I spent this weekend in enemy territory otherwise known as Pittsburgh, PA with my wonderful girlfriend in order to attend one of my best friends weddings. It was a perfect Friday wedding (on a side note - all of you couples planning weddings I highly endorse Friday weddings. It gives your out of town guests plenty of time to explore your home city).
After the wedding and reception, which featured the Pitt Panther, I dragged my exhausted better half back to the hotel where she promptly passed out by about 10pm. I had no problem with this as it let me watch the Tyson Fury / Richard Power match up on ShoBox.
I've been looking forward to this fight for the entire 48 hours since I learned there was a boxer named Tyson Fury. Born in Manchester, but of Irish Traveller ancestry, Fury was taking on a last minute replacement from California who is also training for mixed martial arts. Eager to see if lived up to his name I joined Al Bernstein and some other guy from York Hall in England to see the Fury take on the heavily tattooed American. Fury vs Power - eight rounds of non-title action.
It was....well....let's see...ummm...not exactly Gatti/Ward I. It wasn't even worthy of trying to find a fight to compare it to. Let's check out my live facebook coverage of the eight round match up:
through 2 rounds I have fury up 20-18. Big dude (6 9), a soft looking 263, not sure if he has the hand speed to be elite, thunderous but slow right hand.
Friday at 10:20pm · LikeUnlike ·
Halfway through the fight 4 rounds to 0 for Fury. For a big dude with an 86 inch reach he actually fights better on the inside. Power is eating a lot of right hands, Fury doing well with the left hook to the body - straight right to the head combo
Friday at 10:27pm · LikeUnlike
Fury continues his shutout through 6. I have it 60-54 for Fury. Rich Power looks like I do after a 3 minute jog - exhausted. He landed a solid uppercut dislodging Fury's mouthpiece, but had nothing left to follow up with and had to withstand a barrage of Fury punches.
Friday at 10:36pm · LikeUnlike
It's over. Fury wins. Rich Power looks like he just wandered the desert for 40 days and 40 nights. Am I sold on Fury? Not yet. He does some things I like, but is out of control a lot of times. Would like to see how he does against better competition. Look for a wrap up on The Hopeful Chase sometime tomorrow.
Friday at 10:45pm LikeUnlike
The ref agreed with me and awarded Fury a victory by decision. Oddly enough in the match up the ref is the only one who scores the fight. The Showtime analysts didn't care for that method of scoring as they believe that the ref should only concern himself with the rules of the fight. I can't say that I disagree.
After taking a few hours to reflect on the fight there were a lot of things to like about Tyson Fury besides his name. He was active with the jab, followed up his straight rights with solid left hooks and worked the body. While he didn't knock out the overwhelmed Power he did punish him through the final two rounds to a point where it seemed Power was thinking about giving up.
Some things I didn't like. His hand speed was slow even for a heavyweight. As he steps up and faces tougher competition they will be able to dodge or block those shots and counter. He also leans his head forward when he jabs, with an 86" reach that few boxers out can match, he reduces his advantage every time he leans forward. With his slow hands again he leaves himself open to counterpunching.
Fury did some of his better work inside, constantly landing shots to the body while an exhausted Power tried to wrap him up. The overwhelmed American threw few punches (odd to watch a fight without HBO's CompuBox numbers) and let Fury dominate anytime they clinched. Better competition will not let Fury it that easy on the inside and will force him to work faster and harder.
He wasn't in the greatest of shape, while I expect few 263lb. athletes to be cut he also showed signs of tiring as the fight progressed into the later rounds. There is no way he would have lasted 12 rounds. The Showtime crew mentioned that the arena was extremely warm and that might of led to the sluggish action from both fighters, but it's no excuse to look the way Fury did after 8 rounds.
It is still early in his career, Friday night's win was only the 12th time he's fought as a professional, and there is still time to improve. So I don't expect him to take on Chris Byrd or either of the Klitchko brothers any time soon. At 22, he has time to improve his weaknesses and improve as a boxer.
If he is able to make the next step then perhaps he will live up to the potential of his name. So for now his induction into the Wasteland Hall of Fame is delayed until at least his next match.