Tyson Fury: Now That The Dust Has Settled - What Have We Learned?

16.09.09 - By Paul McCreath - Last Friday evening the much talked about young British heavyweight prospect Tyson Fury challenged 30 fight veteran Big John McDermott for the latter's English heavyweight title. By now anybody who follows boxing knows that a great hue and cry arose over the scorecard of referee Terry O'Connor who had Fury the winner at 98-92. Few would argue that his score was well off the mark but that is not the subject for today. The question is what did we learn from this fight?

First of all we learned that win, lose or draw Tyson Fury is not yet ready for prime time competition. Is this really a surprise to anyone who knows boxing? He went into this bout with only 7 previous fights, all of them easy KO wins over mostly soft opponents. To step up against McDermott who had 30 bouts to his credit and who had twice dropped close decisions for the British title to fringe world contender Danny Williams was really asking a lot. That Tyson even lasted the full ten rounds with Big John was surprising to a lot of people. Seven fight novices are not normally expected to be at this level. Thinking back to earlier years we have had a couple of former world champs who were already competing against fighters like McDermott or better by their 8th fight.

Muhammad Ali fought former top 10 contender Alonzo Johnson in his 8th bout and won a 10 round decision but he was clearly on the slide by the time Ali met him so he was probably about level with McDermott in ability or ranking at that time. Ali of course went on to a great career. Leon Spinks actually won the world title from Ali in only his 8th fight years later but he went downhill from there. Both these two examples are pretty rare. Most of the past champions like Mike Tyson, Joe Frazier or George Foreman were still meeting very soft foes in their 8th fight. None of this means Fury is a future champion. I am simply pointing out that you can't expect much from fighters with only 7 fights.

Fury showed us that he still has plenty to learn. His defense is still weak and his jab lacks real snap. It may be that he does not have quite as much power as he seemed to have while winning those easy early fights. His lack of experience is there for all to see but again what do you expect? On the positive side he showed that his conditioning is improving. Fury's weight for this fight was 247 pounds, the lightest of his career. He has been as high as 261. For a man who stands 6 foot 7 that is not bad. He can still firm up a bit by changing some of that soft tissue into muscle but his weight is now about right.

We also saw that Tyson is game and he has a decent chin. He took some pretty good shots from McDermott but it was not Fury who turned his back and walked away at least 2 or 3 times during the fight to escape an onslaught of punches. McDermott was lucky not to lose points for that.It was also a positive sign to see Fury go 10 hard rounds at a good pace. Sure he was tired at the end but he had never gone beyond 4 rounds before.

In the end it hardly matters who won this fight as far as Tyson Fury is concerned.The important thing is that he survived a tough hard fought match and gained some valuable experience. There is far more to be learned from this kind of bout than what he could get out of stopping a bunch of tomato cans. The next step is important. If he is to progress he needs more good learning fights where he is at least tested. It would probably be better if he steps back a bit to slightly easier competition for maybe a half dozen fights and then he should give John McDermott a rematch. We are not going to know if Tyson Fury is the real thing for a long time yet but in my opinion he looks just as promising as ever. Maybe he will make it big and maybe he won't. It is too soon to tell.

Article posted on 16.09.2009

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