Dubois vs Joyce: Big Fight Preview & Prediction
Before all the hysteria of a heavily hyped circus going on in America a few hours later, London will see a heavyweight fight of real importance and significance. There are British, Commonwealth, European and belts of lesser importance on the line, but the belts up for grabs only tell part of the story.
Two unbeaten British heavyweights will fight for titles and so much more. In an era of avoidance Daniel Dubois and Joe Joyce deserve credit, and plenty of it, for fighting each other, especially this early in their professional careers. Both could have gone down a completely different route in their hunt for glory on the world stage.
Joyce at 35, appears to have more to lose. Dubois is young enough at 23 to be repackaged to come again. But Joyce doesn’t have time on his side, and if he does lose and quickly there may not be a road back.
Dubois (15-0) is ranked number two by the WBO and depending on how the Anthony Joshua Tyson Fury situation plays out, a win on Saturday could see Dubois possibly fighting Oleksandr Usyk for the vacant title early next year.
Joyce (11-0) sees Dubois as the route to gate crashing that party, a win and he puts himself right in line for a crack at the world heavyweight title. It is very much a calculated gamble for Joyce, but the rewards on offer justify the considerable risk.
The fight has been scheduled and cancelled three times during the course of this pandemic hit year. But finally and thankfully all parties have found a way. Dubois and Joyce have compromised enough on their pay to not only enable the fight to take place without a live gate but also to remove one of the paywalls which are now seemingly inevitable with any fight of magnitude. PPV events are now sadly the accepted even when the fight doesn’t warrant it, Dubois vs Joyce is a refreshing and welcomed removal from the normal.
There is little doubt that this is a tough fight to call, the odds may favour Dubois, but Joyce is more than capable of winning. Joyce is around 3-1, which seem highly attracting odds.
Joyce is the fighter with the more proven pedigree, albeit in the unpaid ranks. An extensive amateur background including an Olympic Silver medal in 2016 and does seem the fighter that is or very near his peak. Dubois looks to have more potential to develop as a fighter, Joyce is more or less the finished article, and you sense he is as good now as he ever will be.
Dubois is the fighter in the embryonic stages of his fighting life. Limited amateur experience, and despite doing everything expected of him so far in his professional career, Dubois hasn’t been tested, and certainly not to the extent he will be on Saturday night.
Neither fighter has gone into a professional fight before with the real expectation that they could lose, that changes on Saturday night.
Dubois is still very much the unknown quantity, very much in the novice stage and there is the credible view that it might have come too soon for us.
But Dubois has been earmarked for occasions such as this since he first turned professional in 2017. Stories of Dubois dropping Anthony Joshua in sparring created interest, his performances since have added to it. Even very early on you could sense the apprenticeship would be short.
The comparisons with Frank Bruno have done the rounds, and there are certain similarities between the pair. Bruno lost to the likes of ‘Bonecrusher’ Smith and Tim Witherspoon partly because of his lack of experience, not having yet learnt to conserve energy, how to buy time when the energy levels drain away.
Too many easy fights early in a career buy reputations but they don’t buy experience. This fight does to a certain degree, remind me of Witherspoon vs Bruno, and Joyce could very well be too much for Dubois at this stage of his career, as Witherspoon was for Bruno on that famous night at Wembley.
Joyce has been labelled robotic, crude and one-dimensional, but he has made his style work for him. Physically strong, constant forward pressure Joyce must be a nightmare to fight, the sort of fighter who never stops coming at you.
But will Joyce be successful as he moves through the levels, especially when he is hardly a defensive maestro?
We saw in the Bryant Jennings fight, that he can be hurt. Jennings hurt him badly to the body in the opening round of their fight last year. If Jennings can hurt Joyce, it is a reasonable assumption to believe Dubois can.
But there are doubts about Dubois. Until we see him coming through dark moments in the ring, we can’t be certain he can survive a gut or chin check.
Dubois can leave himself open when he starts to unload, Nathan Gorman had his moments in the opening few rounds in their much-anticipated domestic clash. Gorman didn’t have the power to hurt Dubois, but will he be so fortunate if he does the same against Joyce.
But Dubois adjusted in the 4th and 5th rounds against Gorman and boxed a more disciplined fight, including varying his attacks, specifically, the impressive body work. That could be definitive on Saturday night.
The narrative being pushed for who wins is Dubois early or Joyce late. I don’t necessarily see it that simplistic. If Dubois comes out with the intention of taking out his man early, Joyce, if he survives would indeed be favoured as the fight progresses, as his opponent empties his gas tank and runs out of ideas.
But if Dubois shows the required patience, mixes up his work, especially targeting the body, that for me, is his route to victory. While Joyce can’t be ruled out, I think his aggression and relative lack of defence will be his downfall.
I don’t see Joyce being able to relentlessly march forward against Dubois and not sustain heavy damage in return. If Dubois keeps it tight in the early stages, uses that excellent thudding jab of his, then I think he is the more likely winner.
Dubois will probably have to go into the later stages of the fight, but I think eventually his power will wear Joyce down, and force the stoppage somewhere around the 7th round.