three times since 2018, going 1-1-1 with the loss in the Charlo rematch. He had a decent win over Sergio Garcia in his last fight, but before that was an alarming draw with Florida’s fringe contender Bryant Perrella, a good fighter and a tall one who is hard to fight, but Harrison getting a draw in what was supposed to be more or less a stay-busy fight was upsetting.
Urgency alone won’t get Harrison any closer to victory. He will be facing the kind of fighter a veteran doesn’t want to see. With Tszyu’s speed, liveliness, use of legs, general crispness, and attention to detail, you’re not likely to catch him slipping. Harrison will have to turn back the clock and get way more life in his legs and hands and really get after it. He won’t be able to rely on veteran slickness alone. He’s going to be in another man’s homeland. And not to paint Australia as being abundantly crooked in favoring home talent. It is, in fact, a dynamic that exists worldwide. In other words, Harrison is going to have to win rounds.
With losses to Willie Nelson, Hurd, and Charlo, one is forced to look at his win over Charlo with a more-discerning eye. And truth be told, Harrison did a heck of a job in that fight, but Charlo’s own strange apathy and lack of vision of where he really stood in the fight were almost as responsible for Tony winning as Harrison just being excellent, per se. This isn’t to paint his worth in a light that isn’t as bright. If anything, he has been a long-underappreciated fighter. But in 2023, after some dicey showings and all the inactivity, it’s easy to perhaps overstate the case a bit with Harrison and where he stands as a force in the current 154-pound division.
Again, at this level, Harrison’s prospects seem dicey. He is a truth-machine, meaning if there are any more-unseen flaws in Tszyu’s game, a guy like Harrison is more than capable of exploiting those. It’s just hard to picture him stopping Tszyu and being in his home country, winning a decision becomes supremely difficult. A more-measured and experienced battler, I wonder if Harrison is capable of the work-rate needed to win these rounds as definitively as he’ll need to get due credit. I think at this stage, Harrison depends on certain things to hang at this level. And expecting any help from the judges or opponent in this spot might not be all that feasible. I’ll take Tszyu.
My Prediction to Win the Fight:
I’m betting on Tim Tszyu at -270 betting odds. He’s the younger, fresher, busier fighter, clearly on the way up and fighting in his homeland. For Harrison, it’s a long road trip where no one will be on his side. He’s on the downside of his career, and while capable of winning if Tszyu is just not up-to-snuff, counting on outside cooperation in order to win in this spot might not pan out too well. Bet the fight for FREE by scoring a 100% real cash bonus up to $300 when you enter bonus code PREDICT100 at MyBookie Sportsbook!