There are things in life I don’t understand. Okay, that list probably is fairly long, but only a few of the items on the screed really perplex me. Let me put it another way. There are things that are popular. And it’s not so much that I can’t understand why they are, it’s that I can’t grasp why they are so popular.
Take Dave Matthews. I can see how it’s pleasant enough. I suppose that Crash tune is a pretty good song. But there are people who will drop what they are doing and chase after him for entire summers.
Or how abut The Big Bang Theory? Its network just announced this coming season would be its last. Did you know there are 12 seasons of The Big Bang Theory? And here’s the thing. They are quitting on their own. Not because their ratings are low. No, America has not tired of a one joke, laugh-tracked comedy about people who do the same thing over and over. The very well-paid producers and actors got tired of themselves before the television watching public did. It boggles my mind.
What does any of this have to do with boxing, you might ask? Let me get to that. I’ll start by asking this question.
What in the Hell is the attraction to Tyson Fury?
Let me be clear, I don’t hate the guy. In fact, being a person who struggles with anxiety on a daily basis and depression on an occasional one, I’d like to get behind a guy who’s so open about his own struggle. I just can’t do it. And what really gets me, has me scratching my bald head until I’ve just about broken the skin, is why does anyone?
Don’t get me wrong, anyone can like anything. Styx..
..sold millions of records for chrissakes. People go to Transformers movies on purpose. Fine. To each his own…up to a point.
When it comes to Fury though, I am at a loss. While I would never say he’s completely untalented, he’s not the second coming of Muhammad Ali. Or even Buster Douglas for that matter. For the most part, he’s a guy who has slopped through a bunch of fights against mostly second tier fighters, and who happened to catch Wladimir Klitschko on the day Father Time called in his marker.
For a fight that was considered a huge upset at the time, it was also one of the greatest in ring eyesores I have ever witnessed. Two big guys wandering around the ring. The champion calcifying before our very eyes, barely throwing a punch, and the challenger doing only slightly more. It was like watching two statues daring each other to move. Only less exciting.
Then afterwards, Fury let out all the eccentricity he’d been waiting to unleash on the public his entire life. Talking in self-aggrandizing circles. Butchering a country song in the middle of the ring as an expression of love to his wife. The ridiculous thing is his off-kilter warbling was an improvement on his ring performance.
Then things got really weird. Fury was accused of doping. Tested positive for cocaine. Ditched on a rematch with Klitschko and was stripped of his title. He basically disappeared for two years. Years I now see as blissful. Not only because I find him so aesthetically unpleasant in the ring, but because he’s been even worse out of it. Before his sabbatical, he called fighters David Price and Tony Bellew “gay lovers.” He has implied being transgender is akin to bestiality and rape. He has blamed the Jews for killing Jesus. He proclaims himself a Christian man, but I don’t think any of that qualifies him to wear a WWJD bracelet in any fashion other than an ironic one.
And look, I know boxers aren’t sweethearts. These guys punch each other in the face for a living.
Machismo, smack talk, and bad behavior often come with the territory. What I don’t see with Fury is what allows fans to overlook his antisocial tendencies. With Mike Tyson, you could understand. Because in the ring, he was an animal. A force of nature. Whereas Fury has largely proven himself to be a force of gasbagging.
Yes, I’m aware he has an undefeated record. Past Klitschko, who do we get excited about on his resume? Steve Cunningham? Dereck Chisora? Really? Certainly not the two tin cans he’s dispatched with in dispiritingly dull fashion during this comeback which has somehow lead to a title shot with Deontay Wilder.
I had originally skipped out on watching his last fight against the lightly-regarded Francesco Pianeta. I love boxing, but I had a good feeling how this one was gonna go. Fury was going to lumber around the ring. Throw occasional punches. Do enough to win against a guy whose name we will soon all forget and then make a spectacle of himself in the post-fight interview. It’s not like you need to be Nostradamus to see into that future. Alas, I did go back and watch the fight. As it turns out, I was wrong about absolutely nothing.
Yet somehow, boxing Twitter was all aglow at the idea of The Gypsy King taking on the Bronze Bomber. And hey, I suppose Fury could win. Wilder is not exactly the most polished guy and, in a fight sure to be uglier than Rudolph Giuliani’s 1996 combover, anything could happen.
But I ask you, what will we win? How is this entertaining? Must we be such easy lays?
Fury is a man who has behaved in cheap and repugnant ways outside of the ring. His fighting style is a near-perfect match for his personality. He can’t sing for shit either. He’s mostly just loud.
It’s true that his family story and his battle with depression is – in the abstract – interesting. But, he is not.
Tyson Fury doesn’t put on a show. He puts on a side-show. All that’s missing is a bearded lady and a guy who swallows swords.
How in the world is this a thing?
Gay Accusation (Price and Bellew): https://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/watch-homophobic-tyson-furys-gay-10574392
Jews killed Jesus: https://www.badlefthook.com/2016/5/13/11673936/tyson-fury-talks-zionist-controlled-media-and-bestiality-in-latest