Misdirected Fury: the scorecard was off target but the fight was close

FuryBy Andrew Harrison - safeside oftheropes .com - Dick Turpin was at work in Essex last night protested Frank Maloney, promoter of John McDermott, the stout English heavyweight who found himself on the wrong end of controversial 98-92 verdict from referee Terry O’Connor after his battle against the highly touted Tyson Fury.

Maloney had every right to be livid with O’Connor’s points tally in this English heavyweight title fight, which was way off target incidentally, however the fight itself was a close one and the deluge of ‘robbery’ claims which have followed would appear to be equally as cock-eyed.

Having poured over the fight again today with a more inquiring eye, I turned in a 96-95 card for McDermott (5-4-1 in rounds), however the final round was difficult to score (I gave it to John by the slenderest of margins), as was the sixth, which I called even..

Perhaps my judgement was impaired somewhat owing to the controversy and cries from some quarters than Fury hadn’t taken so much as a round, scoring perception can be altered in such cases and one can subconsciously overcompensate. Nevertheless, I had Fury racing to a 3-0 lead in rounds, due to his snappier work with the jab and greater industriousness.

Rounds four and five were clearly McDermott’s as Fury’s fitness began to hinder him, this only his eighth pro outing and the young giant finding himself facing the strange scenario of an opponent returning fire.

The sixth was tough to split, however McDermott came on again in the seventh, landing a hefty right over the top after a bright start to the round from Fury, following up with a hurtful left hook. Lead lefts and hooks from ‘Big Bad’ John were able to override Fury’s pecking and poking to level the fight up.

McDermott, squat and sturdy, chugged slowly forward in the eighth, landing perhaps the best punch of the fight, an overhand right which crashed against Fury’s head midway through the round. Fury was visibly tired at this point, this being the furthest he’d been extended and having completed more rounds here than in his last three fights combined.

Tyson responded in the ninth, focussing in on McDermott’s midriff with quick, popping shots and hurting the home fighter just before the bell with a chopping right hand.

The last was tight; McDermott nicking it for me with a handful of hard, clean punches in what had been a decent domestic level bout, if a somewhat scrappy affair.

Quite where O’Connor’s scoring came from is a mystery and any ire from fans should be directed in his direction. Everyone is fallible of course and off nights can occur, however this was pretty startling, McDermott clearly battled his way to victory in more than two rounds.

As for Fury, now fingered by many as a villain, there are upsides and down.

His game, despite his name and his frame, should be based on work rate and combination punching rather than power, that’s what will separate him from much of the chaff. In order to facilitate this, he needs to increase his fitness and I mean ten fold, as in Enzo Calzaghe directed conditioning. His defence needs considerable work as does his punching technique; he displayed too many weary arm punches here.

The upside is that after only a handful of fights, he’s able to mix it with domestic top ten heavyweights. He’s also shown a great appetite to get in there and fight against decent men, calling for an immediate rematch post fight.

McDermott can rightly feel aggrieved at the verdict however in a perverse way, his own profile may profit from the controversy surrounding the fight. People are talking about this one, folk who normally don’t follow boxing. In fact at work on Monday I’ll wager that they’ll be talking about John, which can’t harm his career whatsoever.

Far too often, fans and indeed the media can jump on board a bandwagon and a dubious judge’s card can lead to cries of ‘fix’ and ‘robbery’ (Sky’s rather one sided commentary may not have helped in this regard). That wasn’t the case here, the fight was close enough for argument and both fighters’ careers can progress.

Quite what becomes of Mr. O’Connor’s however now remains to be seen.

Article posted on 13.09.2009

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