Right up until last November 28, I had gone on the record over and over again, stating my belief that Tyson Fury would never become the Heavyweight Champion of the World. I was hardly alone in my opinion. The overwhelming majority of boxing writers and fans predicted that the long-time champion from Klitschko would make Fury just one more notch on his belt.
But Fury proved us all wrong. The fight itself was atrocious. I consider it the most ugly fight I have seen since Evander Holyfield dropped a majority decision to Nikolai Valuev in December 2008. I think that Fury’s victory says at least as much about Klitschko’s heart circa 2016 as it does about Fury’s ultimate worth as a fighter.
But he deserved to win, without question. Fury is the man who beat the man.
Unfortunately, he might never get the opportunity to defend that status. He is currently in the middle of the worst public melt down boxing fans have seen since the days of his namesake, Mike Tyson. It is a tragic thing to behold. Just when Fury had made so many of us eat our words, his life appears to be coming unravaled. No matter what happens now, he has become a piece of history. We can only hope he will set his life back on track, even if he never does resume his career.
Meanwhile, British promoter Eddie Hearn appears set on making Anthony Joshua a replacement opponent for Klitschko–if not this month, than at least before the end of the year. Klitschko would represent a huge step up for Joshua, whose best previous win came against either Dominic Breazeale or Charles Martin, neither of which was a world beater.
But if Klitschko fights the same uninspired fight against Joshua that he did last year against Fury, I think he will get knocked out. Klitschko seemed flat-out intimidated by for-once facing an opponent who could stand up to him physical. Joshua is smaller than Fury, but large enough to go toe-to-toe with Klitschko.
And let’s hope the winner of that fight faces Deontay Wilder, in a long-overdue unification bout.
Meanwhile, Luis Ortiz waits on the horizon. The undefeated Cuban is the best heavyweight in the sport right now, in my opinion. But closing in on 40, he is running out of time. It will be a tragedy if he can’t get his big break before it is too late.