by Sean Crose
I can only assume Dereck “Del Boy” Chisora had something wrong with him Saturday in London.
How else to explain his one sided beatdown at the hands of Tyson Fury? Sure, Chisora may not be Ali, but he’s never – EVER – looked like he did this weekend. Not in his first loss to Fury. Not, as far as I can tell, ever.
Still, under the weather or not, the Fury-Chisora match was simply lousy. This is too bad. The heavyweight division has been getting a bit exciting lately, and Fury has been one of its more colorful figures. While the British giant looked damned good against Chisora, one has to wonder why he didn’t knock his man out.
Indeed, as the bout progressed, it became obvious that Fury wanted to referee to do the merciful thing and stop the fight. Not to judge a man’s strategy, but it’s safe to assume Fury could have ended the fight himself rounds earlier than he did. Did the man really have to drag things out for ten full rounds?
Again, it’s easy to judge, but it’s not hard to imagine Fury putting his man down and out at any time after round six. There’s nothing wrong with playing it safe, of course, but aren’t fighters supposed to do more than just enough?
The British fans certainly weren’t impressed. In fact, they were booing like crazy. So much for people claiming that jabbing and clinching is a “European” style of fighting. Fury jabbed and clinched all night. And the European fans hated it.
Here’s the thing: fans want to be rewarded. It’s not that they won’t accept anything less than a knockout. It’s that they want to be rewarded. A brilliant performance is a brilliant performance, whether the fighter knocks his opponent cold or walks away with a dazzling decision win.
When a fighter looks less than his best, however – when a fighter drags out a fight he could arguably finish, well, the boxing world is not going to be pleased. And the fans were clearly not pleased with Fury’s performance on Saturday.
It was terrific, to be sure.
But it wasn’t rewarding. Or as good as it could have been. That’s not a good thing.
For Fury is known to generate excitement. He may be inappropriate at times. He may even be a bit nuts. But he generates excitement. At least he did. Truth is, he couldn’t have picked a worse time to have a dud fight. No doubt it wasn’t entirely his fault. But Saturday’s lackluster showdown couldn’t have happened at a worse time.
With Deontay Wilder, Bermane Stiverne and other interesting heavyweights strutting forward from the horizon, it would behoove Fury to always look his best. With Wladimir Klitschko clearly intending to reintroduce himself to American audiences, it’s doubtful he’ll want to face someone who fights more or less like he does.
And, make no mistake about it, Fury often fought in a Klitschko-like style on Saturday. That’s certainly not a bad strategy, but with Klitschko lighting up the number one contender in the world Kubrat Pulev last weekend with a wicked knockout, Fury is going to want to generate serious buzz – the kind that draws attention.
Look, it’s hard to knock Fury after this, his second victory over Chisora. He truly looked impressive on Saturday. He gave and didn’t take. That says something about the guy’s skill level – mainly that it’s developing by leaps and bounds. It was a new Fury in London this weekend, make no mistake about it.
If only he could be a bit more thrilling from here on out. It just might get the man the big fights he craves.