Not since Bill McMurray accidentally inflicted a cut above George Foreman’s eye in sparring prior to Foreman’s monster fight with Muhammad Ali, has a heavyweight sparring partner been so much in the news. As everyone knows, Tyson Fury suffered a cut in sparring just two weeks ahead of his massive, four-belt unification showdown with Oleksandr Usyk, and almost as soon as it happened, the conspiracy flood gates burst open.
Photo: Queensberry Promotions
From theories (all without proof) that Fury inflicted the cut on himself, or else he ‘paid someone’ to cut him open, to even wilder, crazier accusations, some people have been (are are still having) a field day with this story. And to some degree, Fury brought much of it on himself, as so many times over the years has the WBC heavyweight champion lied, contradicted himself, and pulled out of fights.
But as Fury said himself on the cut he suffered above his right eye, this from an elbow, “s**t happens.” It does indeed, and it happened to Foreman all those years ago in Africa.
This from Wikipedia:
“Eight days prior, Foreman was cut above his right eye by an accidental elbow thrown by his sparring partner Bill McMurray in a sparring session. Foreman’s cut required 11 stitches, and the date of the fight was pushed back five weeks.”
Sound familiar? Perhaps eerily familiar. It may have been pointed out already, but this is almost identical to what happened to Fury – an accidental elbow, the cut above the right eye, the wound requiring 11 stitches. The only difference is, the Fury-Usyk fight has been postponed for a little over three months, not five weeks. And of course, another big difference is, there was no internet back in 1974, a platform on which basically anybody can express their sometimes whacky views and opinions and get a large audience.
Fury WAS cut, it was by sparring partner Agron Smakici, and it WAS an accident.
Smakici, a 20-2(18) heavyweight contender from Croatia, has now spoken to IFL TV, and the 33 year old southpaw confirms he did unintentionally inflict the cut above Fury’s eye.
“Unfortunately [my name being in the news] is bad news, because I cancelled the biggest fight. But it wasn’t on purpose,” Smakici said. “That’s nonsense [that I said I didn’t feel bad about what happened]. Because I’m telling you, it was a punch. I threw a punch, I know I feel the punch, but he was pulling my head forward – and maybe it goes to the elbow. But I didn’t [do it] on purpose. [Ahead of our spar] I was asking Mr. Sugar (SugarHill), ‘what kind of sparring should I do?’ He said just do however I feel. So I was trying to move a lot, like Usyk, avoiding punches, hitting the body, and I also do professional wrestling, so I was wrestling with him as well. He was looking good, really good. I can’t say he wasn’t in shape like [the way] people are writing.”
So there it is. This should pretty much be the end of the speculation and the conspiracy theories, although it most likely will not be, and what’s the bets some people now say Smakici is ‘in on it’ and is merely saying ‘what he has been paid to say?’
But we now all move on, and the new date of May 18th (one that has already been shot down by many people, who say it won’t happen) hopefully gives us a great fight. Finally.