Fans have of course heard the news: how the Tyson Fury-Oleksandr Usyk heavyweight unification showdown is at last ON. Usyk, calling Fury’s apparent bluff, accepted the 30 percent split of the fight purse Fury offered him yesterday; with Usyk adding a stipulation of his own, that which says Fury must donate £1 million to the Ukrainian people, still fighting that nasty war with Russia as they are.
The fight now seems to be 100 percent done, for Wembley, on April 29. However, fans on the various forums have suggested that the ever unpredictable Fury – a man who laid down “ludicrous” and “wholly unfair” terms (these the descriptive terms fans have been using when referring to Fury’s negotiation tactics) – may now “find an excuse” to get out of the fight “he doesn’t want.” Hopefully this will not be the case. Hopefully the fight does now go ahead.
But one thing is clear: Usyk is the man, the fighting man, the champion, who has come out of this whole will it happen/won’t it happen saga as the better person. The classier person. The true spartan. The warrior who cares more about both his people and his own legacy than he does money. As was pointed out on the excellent Sporting Icons, how much could Usyk have further helped his struggling countrymen and women with 50 percent of the fight purse from the Fury fight, instead of just 30 percent of the money?
Fury, with his actions and behaviour during these past few weeks, has alienated himself from many of his former fans. Time and again it’s been posted on one forum or another from a disgruntled former fan how “I was once a Fury fan, now I’ll be rooting for Usyk.”
Okay, maybe Fury doesn’t care that he has lost some fans, maybe he doesn’t care about his image (Fury did say that he doesn’t care about money, and we know this is just not true, at all). But it could well be that Fury gets booed on the night of April 29, as fans do indeed root for Usyk. If this turns out to be the case, will Fury care about how and why his own countrymen have turned against him?
Fury will get the lion’s share of the money from the four-belt unification clash, and he may well win the fight. But Usyk is undeniably the hero of the hour in terms of this whole long, at times very shoddy episode. Usyk has proven that he isn’t governed by money, he has proven that he is a true champion who wants to be as great as can be. Usyk, in taking almost all of his world title fights on foreign shores, in the other guy’s backyard, has also proven he is a true throwback; an old-school world heavyweight champion. Usyk might go down as the last of this kind.
Who will YOU be rooting for on April 29th?