COMMENTARY | When 24-year-old undefeated heavyweight prospect, Tyson Fury (20-0, 14 KOs) isn't busy comparing UFC star Cain Velasquez to a part of the female anatomy, he can be found jabbering on and on about his own self-proclaimed greatness.
Never has a fighter who has accomplished so little, talked so much, but the boisterous Brit shows no signs of slowing down or shutting up.
To be fair, the 6' 8" Fury is on a fairly solid path for a 24-year-old prospect. Wins over Americans Kevin Johnson and Vinny Maddalone have added a level of international credibility to his status as an elite-level fighter on the UK circuit. There's still a long way to go, but Fury is certainly on the right path despite his claims of current world superiority.
This Saturday, April 20, at the Madison Square Garden Theater in New York, New York Fury will face his most accomplished opponent to date in two-time former cruiserweight champ, Steve Cunningham (25-5, 12 KOs) in an IBF eliminator for the no. 2 spot in the organization's rankings.
Philadelphia's Cunningham will be giving up six inches in height, three inches in reach, and likely as much as forty pounds on the scale. The 36-year-old veteran will also be giving up twelve years to his younger rival. However, "USS" Cunningham has been around the block a few times and has been places where Fury still only dreams of being. While only sporting a modest 4-4 record in world title bouts, Cunningham had faced a who's who in the cruiserweight division before making the move up to heavyweight. Bouts with Tomasz Adamek, Marco Huck, Guillermo Jones, Yoan Pablo Hernandez, Troy Ross, and Krzysztof Wlodarczyk pack a thirty-fight resume and serve as testament to the fact that Cunningham has most definitely not been a protected entity.
But, predictably, Tyson Fury is not impressed.
"There's only one star here and it's not Steve Cunningham, this is the Tyson Fury roadshow…Steve Cunningham is not the champion, he's not the best looking," Fury told the media, doing his best Muhammad Ali impersonation. "It's all about me, me, me. I'm the best fighter on the planet. I'm the undefeated one, I'm bringing this show to town; without me there is no fight...Steve Cunningham is a stepping stone."
Fury has also gone on record as saying that he will immediately retire if he delivers anything less than an easy blow-out victory in New York this Saturday.
The fighter from Manchester has done lots of talking ahead of this first American bout of his five-year career and has rubbed a lot of people the wrong way. He has also put himself in a position where anything short of a masterful, dominant performance against Cunningham will be a total let down.
Despite his bluster and his knack for making headlines, Americans have been slow to warm up to the lumbering contender. Instead of making waves in the "new world," Fury only appears to be a favorite of the quote-hungry media. The fans aren't falling in love with his confidence or even lining up to see him get his comeuppance. There's really not that much of a buzz at all.
In the next couple of days, the boxing media will be wondering aloud whether Tyson Fury is the next big thing or just another heavily-hyped pretender to the heavyweight throne. He's definitely the type of fighter that gets a disproportionate amount of media coverage because of his gift of gab. But, ultimately, it all comes down to what he can do in the ring.
Right now, the loudmouth heavyweight is nowhere near as awesome as he claims to be-but that doesn't mean that he can't necessarily get there someday. And while he attempts to prove himself as something more than a media quote machine, Tyson Fury's journey from contender to title challenger should make for a nice little show.
Paul Magno was a licensed official in the state of Michoacan, Mexico and a close follower of the sport for more than thirty years. His work can also be found on Fox Sports and as Editor-in-Chief of The Boxing Tribune. In the past, Paul has done work for Inside Fights, The Queensberry Rules and Eastside Boxing. For breaking news, additional analysis, and assorted crazy commentary, follow him on Facebook, @TheBoxingTribune or on Twitter, @BoxingBTBC.
Source: The Daily Mail
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- Tyson Fury
- Steve Cunningham