The TAB is offering almost even-odds on David Tua and Alexander Ustinov, going into New Zealand's biggest boxing match-up of the year in Hamilton tonight.
The bout is expected to begin at about 10.30pm at Claudelands Arena, and punters seem torn between the punching power of the trimmed-down Tua, and the giant Ustinov's reach.
Tua had been favoured to win the clash on the New Zealand TAB earlier in the week, but by today (Saturday) Ustinov had become the favourite paying $1.80 to the Kiwi's $1.95.
Tua by KO was marginally the most popular result on the TAB at $2.20, compared to Ustinov winning on a points decision ($2.50).
Tua has stayed out of the public eye today, knocking back bacon and eggs for breakfast then carb-loading on a big spaghetti bolognaise for lunch.
Ustinov was seen pacing around his Hamilton hotel at 8 o'clock this morning, said promoter Dean Lonergan, and looked "nervous".
"Any time anyone shakes his hand, he's sweating profusely," Lonergan added.
"And David's told me directly, every time he looks in Ustinov's eyes, he can see the fear."
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David Tua vs Alexander Ustinov live
Date: Sat 16 Nov 2013 7:00pm
Claudelands Arena, Waikato ,Hamilton,New Zealand
12 rounds - Heavyweight division
Hydr8 ZERO - David vs Goliath
Tua vs Ustinov Fight live on TV | NZ Boxing David vs Goliath Live streaming 16.11.2013 . 41-year-old David Tua (52-4, 43 KO’s) potentially has a very tough fight ahead of him this Saturday night against the 6’7 1/2″ Alexander Ustinov (28-1, 21 KO’s) in their scheduled 12 round bout for the vacant WBA Pan African heavyweight title at the Claudelands Arena in Hamilton, New Zeakland.
Tua will be giving up 8 inches in height and 11 inches in reach against the huge 305 lb. Ustinov, and it’s going to make it very tough for Tua to land his power shots. We saw Tua in a fight like this years ago when he was dominated by the 6’5″ Lennox Lewis by a 12 round unanimous decision in November 2000. Tua, 5’10″, was too short to land his big left hook against Lewis and he ended up losing by a set of lopsided scores.
Tua’s situation for Saturday’s is a lot worse than it was when he fought Lewis because Tua is a lot older, and he’s coming off of a two year layoff from boxing. The last time Tua fought was way back in August of 2011 when he was beaten by journeyman Monte Barrett by a 12 round unanimous decision.
Tua’s power was still there as seen by his 12th round knockdown of Barrett, but his work rate, speed and ability to throw combinations was no longer there for him. Tua showed in that fight and his other fight against Barrett the previous year in 2010, that he’s little more than a pot shot fighter. With Tua coming off of a 2-year layoff, you can imagine that Tua’s skills and stamina have eroded even further to the point where he’s going to be struggling with his stamina and his work rate.
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