It’s a little bit audacious — A lot, actually — to think that a 20-year-old first-year pro could teach the lineal heavyweight champion anything, whether it would be about boxing or about life.
Tyson Fury, who is now also the WBC champion as well as the lineal king, is a 31-year-old married man with five children. This is a guy who was on the verge of suicide and put his life back together.
Jared “The Real Big Baby” Anderson is a 20-year-old first year pro who is 3-0 with three knockouts after a modest amateur career. He was recruited by Fury’s team to serve as a sparring partner for Fury’s rematch with Deontay Wilder on Feb. 22.
Fury won that fight by seventh-round finish, and was never really threatened.
Anderson, a 6-4, 235-pounder who served as Fury’s No. 1 sparring partner, was hardly shocked.
“He was so ready for that fight, I knew he was going to go out there and put on a show,” Anderson said of Fury.
Anderson will fight for the first time since Fury defeated Wilder when he meets Johnnie Langston on June 9 on the undercard of Top Rank’s first show since the coronavirus pandemic began.
He’ll be a different fighter, he said, for having spent the time with Fury.
“Huge confidence boost for me,” Anderson said. “It kind of let me know where I am in this boxing business and how far I’ve come. I learned what it takes at the very highest level. And it was great because it was all family, all love, no infractions, just all great times. We taught each other stuff and we had fun together.”
It’s a little odd how a neophyte pro and such a young man could teach an accomplished professional like Fury anything. And while he couldn’t come up with any specific examples, he said “more family stuff, things like that.”
Anderson doesn’t lack for confidence despite an amateur career that had its ups and downs. He won the 2017 and 2018 national championship at 200 pounds, but was just 21-5 with three KOs.
He’s scored first-round knockouts in each of his first three pro fights, but he’s not a guy who goes out looking for the KO. And he’s not going to be upset, he said, if he doesn’t finish Langston.
Instead, his goal is to put the lessons he’s learned in the gym with Fury and in his most recent training camp into practice in the ring.
“Every fight is important and you can’t go into a fight putting more emphasis on it than on others,” he said. “I prepared myself the best I can and now I want to perform the way I have prepared. I’m coming to win and at the end of the day, that’s what matters to me. Win the fight, do the things we worked on, show progress and get home and get back at it.
“I’m not looking to prove anything or get some big fancy KO or whatever. I just want to win and establish that I have made progress since the last time people saw me.”
He plans to wear a tribute to George Floyd, the black man who died last month while in police custody in Minnesota, on his trunks. Protests have gone on around the nation for more than a week, though Anderson hasn’t joined them because he’s been holed up in camp.
He said he’s had bad interactions with police and has been racially profiled, but he struck a conciliatory tone.
He supports the Black Lives Matters movement, but said he believes that only a small percentage of police officers are the ones doing things against blacks and people of color.
“I think we need to be out there making our voices heard and protesting what has happened, because too many people have died at the [hands of the police] who didn’t need to die,” Anderson said. “There is a lot of pent-up aggression and people are fed up because this has been going on for years.
“I don’t support the looting and the rioting. I am in favor of the protesters and I support them with everything I have. Things need to change, but I don’t think that breaking windows and looting and that kind of thing is the way to go about it.”
He speaks with the wisdom and maturity of a man much older than his tender 20 years. And he’ll fight that way, too.
“I think I’m going to shock a lot of people, to be honest with you,” he said. “They’re going to see me and say, ‘Wow, where did that kid come from?’ I feel like people who have seen me before are going to be amazed at how far I’ve come.”
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