Phil Anselmo: Tyson Fury – Is He For Real?
By Philip H. Anselmo
After watching Tyson Fury’s victory over Dereck Chisora, I had to let the fight sink in a bit before writing a single blurb. I re-watched it. I listened to the normally spot-on Al Bernstein’s detailed description of the action going on before my eyes, and I read some initial reports shortly after, only to come away shaking my head on certain perceptions of what went down in the ring on July 23rd, 2011.
What I liked:
I loved Fury’s attitude. He went into his biggest showcase with a shit-eating grin on his face and wore it throughout the entire fight. Whatever bravado and/or confidence he displayed before the fight spilled over into the event, all for the better. Fury mixed-up his punches and let his mitts fly in exciting fashion; to the head and body, quite unlike men as tall as he is. His jab was an effective punch but he could have relied on it more often. Had he let it go more, and with a bit more authority, the fight could have been much easier for him. He didn’t show devastating power, but his shots were/are thudding and heavy enough. He needs to learn to set down on his shots and put the full weight of his body behind his punches. If he does that, any man he hits squarely on the jaw will surely fall.
Fury has very good vision of what was transpiring in front of him. He saw most of the shots being fired at him and he reacted well. He utilized decent head movement (surprisingly) and brought his hands into position instinctively under fire. Tyson rolled with many of Chisora’s bombs like a man with more experience under his belt, which points to a natural knack for the game’s finer points. His overall upper body control betrays the average law of a man his size. Tyson’s conditioning looked the best it’s been as a pro. He kept a brisk, sometimes suffocating pace throughout the entire fight, and when he needed a breather, he still controlled the pace of the fight with strategic tying-up. Fury could stand to lose some more baby-fat, and I think he will if he works hard. A few months at The Kronk would help in this department.
Call me morbidly insane, but Fury reminded me of Vitali Klitschko-meets-Gerry Cooney at times; the GOOD assets of Cooney. And for those of you who don’t remember Gerry, besides his devastating left-hook (which Fury DOES NOT have), he had an aggressive style that complemented his size. Both Vitali and Gerry were/are herky-jerky and lanky; their styles confused opponents. Fury has the same qualities, except Tyson’s chin seems more like Vitali’s than Cooney’s.
What I didn’t like:
The first thing that bugs me is the general media’s perception of the 2nd round. No doubt Fury got nailed flush with a follow-up right hook during the very first wide, wild-swinging burst out of Chisora. But from what I saw, and from what Fury said after the fight, I don’t think the big guy was truly hurt. I believe him when he said, “I’ve never been hurt, never been buzzed (in boxing)”, and that goes for this instance as well. I love Al Bernstein, and I’m sure Chisora’s punches had plenty of pop ringside. And I’m sure as an announcer, fanning the flames for the TV audience comes natural. But 98% of Chisora’s shots were hitting Fury’s arms or gloves, or just glancing blows. I appreciate Al’s enthusiasm, but Fury was hardly “hurt” by the one flush shot that snuck through.
No doubt Fury has to learn how to use his feet a whole lot better. He allowed Chisora to walk straight in on him too often, when tactically he could have spun the shorter man, jabbed and/or stepped away.
At 6-9”, I didn’t like when Fury would fall in on Chisora and grapple, although tactically it worked because of his size advantage. He’s fortunate Chisora was a wide puncher bereft of a long, straight jab. If/when Tyson faces an opponent who punches up the middle and down the pipe; he could be in for a true crisis. He doesn’t use his tallness or physical advantages at crucial times, when in truth, there should be no crucial times with his skill set and sheer size. Why should he EVER bend at the waist to engage? He shouldn’t…
And the last thing was his constant switching from orthodox to southpaw. Fury mentioned that he hurt his left hand, but that doesn’t justify the sloppy switching. To the trained-eye, he looked amateurish in the process. He’s very lucky he wasn’t in with a more experienced opponent who could’ve taken advantage when he’d square-up.
With some more work with Emanuel Steward, he will improve in all the fundamental departments of dislike I mentioned a la the way Wladimir Klitschko did, except Tyson Fury likes to scrap. And the boxing gods couldn’t have picked a better time to bless us with a big guy who likes to fight tooth-and-nail. Fury has to learn to box tall and set down on his shots. If he does, he could be extremely tough to beat.
As a personality, religious rants aside (for you GC), Fury is likeable, he is outspoken and he’s over-the-top brimming with confidence. He is as marketable as it gets, especially with his name, his attitude, gift of gab and mere presence. If Fury works on his conditioning and boxing skills like an ultra-devoted athlete should, we could be in for some excellent boxing moments out of the young gun.
With the likes of (in no particular order) Alexander Dimitrenko, Robert Helenius, Alexander Ustinov, domestic rival David Price, Denis Boystov, Kubrat Pulev, and Alexander Povetkin out there as possible career-defining fights for Fury on his way up the proverbial ladder, the heavyweight division seems destined for a resurgence, IF Fury does the work outside the ring it takes. And of course, if these possible fights ever take place.
We’ve seen the likes of Povetkin run for cover when the time came to face the best in the world in Wlad Klitschko. Lets hope Fury doesn’t scare off these potential opponents (or their promoters) in the future, because he’s fun to watch.
If Wladimir Klitschko, or even Vitali for that matter, hang around and keep on defending their titles, and Fury takes his time and gets the seasoning he needs, a fight between he and one of the brothers could be epic.
Make no mistake; I’m not saying Tyson is even halfway close to the level of the K-Brothers, but Fury has the size to actually reach either brothers chin, and the punch variety and output to make things very uncomfortable, and very DIFFERENT for them; something most opponents SAY they are ready to do, but fail to execute in the process. Fury could be “the guy”, one day, to finally put the K-brothers out of their ever-present comfort zone.
Tyson Fury is a breath of fresh air in a stagnant division. Success for Tyson solely depends on his future preparation and how seriously he takes his promising career. And for the sake of us boxing fanatics, lets hope he does take his time, fights the right boxers and works his way into contention, using the correct avenues to be at his most destructive when his name is called upon to face the elite(s) of the heavyweight division.
PS- If David Haye keeps on fighting after his 31st-B-Day, and if Tyson cleans house along the way, a clash between the two Brits would/could produce one of the biggest shit-talking, bragging-right-type fights of the decade. I hope it happens one day… just to revel in the craziness of it all.
Philip H. Anselmo is a musician, vocalist, songwriter for such groups as Pantera, Down, Super Joint Ritual and Arson Anthem. You can keep up with Phil’s latest music production and going-ons, including his video interview with former New Orleans Saints star Jeremy Shockey at www.thehousecorerecords.com