Boxing

Fury, Maccarinelli and Khan

By Kenny Rushby: It's nothing that the excellent writer James Slater hasn't already said really, but I thought I'd put my own views forward on the recent UK bouts involving Tyson Fury, Amir Khan and Enzo Maccarinelli. Now I've seen all of Tyson Fury's fights so far, and it's clear to me he is a marketable guy. His name, for example, is one that sticks in the memory, stands out from the crowd, also he is just 20yrs old and 6'9" tall. A dream for any promoter worth his salt, right?

He does have some good boxing attributes for such a young, strapping lad too - good handspeed compliments a good variety of punches, he seems confident and aggressive and is fast gaining an interested fan base..

His first three fights were really a showcase of his size and power, Saturday night against Swaby was his first real opponent, a guy who, before David Haye, had handed Welsh knockout-artist Enzo Maccarinelli his only defeat. Swaby had also publically stated his desire to find out just how hard Tyson hits. I was also very interested to see if Tyson can take a shot, and hoped Swaby could last long enough to do so.

He didn't. He did land one good right hand to the side of Tyson's head, but Fury didn't register it. Fury has also allegedly stated in all his fights, pro and amateur, he has never been put down or even rocked, and said he'd sparred 30 rounds with Afolabi (who knocked out Maccarinelli this night) but was never bothered, and is confident the chin is good. Time will tell.

What I did notice was three times he almost turned his back when Swaby attacked, something I'm sure any future opponent will have taken note of too, the first time he almost seemed to run away. It's a habit he needs to get out of quickly, learning to tuck your elbows in tight would be a good lesson for him, especially being so tall it'd be very effective and good for a counter punch, which again would suit Fury with his fast hands. Turning your back will only get you in trouble against a good opponent.

But the plus points are there to see - he does have good handspeed, good reach, a nice variety of punches and ability to put combos together, he is learning patience in a fight and looks to be in better shape every time I watch him. The kid is only 20, while I know his namesake Mike Tyson was World Champion around this age, I still think Fury has a good future, but if I was his manager I'd be busting a gut to get him some top class coaching, with the TV revenue this kid can bring I'm sure I'd get the cash for that too.

So once again we got a little more insight into his potential, but he still hasn't had a proper test.

Enzo Maccarinelli took on US-based British fighter Afolabi, in what was really his 'big comeback' fight after the Haye knock-out (despite his foray into the Heavyweight division against low-class opposition in his previous bout). He looked in better shape then I've ever seen him before, and we knew beforehand Enzo could punch, but he has seemed a bit 'chinny' in the past, and this really came to light against Afolabi. In the third round Afolabi hit him with a reasonable punch, but Enzo's legs did a 'Zab Judah', and if he didn't have the ropes to hang onto, I think he would have gone down.

He dominated the fight after that, Alofabi doing plenty of showboating but offering nothing back in terms of telling shots. It soon became apparent to this writer it was 'rope a dope' time all over again, Alofabi was clearly comfortable with Enzo's power and as soon as Enzo had blown himself out, Alofabi had him in trouble, cumulating in a spectacular shot to the chin which put Enzo's lights out. Enzo later blamed a lack of sparring during training, but for me it was just poor tactics, he wasted too much energy, blew himself out and again showed he may be a 'chinny' fighter.

Before the bout he was vocal in saying he wanted Adamek after this fight, but this just goes to show you should NEVER think past your next opponent. 'Cos the chances are he isn't thinking past you.

And so we come to Amir Khan versus Marco Antonio Barrera. A fight I couldn't call beforehand, mainly because I didn't know just how much Barrera had left in the 35yr old tank.

Having watched Khan for basically his whole career, there can be no doubt about this kid's speed, aggression, technical punching and indeed power punching, he has crumpled nearly all who stood before him. But I was crying out to see him in there with a real puncher, especially after the Limond and Gomez knock-downs. I duly got my wish with little-known Prescott, and I saw what I'd always known - the guy is glass-chinned.

There is a cure for such an ailment - a sound defense. Freddy Roach, who is no joke coach(!), is about as good as you could get to teach such a thing. If Khan can avoid being hit cleanly, he will win a helluva lot more than he loses, that is for sure.

So, here he is put in the ring with a legendary warrior, a real Mexican brawler who can box too. OK, past his prime without doubt, and also stepping up in weight to fight an already big lightweight. But surely sooner or later he'll stick one on Khan's chin, right?

Nope. Khan started boxing fantastically, in and out, using superb speed and utilising his reach. Barrera looked a little shaken, like he'd realised this kid was actually a decent fighter. Unfortunately a clash of heads saw Barrera badly cut to his forehead, right above the eye, and straight away I knew that was the end. Barrera had no chance of timing counter-punches or working his way inside with the amount of blood that was pouring into his eye. He gamely battled on but Khan was simply too quick and powerful, and Barrera was taking a beating. It was rightly called to a halt by the doctors, and Khan had his first 'big name' on his CV.

Many will say Barrera wasn't hurt, and I do agree with that, but even before the cut Khan looked too much for the aging Mexican. MAB always had a punchers chance, but I couldn't see him winning this one, cut or no cut. Khan held a new high guard for most of the fight, and clearly the new coaching has taught him much. Like many fighters before him, maybe the Prescott defeat was the best thing to happen to him, but personally I feel like many true champions before him Khan will only get nod from boxing aficionado's when he avenges his defeat to Prescott. Certainly that's the fight I'd like to see him take within his next three bouts.

So there we have it; Tyson Fury? Good prospect, but bigger tests are needed. Enzo Maccarinelli? UFC for the heavy-handed Welshman? Amir Khan? On the way to big things, will definitely fight for a World Championship one day - as long as he keeps that chin protected!

Article posted on 15.03.2009



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