by Johnny Walker
A battle of the giants.
It is the kind of thing that captures the imagination of even part-time boxing fans.
It also might also be the closest approximation we ever get to a fight between the heavyweight champion brothers Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko.
David Price and Tyson Fury are two heavyweight behemoths (6’8″ and 6’9″ respectively) from the United Kingdom often touted as heirs to the Ukrainian brothers who have dominated the heavyweight landscape for most of the past decade: the likes of Emanuel Steward, Adam Booth, Ricky Hatton and others have enthused over one or both of the British bruisers. And the collision course Price and Fury are on now seems just as certain as the fact that the Klitschkos will never take to the ring to fight each other.
The whole thing started when Fury chose to drop his British and Commonwealth heavyweight titles–since picked up by Price– rather than face the Scouse giant. Both sides blamed the other for the decision, with Fury especially focusing on Price’s promoter, former Lennox Lewis handler Frank Maloney, who he has repeatedly denigrated as a “midget.” Fury insists that he is not ducking Price, while Maloney has taunted him with the moniker “Chicken Fury” and implied that the Twitter-loving Anglo-Irish giant is a mere keyboard warrior who is afraid of his fighter.
Perhaps noting how the “grudge match” between British heavyweights David Haye and Dereck Chisora whipped up enough public interest to fill an English soccer stadium this past summer, Tyson Fury escalated the simmering feud between he and Price over the past weekend when he took to the airwaves to call the Liverpudlian a “big stiff idiot” and a “plumber from Liverpool” after Price’s lopsided blow-out of hapless Audley Harrison. Fury also implied that Price is a homosexual (“I’ll fight your gay lover Tony Bellew between rounds”).
Rather than back off, Fury later reiterated his charges on Twitter, and posted a grainy video that apparently shows him knocking down Price as an amateur, accompanied by the words, “Price u tosser u will not get up next time!!”
Predictably, the meddlesome British Boxing Board of Control has frowned upon Fury’s statements, and there are rumors of fines and suspensions for the Anglo-Irish giant.
This latest flare-up is undoubtedly just upping the ante for a megabucks meeting between Fury and Price down the road, whether it takes place under the auspices of the BBBoC or some other sanctioning organization (Luxembourg Calling!). As Haye and Chisora proved, while when polled the public always claims it has a distaste for such boxing feuds, people always turn out in great numbers to watch them play out in the ring.
Price himself acknowledged as much in his reaction to Fury’s defamatory statements, saying, “[Fury’s] brilliant for me because, you know what, he’s going to make me a lot of money.”
Indeed, while the mild-mannered, soft-spoken Price seems destined to play the good guy in this scenario, Fury has shown that he is up for the villain role, the same role his countryman David Haye played to perfection in getting himself a very lucrative title fight against Wladimir Klitschko (Haye is so addicted to the paydays the Klitschkos offer that he’s currently desperate to get another one with Wlad’s older brother, Vitali).
So while Price may say of Fury, “He’s round the bend,” in reality Fury, like David Haye, is crazy like a fox.
Every time Fury opens his mouth to bash Price, the amount of money the two of them stand to make when they do finally meet in the ring grows larger.