By Johnny Walker
Tomorrow night at Wembley arena in London, England, the greatest heavyweight trash talker since David “Ouch, my toe” Haye, as well as the fighter with the greatest name in boxing history, Tyson Fury, will step into the ring with current British and Commonwealth heavyweight champion Dereck “Del Boy” Chisora, and attempt to live up to the hype he has created around himself in the last few months.
Both of these fighters have identical 14-0 records, yet it feels like this fight is more about the 23-year-old Fury than it is about Chisora. Perhaps that is because Fury has produced a Haye-like stream of trash talk for this fight, talk that led to the two fighters scuffling in the audience of a boxing card they weren’t on, and talk that also resulted in a Chisora boycott of the final press conference for Saturday’s fight. The latter incident was caused when Fury outdid David Haye’s threat to send Wladimir Klitschko to the hospital by threatening to kill Chisora in the ring (he later apologized, but Chisora didn’t want to hear it).
Fury also recently bragged that he was ready to do what Haye couldn’t manage and defeat Wladimir Klitschko, but then quickly backtracked on those remarks, perhaps after getting a call from the world heavyweight champion, who he has sparred with in the past (Fury has also previously worked with Wladimir Klitschko trainer Emanuel Steward, but Steward is not on board the Fury Express for this fight).
Perhaps this is what David Haye’s mouth has wrought: after all, the vociferous Haye secured himself a very lucrative payday against Wladimir Klitschko, one that many (including this writer) felt was unmerited based on what he had, or more accurately hadn’t, done in the ring as a heavyweight. Vitali Klitschko admitted as much when he said recently that his next opponent, Tomasz Adamek, had earned a title shot by fighting, while Haye had gotten his by trash-talking.
Fury has obviously taken note of Haye’s swollen bank account, and has turned the volume up to 11 in his pre-fight taunting of “Del Boy.”
Like Haye, the self-promoting Fury has gotten people’s attention, which is a good thing both for him and the sport he is in–as long as he backs up his words in the ring. No doubt more than a few viewers will be tuning in Saturday hoping to see Chisora shut Fury’s mouth and eliminate another heavyweight trash talker from the scene, while others will be hoping that the 6’9” Irish giant proves to be the real thing, the anti-Haye who can back tough words with meaningful action.
Chisora, interestingly, has mostly taken the opposite route from Fury for this fight, opting to maintain an air of quiet calm while Fury runs off at the mouth. In the past, Chisora has not been averse to engaging in some heavy duty pre-fight mud-slinging: he went so far as to call Wladimir Klitschko trainer Steward an “Uncle Tom” in a presser for his canceled fight with the world heavyweight champion. Perhaps Chisora has since noted the dark side of the trash-talking strategy, especially after watching Haye’s rapid fall from grace in the UK when he failed to live up to his words.
By keeping quiet, Chisora has taken seemingly taken some of the pressure off of himself for this title fight — which promises to provide the slugging action that many felt was lacking in the heavily promoted Haye-Klitschko encounter – and let Fury place it on squarely on his own broad shoulders instead.
Of course, any fighter with the name Tyson Fury already has a lot to live up to, and his remarks like, “I am the future of British heavyweight boxing, I’m the man who can bring the world title back to Britain,” only add to the psychological burden that Fury will carry into the ring, especially after the last British heavyweight to make such claims flamed out so badly.
At today’s weigh-in, however, Chisora stunned observers by tipping the scales at a heavy and out-of-shape looking 261 pounds, the highest weight of his career, while Fury was a very trim 255 ½ pounds, five-and-a-half pounds lighter than his opponent while having a nearly a seven inch height advantage. Perhaps this is an indication that Chisora has been shaken more than he has let on by Fury’s antics, and has been seeking solace somewhere other than the boxing gym.
If Fury can pull this fight off and score a convincing win, we will have a new heavyweight contender to take seriously in the coming months.
A loss, however, while not fatal for someone as young as Fury, will cause many, especially in the UK, to write him off as just another loudmouth who talked the talk, but couldn’t walk the walk when his time to shine came around against an out-of-shape opponent.
Whatever happens, the result will be a crucial one for the future of the heavyweight division.