Hard facts: ‘Fleabag’ Hogan not in same league as Tszyu
Too big. Too sharp. Too strong. Unbeaten Tim Tszyu will knockout Dennis Hogan within six rounds and continue his irrepressible surge towards a world title.
That is the opinion of Australian middleweight champion Isaac Hardman, whose personal sparring sessions with both Tszyu and Hogan have told him the son of Kostya will "belt" the Irish 'Hurricane' into retirement.
Having conquered Jeff Horn, Tszyu (17-0, 13KO) is eyeing another major Australian scalp when he squares off against Hogan (28-3-1, 7KO) in Wednesday night's super welterweight showdown in Newcastle.
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As is the way in the fight game, the build-up has featured the usual histrionics, with Tszyu vowing to end the career of Hogan, who hit back by suggesting the 26-year-old is overhyped.
The 36-year-old Hogan has suffered crushing back-to-back defeats in his past two world title fights against Jaime Munguia and Jermall Charlo and a third straight loss to Tszyu will leave his career in tatters.
Over the past 18 months, Hardman (8-0, 6KO) has worked up a sweat in training with both men and 'The Headsplitter' declared Tszyu will chalk up an 18th consecutive win by sending Hogan crashing to the canvas.
"Tim Tszyu is going to belt Dennis Hogan," Hardman said.
"The reality is I've sparred with both of them and Tim will finish Dennis within six rounds.
"Tim will simply be too big and too strong."
In recent months, Hardman and Hogan have been at loggerheads with the pair attacking each other on social media.
The seeds of discontent were sown in sparring, with Hogan allegedly taking umbrage at Hardman going too hard at him in preparations for his most recent fight, a seventh-round loss to Charlo in December 2019.
Putting aside any differences, The Headsplitter claims Tszyu is a class above Hogan.
"It's fair to say I don't like Dennis, he's a fleabag and I've told him that, but in boxing terms he's not in the same league as Tim," Hardman said.
"The truth is Dennis went 12 rounds against Jamie Weetch and I knocked out Weetch in one minute in the first round.
"I was initially a little nervous getting in the ring with Dennis (in sparring) because he had fought for a world title (against Munguia), but once we were in there, he had no presence or power in his punches.
"When Tim came into the ring (for sparring), I was a bit naive about how strong he was.
"He fights a division below me and I thought I would push him around, but he shocked me with how strong and physical he was.
"I quickly realised I wasn't able to dominate him, he controlled the ring really well and when he hits, he doesn't miss.
"Tim is big and engulfs the ring. It feels very small in there with him, whereas with Dennis, he is too busy flapping around and moving around like a chicken with his head cut off.
"Dennis deserves credit for his fight against Munguia. I reckon he was robbed that night in Mexico but when he faced Charlo, he got put away easily and the same will happen to him with Tim."
While Horn has questioned Tszyu's world-title credentials, Hardman believes the Sydneysider with Russian blood will climb the summit.
"Tim is good enough to win a world title," he said.
"I believe it's only a matter of time before he does it.
"Tim doesn't need to ride off his father's surname. He will go all the way himself."
Originally published as Hard facts: 'Fleabag' Hogan not in same league as Tszyu