Tyson Fury took full advantage of a wonderful opportunity: Weekend Review
Tyson Fury: Sometimes timing is more important than ability. Fury seems to have fought Wladimir Klitschko at precisely the right time and was good enough to take advantage of his good fortune in a miserable fight Saturday in Dusseldorf, Germany. We must recognize Fury’s accomplishment. The colorful Briton did something no other fighter has done since 2004, taking down the heavyweight king to win the RING, IBF, WBA and WBO titles and end Klitschko’s streak of consecutive title defenses at 18. Fury didn’t do much in the ring other than to fight with energy and some elusiveness while landing a few harmless punches along the way. He connected on only seven punches per round, according to CompuBox. And, believe it or not, that was more than enough to give him a well-deserved unanimous decision: 115-112, 116-111 and 115-112. Tyson Fury is the heavyweight champion of the world. Amazing. We also must be honest, though: That fight had a lot more to do with Klitschko’s bizarre inactivity than it did Fury, whose crude technique and minimal punching power probably don’t portend a long reign atop the division. Fury should have a chance to test that theory in his next fight, as Klitschko reportedly plans to exercise the rematch clause in the contract he and Fury (25-0, 18 KOs) signed. If he can beat Klitschko again, then, of course, he will bolster his legitimacy as a titleholder and slam the door on the Klitschko era. If he loses, he might be remembered as the guy who outhustled an aging champion and then faded away. Either way, I have no doubt that such heavyweights as Deontay Wilder, Anthony Joshua and Alexander Povetkin watched the fight on Saturday and are now licking their chops in hopes of getting a crack at the new champ.
Wladimir Klitschko: The fact Klitschko lost to Fury was shocking. The fact he lost in such a manner was, well, surrealistic. I think that’s the right adjective to describe the effort of a long-reigning champion who gave himself no chance to win a decision because he suddenly failed to throw punches at a reasonable rate. The numbers tell the strange story: Klitschko (64-4, 53 KOs) threw an average of 19 punches per round, landing only 4.3 of them. And this one is staggering: He landed only 18 power punches the entire fight, 1.5 a round. In other words, the longtime champ didn’t show up. How do you explain that? The obvious answer is his age, 39. Klitschko had problems in his previous fight, a competitive decision over inexperienced Bryant Jennings in April. Those might’ve been the first signs he was slipping. The signs on Saturday were red flags. I appreciate the effort of Fury, whose constant movement made him a difficult target. “I couldn’t find the right distance to land,” Klitschko said. I think Klitschko was his own biggest problem, though. He might’ve been unable to let his punches go, as they say. That’s a sure sign of a shot – yes, I used the word “shot” – fighter. I have no idea whether Klitschko is that far gone. I suspect we’ll have a better handle on that if and when he and Fury meet again. I know this, though: His effort on Saturday was pathetic, one of the worst I’ve seen in a title defense. He would’ve been better off losing his belts by knockout. At least then he could then say, “Hey, it happens.” What happened in Dusseldorf is much harder to understand.
The second-most stunning result on Saturday was Adrian Granados’ eighth-round knockout of fast-rising contender Amir Imam on the James DeGale–Lucian Bute card in Quebec City. Imam, a slick boxer with power, seemed to be stamped for stardom before he stepped into the ring with the rugged 26-year-old Mexican-American from the Chicago area. Granados (17-4-2, 12 KOs) overwhelmed Imam (18-1, 15 KOs) with his punch volume before burying him in a vicious barrage in the eighth, which prompted the referee to save Imam. Granados might’ve earned a shot at WBC titleholder Viktor Postol with his victory. ÔÇª DeGale (22-1, 14 KOs) defeated Bute (32-3, 25 KOs) by a wide decision to retain his IBF super middleweight title. Still, Bute, who is 2-3 in his last five fights, fought well enough to say he took a very small step in the right direction. I suspect he’s not finished.