By Sean Crose
Tyson Fury has defeated Derek Chisora before. What’s more, he’s beaten his fellow British heavyweight quite handily. One would wonder, then, what would motivate Fury to make such a complete ass of himself at a press conference on Thursday to promote a rematch between the two men.
According to Boxing News 24, Fury stepped over to Chisora, who was seated, and proceeded to make a spectacle of himself. “I’m Tyson Fury, the best heavyweight in the planet,” Fury declared. “This idiot’s getting knocked the spark out. This mother f—-r is going to sleep.” Fury apparently then decided to knock over a table.
Look. There’s little doubt that Fury has his charm. Seriously. The guy is brash and funny. He also has some genuine talent. Gerald Washington, himself a rising heavyweight, has pointed out to me that Fury’s victory of Steven Cunningham is a prime example of a large fighter maximizing his size advantage.
Still, where Washington is a gentleman, Fury is the exact opposite. Part of this may be a keen awareness of what sells, of course. Bad is good when it comes to making a name for oneself these days, after all. Yet there is such a thing taking one’s shtick too far and The Tyson Fury Show went way over the line at Thursday’s press conference.
Boxing News 24 also reports that Chisora believes Fury is pretty much falling apart now that he, Chisora, has gotten himself in shape (that hasn’t always been the case with man). That may be true, but it’s doubtful. Fury has exuded nothing but the utmost confidence, after all. It’s hard to imagine the Anglo-Irishman suddenly turning into Chicken Little, believing the sky is falling merely because Chisora has decided to be fit for the rematch.
Perhaps the man truly is falling apart, though. Fury has admitted to battling depression before, after all. That’s what makes it hard to be overly critical of the guy at the moment. Regardless of the reason, however, there’s simply no excuse for Fury’s behavior on Thursday.
If the man’s ill, then he should simply avoid such outings. If he’s emotionally fit, then he should be held accountable for his press conference shenanigans. You and I couldn’t behave in such a manner – why should a name athlete?
The truth is that the sport of boxing has always had, and always will have, its share of showman. John L Sullivan – a tough guy of Irish descent, like Fury – was reportedly boastful and boisterous back in the 1800s while characters like Adrien Broner behave in an unseemly and thoroughly obnoxious manner today.
Yet there’s a right and a wrong way to be a showman. And, provided his actions on Thursday were a matter of complete free will and not some torturous mental state, Fury is clearly going about being a showman the wrong way. There should be a wink and smile to whole thing if one does it properly. Or there should at least be an intentional goading involved that leads people to want to see you lose.
Ali mastered the art of showing off with a wink and smile. Mayweather has mastered the art of playing the villain. Guys like Broner and Fury have merely mastered the art of looking like clowns. No one takes Broner seriously at the moment and no one is going to take Fury seriously if this nonsense keeps up.
The key to being a showman, of course, is to get people to want to see you in action. Tossing tables over during a press conference is not a smart way to do that. Unless you’re a wrestler. Which is a profession Fury might want to consider at the rate he’s going.
It’s time for the guy to wise up.