Tyson Fury: A Reality Check in Vegas
I heavily criticised the decision to put Tyson Fury vs Otto Wallin on UK PPV, have I changed my opinion in the aftermath, definitely not.
Yes the fight was much more competitive than it looked on paper, Wallin is undoubtedly better than we thought, but that doesn’t change one single thing about my opinion on it being on PPV.
Just because the fight was far tougher for Fury than most thought, and Team Fury probably wanted, my views remain the same.
However, that aside the fight has left us with much food for thought. Wallin despite losing his unbeaten record on Saturday night, comes away from Las Vegas with his stock very much enhanced. His brave effort will surely mean his phone will ring again, and he will get another opportunity at this level.
But did he perform so well because of how good he was, or how bad Fury performed, a little of the two would be a fair viewpoint.
Despite the usual tiresome over the top pre-fight promotion talk, this type of fight was almost certainly not in the script for Fury, Wallin was picked for a specific reason.
Fury won the fight, 116-112 seemed a fair reflection by most. But Fury survived a terrible cut and a spirited effort from his opponent to prevail via decision.
Long-term this will do Fury the world of good, a much-needed reality check. Fury got universal praise for his incredible performance against Deontay Wilder last year, and while it was fully deserved, I wonder with the benefit of hindsight if some of it was over the top.
Many seemed to view that the rematch with Wilder was a mere formality. Fury would improve from the first fight, and would leave no doubt to his supremacy in the return the narrative said.
But immediately afterwards in my post-fight article I wrote that while Fury may well improve, but I also thought Wilder couldn’t perform that badly again.
Wilder entered that fight probably thinking Fury posed little threat to his title. The two comeback fights of Fury would hardly have cost Wilder much sleep, and without that fear or respect, his performance levels would definitely have dropped.
Anthony Joshua was in a similar situation against Andy Ruiz Jr, you need to be switched on from the get go, trying to change mindset mid-fight is hardly ideal.
Maybe Fury was in the same situation against Wallin, if so, he now knows nothing can be taken for granted in boxing.
The 12 hard rounds will do him good, Wilder might now go into the rematch over-confident, Fury knows he has much to work on.
Fury didn’t make the statement he or his immediate team wanted, but the benefits of Saturday night will be seen when Fury is again looking across the ring and seeing a much formidable opponent looking back at him.