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Tyson Fury: Gypsy king or master manipulator?

By Allan Cerf

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Tyson Fury is one of my favorite boxers.  I’m even more a fan of his personality:  a very intelligent, colorful man whose comedy turn on British TV was genuinely funny, whose thoughtfulness in terms of fans chatted or reporters accommodated is the stuff of legend and a bloke who puts the ‘B’ in blunt.  In a good way. 

 

His super extended, at times, brilliant interviews with the British press often given while sharing great-looking food, run the gamut – his Traveler heritage, controversial political and religious views, to hilariously, which fan base is stupider: “American idiots or British mugs.”  Asked what he did on a cruise, he replied in a way no Hollywood star would dare: “Shagged me brains out, ate me brains out, drank me brains out.” 

 

Fury taunts promoters with threats of slaps with impunity and without exception, refers to pugilistic peers as ‘bums.’  David Haye’s “real stiches” aside - Fury’s charisma did indeed scare the Londoner right out of fighting him. It is Fury’s unreal self-belief even more than considerable physical attributes that is the mainspring of his success.  Let’s face it: Philadelphia is a great city and one I love but, in some locations, truly terrifying. 

 

Tyson Fury stepping to Steve “S.S. Cunningham’s” entourage and laughing in their faces about their gangster credentials is one of the most arresting things in recent memory and my favorite Windows wallpaper!  Who will Fury deconstruct next- Afghan warlords? 

 

All this from an almost 30-year-old man who at times plainly detests boxing. Fury is more than occasionally - full of - “rhymes with writ” and has held the heavyweight division ransom for two and a half tedious years. 

 

Fury stated plainly that Vlad Klitschko almost knocked him out, twice.  I believed him in 2015 as I believe him now because he continues to say it: none of today’s heavies come close to that vintage Vladimir and he could retire happily on that note.  In fact, he did just that for over two and a half years. 

 

Do I think that Fury’s drug-taking, failed tests, childish sulks, alleged depression and claims of bankruptcy were largely a front to enable him to party behind the scenes while having a quiet laugh at the boxing business for two + years?  Absolutely.  Do I also think his ceaseless worrying about a lack of skills outside the sport has convinced him a loss would be catastrophic?  You bet.

 

Tyson Fury is not new.  Ten years ago he began to create a buzz.   Incorrectly described as being raw and 6’10” (he was even taller in the past) footage reveals a cleverly brought along fighter with skills, one who waited and waited…as years rolled by…and then, aged 25, suddenly launched an hilarious – but absurd campaign, stating all heavyweights avoided him.

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At a bit less than his vaunted 6’9” (unless Klitschko is almost 6’ 9” and he’s not) Fury nonetheless possesses unbelievable physical attributes and is proof that just as hockey now has 6’7,” mobile defensemen, boxing has an NBA forward-size pugilist with the reach of a freakin’ gibbon. 

 

Fury’s  trainers, father John and uncle, Peter Fury, have also imparted true ambidexterity, amazing footwork and an encyclopedic boxing knowledge.  Mix together with innate athletic talent, stir vigorously – and you get one formidable fighter – with or without one punch power.  

 

If Fury had fought Joshua or Wilder in 2016-17 he would have rightfully entered either bout as a prohibitive favorite.  If Artur Spilka can give Deontay nightmares and if Klitschko (who needed only to close affairs in rounds 6-8) can put Joshua on life support, prime Fury beats either, probably on points, with relative ease.  But this is not 2016 -17.’ 

 

And then…the failed test. When he failed (but was forgiven) I thought about giving up on the heavies.   Yet when he retires, he’ll certainly say: “Mate, if you don’t take them, you simply can’t compete.”  

 

Indeed, a top American PED’s expert and medical doctor told me that Joshua’s gaining 10+ pounds of pure muscle after the 2012 Olympics through normal means is simply impossible.  Fury is hardly alone in British boxing when it comes to things that make you go “hummm”

 

Fury’s comeback against Sefer Seferi, a man almost a foot too short? 

 

Should be amusing, glorified sparring. 

 

Tyson Fury is a net/net bottom line kind of guy.  The net?  If his boxing self-belief remains – and it’s not clear to me that it or any real interest in the sport does remain – he should regain the championship without terrible troubles. 

 

With/without chemical help, he is simply much better than Joshua and Wilder.  Any but a slightly younger Klitschko.  Was 2015 really three long years ago?

 

  

 

 

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