By: Daniel Smith
Could Tyson Fury deploy an ‘Ali’ style game-plan when he finally squares off against Deontay Wilder, this Saturday, December 1?
“The Kansas City Shuffle” is an old foot-tapping jazz tune that originates from 1920s America. With its chugging beat and colluding instrumental tale of entwining dupery; the song itself refers to an astute form of con-artistry whereby the “grifter” deploys a “bait and switch”-style hustle to a heedless “mark”. In essence, the shrewd con-man hoodwinks the mark into looking to the left while he whips-away to the right, having just swindled a fool from his money or goods.
From 1920s jazz to Muhammed Ali and George Foreman’s 1974, heavyweight clash, “Rumble in the Jungle”. Ali challenged and knocked-out the formidable, power-punching Foreman after eight punishing rounds of boxing. An earthquake result that shook the boxing world, not forgetting a financial sucker-punch for the bookies, too, as Muhammed Ali was a 4-1 underdog.
To an extent, it could be considered Ali utilized the fundamentals of The Kansas City Shuffle’s, “bait and switch” tactic – a game-plan that certainly flummoxed and exploited Foreman over the course of the first round. During the months, weeks, days and minutes leading up to the fight, Ali convinced the world (including Foreman) that he was in fact, too fast and too slick for the slow, lumbering “Mummy” – a nickname he famously gave to antagonize George.
In a fusion of speed, skill and pomp, he predicted: “Big George” would be out-boxed, out-classed, and rendered unable to lay a single glove on him. And it didn’t matter whether it was in front of the world’s media or to a handful of people in a room, Ali declared he was ‘gonna dance’ and sting Foreman all night with lightning-fast jabs and make him look slow and foolish. However, in the opening round, Muhammed Ali didn’t dance. Instead, he let his hands go and tried to knock Foreman out by planting a batch of right-hand leads straight into George’s face, one after the other – the “bait and switch” play no-one saw coming – especially not Foreman.
But for all its genius, Ali’s plan “A” was to no avail, as the more shots he landed the more aggressive Foreman became. By round two, George was thunderously banging away at Ali’s flank with big-powerful, annihilating hooks. At this point, the rope-a-dope; Ali’s plan “B” was immersed into deep, choppy waters. And in round eight, after throwing a torrent of vicious punches, Foreman was gassed-out and exposed to Ali’s five-punch combination and the final right that floored an exhausted George, crowing Muhammed Ali a two-time world champion.
Now, while Tyson Fury and Muhammed Ali are not comparable; in this instance, “The Gypsy King” is the lineal champion, the underdog and a heavyweight boxer about to square off against a ferocious fighter: the WBC champion and division’s most devastating power-puncher, Deontay “The Bronze Bomber” Wilder. So, some similarities could again be considered.
Like Ali, Fury is the boxer, an underdog, the man who was stripped of his titles and a man who faces a fearsome and heavy-hitting brawler. Wilder’s a man Fury can’t knock-out with one punch and a man who is equally as tall, fast and can take a punch. So, along with his technical ability, awkward-hybrid style of boxing, Tyson Fury will need a solid game-plan that flummoxes Wilder and aids “The Gypsy King’s” victory.
So, when the bell rings for round one, we may well see Fury rush towards Wilder and let his hands go early on. This may completely rattler the WBC champ and force him to make mistakes, providing openings for Fury to dish-out some heavy artillery. If an impression is established from the off, Fury will be up on the cards, leaving Wilder possibly chasing the fight, throwing wild shots and being punished for it in the process.
Fury, from round two, may switch back to boxer-mode and keep moving; occasionally spearing out his thudding jabs.
Round three may see further explosive attacks from Fury, followed by more footwork and a sound defence.
Rounds five and six, Fury may showboat a little in between targeting Wilder’s body – an area not many have charted.
Seven and eight – fundamentals implemented: clinching, holding and leaning from Fury, in attempts to frustrate and wear-out his opponent.
Nine and ten may see Wilder’s best chances to knock Fury through the ropes with his trademark right, accompanied by his wild, windmill punching onslaught.
If both are still on their feet for eleven and twelve, then the busy work early may have generated enough momentum, placing Fury ahead on the judges’ scorecards and producing another massive, shattering upset as “The Gypsy King” becomes a two-time world heavyweight champion – something not many envision.
But this is heavyweight boxing and it could well be all over in the first round (more so for Fury) if Wilder lands a monstrous shot to the jaw – that much is possible.
And whatever the result, a cracking fight should be on the cards come Saturday, December 1.