Fury vs Whyte: The Dark Shadows of Boxing
It has been a build-up like no other, and in boxing, as we know it, that is saying something.
Much of it has been tiresome, childish even. One half went missing for reasons that both sides will never agree on, and even when we finally had a full set of participants, another ugly side of boxing threatened to overshadow everything.
A Zoom Press Conference on Thursday carried little substance and more than a little sense of the scripted. Many questions were asked, but the narrative after was all about the questions that weren’t asked. The obvious questions would have been answered with for legal reasons and not much else. A wasted question or thoughts of credential self-preservation, either way, they never came. They should have.
He who can’t be named or mentioned will play a major role as fight week progresses. Daniel Kinahan might be a Lord Voldermort like figure in boxing, and even the promotional wizards of smoke and mirrors will not be able to wave a magic wand to make it all go away. It is a story that will linger long in boxing. The smell of the aftermath of the story will not go away quickly or quietly. It will claim many victims if victim really is the right word. Victim implies some semblance of innocence.
Boxing has never been short of the unsavoury, history tells us it’s an unwritten rule that it is regrettably deemed acceptable. Boxing has never been pure, it attracts the unwanted and at times it seems to welcome them with open arms. If you have the money, come and join the party. But when reality hits, the silence is often deafening, except for the few remainders who no doubt will be hitting the delete button in the coming weeks. Sometimes you have to read the room and say nothing. And then hope. Not everything in boxing stays hidden forever. Many will pray, it does.
But the dark shadows hide the fact that we have a very good world heavyweight title fight on the horizon. Tyson Fury might be a heavy and deserved betting favourite to turn back the challenge of his fellow Brit, but Dillian Whyte will bring plenty to the table in a fight that is by no means a foregone conclusion. If you fancy the upset, the odds of 9-2 for a Whyte victory or even the 5-1 that is available for the challenger to win by stoppage look too tempting to ignore.
Sadly the fight will get lost in everything else that surrounds it. We have a very good competive fight, and that is a novelty in itself, that will lose by suffocation to the ugly side of the sport. The fight deserves better, boxing deserves better. Or does it?
Boxing badly needs a deep clean, in truth, it always has, probably even more so in the present day. Lessons need to be learned and the hope is that the latest sorry episode will be where the penny finally drops. But unfortunately, this observer, won’t be holding his breath. Once this episode has run its not so natural course, expect more of the same as the dirty money wheel of boxing moves on elsewhere. Boxing will likely never learn. But it needs to.