Hatton questions if Tyson Fury has done too much damage to his career
By Tim Royner: Ricky Hatton questions whether former heavyweight champion Tyson Fury (25-0, 18 KOs) has done permanent damage to his boxing career with weight gain and 2 ½ years of inactivity. Former 2 division world champion Hatton feels that with excess weight that the 29-year-old Fury has put on and his years of comfortable living and inactivity, it could be too late for to undo all that and make a successful comeback.
(Photo credit: Ricky Hatton’s Facebook)
Fury wants to make his first fight of his comeback in April. It might be a little too soon for him to be fighting with him still carrying around a lot of weight. It’s rare that a fighter that has been out of the ring for as long as Fury has is able to stage a comeback and get back to the level they were at previously before they stopped fighting.
Hatton was out of boxing for the same amount of time as Fury in not fighting for 2 ½ years after a bad 2nd round knockout loss to Manny Pacquiao. When Hatton attempted to stage a comeback in November 2012 against Vyacheslav Senchenko, he was knocked out in the 9th round. It was obviously fight for Hatton to take in facing a contender from the welterweight division instead of easing back into competition, but he felt he didn’t have it any more physically during that fight. Hatton then walked away from boxing and never fought again. Hatton believes we might see the same thing with Fury. He’s a little younger than Hatton was when he made his comeback after 2 ½ years, but he could still fail just as badly once he faces his first quality opponent.
“The one thing that worries me is in the two or three years he’s had out, has he already done too much damage? If he’d fought Anthony Joshua maybe six, seven months after Klitschko, he’d have beaten him,” Hatton said to PA Sport via ESPN.com. “Can he claw back the damage he’s done with putting on the weight, and whatever’s happened in his life, can he get that back? I don’t know.”
Fury has mentioned wanting to fight former world champions Shawn Briggs and Antonio Tarver soon. Fury needs to make sure he doesn’t fight either of them too soon in his comeback, because he could be dealt a defeat. Those guys are experienced fighters. Tarver is more experienced than Fury, and he has the kind of boxing skills that would give him problems.
If Fury is wise, he’ll learn from the mistake Hatton made by making sure he slowly makes his way back to fighting world class opposition rather than facing then right away. If Fury could spend 1 to 2 years facing 2nd tier fighters before he starts fighting bottom level fringe contenders. There are a lot of good journeyman level fighters for Fury to face in 2018 and 2019.
Living a sedentary lifestyle since his last fight in November 2015 might be too much for Fury to come back from. Fury has been eating rich foods high in calories and living the life of a non-athlete. It might be asking too much for Fury for him to shake off the rust from all those years of soft living for him to be able to come back to regain a world title. Fury can still make a ton of money by fighting IBF/WBA heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua in 2018 or 2019, because the boxing public will pay to see the fight in high numbers. But Fury will need to be extra careful that he doesn’t fight anyone too good for him before he gets that big money fight. If Fury loses to someone before he faces Joshua, then the boxing public won’t want to pay to see the two of them fight each other.
It’s unlikely that Fury will be able to get back to the level that he was at before. Fury was always a flawed fighter anyway in terms of lacking punching power, and his tendency to slap a lot. Fury beat Wladimir Klitschko, but that’s a fight that he could have lost had the Ukrainian fighter come into the match mentally prepared with his late trainer Emanuel Steward still with him. Wladimir wasn’t the same fighter once Steward passed away. Outside of the win over Klitschko, Fury’s best victories were against Dereck Chisora, Christian Hammer and Steve Cunningham. That’s not an impressive list.
Chisora and Hammer are fringe contenders at best. Cunningham, a former cruiserweight champion, never belonged at heavyweight in the first place, and he was old by the time he fought Fury. Wladimir looked mentally like a shot fighter when he fought Fury. To be honest, Fury was probably overrated to begin with even when he was at his best. Now that he’s been out of the ring for close to 3 years, and put on well over 100 pounds, it probably will be too much for the 6’9” Fury to come back from for him to be able to be a word champion at heavyweight again. You must remember that the only reason Fury beat Wladimir is because the Ukrainian wouldn’t let his hands go. That loss more than anything was Wladimir’s fault rather than due to Fury doing anything special.
If Fury is unable to ever get back to the level he once occupied at the top of the heavyweight division, then at least he’ll have his memories of his big win over the 40-year-old Wladimir Klitschko to live off. No one had beaten Wladimir since 2004. Fury did an excellent job of it. Whether Fury would have been able to beat a prime Klitschko while he was still with his trainer Steward is another thing altogether. Its unlikely Fury would have been able to beat Wladimir when he was at his best.