Wladimir Klitschko (-125) vs Tyson Fury (-105)
Tyson Fury (25-0, 18 KOs) is an idiot who’s wrong about a lot of things. One thing he’s right about, though, is that he’s not a role model. Following his massive upset of heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko (68-4, 53 KOs) in November, the 6’9″ Briton should be a role model for younger generations of UK boxers; but his sheer ignorance ensures that he won’t be.
Now the majority of the enlightened world will be hoping the 27-year-old gets his face smashed in when he meets Klitschko in a mandatory rematch later this year. [UPDATE: the rematch has been scheduled for
July 16 at Wembley Stadium July 9 at October 29 at Manchester Stadium in Manchester, England. Fury’s WBA (Super), WBO, and IBO belts will be on the line. His IBF Heavyweight Title will not.]
Fury came into the first bout as a big +350 underdog (roughly 7/2). But Klitschko looked every day of his 39 years, unable to muster the speed necessary to land his jab on Fury’s elusive noggin. The two fighters connected at the same rate (23-percent, according to CompuBox), but Fury was the more active, landing 86 of 371 punches versus 52 of 231 for the defending champ.
Fury also landed thirty more power-punches than the jab-happy Klitschko (48-18) and wound up with a unanimous decision; two judges scored the bout 115-112, one had it 116-111.
Fury now holds The Ring, IBF, WBO, IBO, and WBA (Super) Heavyweight belts.
In all likelihood, Klitschko overestimated his own lagging abilities and underestimated Fury. He didn’t have a game plan and it showed, opting to clinch with the larger man after nearly every exchange.
The 6’6″ Ukrainian – who has an 81-inch reach – isn’t often faced with larger opponents, but he’s looked good in past bouts with bigger men. Back in 2012, he dominated Mariusz Wach (6’8″, 83-inch reach); the Pole barely won a round en route to a unanimous decision loss. So Klitschko certainly has the ability to overcome a height and reach disadvantage.
Indeed, his three previous losses all came via TKO to men 6’4″ or shorter, none of whom had a reach greater than 80 inches.
If Klitschko can regain some of the (relative) speed that allowed him to dominate the heavyweight division for the better part of 12 years, the rematch should be a much different story.
Fury is a massive man who’s not what you’d call quick. Pundits expected the trademark Klitschko jab and straight right to find their mark with consistency. Fury’s bobbing tactics proved a lot more effective than most expected, but Klitschko now knows what to expect and will have months to prepare.
The Ukrainian is the much more accomplished fighter and has seen – and triumphed over – basically everything the heavyweight world has to offer. He should be able to outclass Fury the second time around. But maybe that’s wishful thinking for the soon-to-be 40-year-old.
Prediction: Klitschko (-125) via unanimous decision.
(Photo credit: BerlinBeyond2011 (Flickr) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons. Photo has been cropped.)