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Fury not pulling his weight to build Wilder mega-fight

Deontay Wilder, Tyson Fury boxing photo

By Scott Gilfoid: Tyson Fury needs to step it up and start fighting world class opposition again if he wants to help make the rematch with WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder into the mega-fight that his promoter Bob Arum is hoping it’ll be in 2020. It’s going to take more than Fury continually calling himself the “lineal heavyweight champion”, and fighting fodder opposition like Tom Schwarz to turn his rematch with the unbeaten Wilder (41-0-1, 40 KOs) into the blockbuster that it could be.

Does Fury deserve a 50-50 split with Wilder?

While Fury is taking soft fights against Schwarz, Wilder is doing the hard work to build the mega-fight with him beating talents like Dominic Breazeale, and now Luis Ortiz. There’s a mammoth difference in what Wilder is doing to help make the rematch with Fury a blockbuster compared to him. As such, if Fury just wants to hitch a ride on the Wilder express to take advantage of his hard work, then you can argue the split for that fight should be tilted heavily in Wilder’s favor by say 60-40. You can’t say Fury deserves a 50-50 split with Wilder if he’s facing weak opponents like Schwarz. Fury’s NOT one of the heavyweight world champions, and he’s not on the same level as Wilder by saying he’s the “lineal champion.”

Andy Ruiz is a world champion with his IBF, WBA and WBO belts. Fury with his lineal heavyweight champion status is NOT a champion. You can argue the whole lineal stuff that Fury is constantly talking is a passive way for him to try and put himself at the same level as WBC champion Wilder and IBF/WBA/WBO champion Ruiz Jr. It doesn’t work that way unfortunately. The only belts that matter are the world belts, not lineal straps won many years ago an old timer Wladimir Klitschko.

Arum is predicting the Wilder-Fury rematch will do t least 4.6 million pay-per-view buys in the first quarter of 2020, but that’s not looking like it’s too likely given how Fury is slacking off in fighting soft jobs like Schwarz. The Wilder vs. Fury 2 rematch will be big, but it’s not going to bring in anywhere close to the PPV numbers that Arum is talking about unless Fury starts facing good opposition like immediately.

His fight with Schwarz was an embarrassment last weekend. That was a wasted opportunity for Fury to create interest in him and Wilder with the U.S public. Top Rank should have taken advantage of that opportunity by matching Fury against someone like Filip Hrgovic, Michael Hunter or Evgeny Romanov. Those guys would have pushed Fury to the limit, but at least he would earn the Wilder rematch. and help built it.

Fury smashed the 6’5″ Schwarz to bits last Saturday night in stopping him in the second round on ESPN+ at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Schwarz looked worse than past Fury opponents Sefer Seferi and Francesco Pianeta. Those guys looked like world champions next to how Schwarz performed.

Fury will be back in action in the fall

Top Rank will be bringing Fury back in the fall in New York. They haven’t said who they want to match him against, but many boxing fans suspect they’ll trot out another beatable guy that is no threat to Fury. It appears they’re counting on the casual fans to be impressed by Fury’s wins over guys like Schwarz.

The hardcore fans were stunned at how bad Schwarz was, and they wonder why Top Rank picked him for Fury to fight instead of someone at least moderately good. Schwarz would have been fine for a fighter just beginning their career in making their debut. He would be fine for a journeyman level heavyweight to fight. You put Schwarz in with Kevin Johnson, and you’ve got a good fight. I would lean heavily in Johnson’s favor of making quick work of Schwarz, but it would be a good fight on paper.

Fury needs a REALLY good opponent for is next fight

Given how poor Schwarz turned out to be, Fury is going to need an opponent that is world’s better if he wants to create interest in a rematch between him and Wilder. It’s not going to work if Fury’s next fight is against someone like Agit Kabayel, Bogdan Dinu, Otto Wallin, Junior Fa, Sergey Kuzmin, Ali Eren Demirezen or Carlos Takam. Those are all fringe level fighters, but arguably all of them are much better guys than Schwarz. That tells how bad of a fighter he is.

Here are the heavyweights Top Rank should be looking to match Fury against next to build his popularity:

– Dillian Whyte

– Kubrat Pulev

– Joe Joyce

– Michael Hunter

– Filip Hrgovic

– Adam Kownacki

– Oleksandr Usyk

– Daniel Dubois

– Alexander Povetkin

If Fury’s promoters were willing to pick a guy as bad as Schwarz, then that’s a pretty big hint that they’re not going to move him up against a true world class level fighter. You can forget about the high ranking that the World Boxing Organization gave Schwarz. His skill level is that of a fighter well below a top 15 contender.

Fury should have told Top Rank that he wanted better opponent than hapless looking Schwarz for coming out party last Saturday night in Las Vegas, because the win did nothing for him, period. Top Rank’s goal is to turn Fury into a big enough star in the U.S to make the Wilder-Fury rematch into a huge blockbuster. You don’t do that by matching against a lesser heavyweight that the U.S have never seen before and no nothing about. Gilfoid applauds Top Rank for wanting to turn Fury into a star, but you don’t do that by putting him in with fodder opposition like Schwarz. In other words, you can’t turn Fury into a star on the cheap by going for the bottom level heavyweights.

The WBO’s high #2 ranking for Schwarz is meaningless, because the guy fought like a heavyweight that belonged at #200 if the WBO even ranks guys that far down the food chain. Top Rank shouldn’t be picking low hanging fruit for Fury to fight at this stage of his career, considering that he’s been a pro for 10 years, and he doesn’t have much time left. Fury’s physique is that of an elderly fighter, not someone 30-years-old. Fury isn’t going to be able to hang for much longer before he starts getting bounced around the ring like Wilder was doing to him last December.

Couldn’t Fury have fought someone better than Schwarz?

In the eyes of the casual fans, Fury was an unknown. Many of the American casual boxing fans had no idea who Fury was last Saturday. Putting one unknown heavyweight from a foreign country with another unknown [Schwarz] was silly. Someone wasn’t thinking.

If you’re going to do that with Fury, then you need to have the sense enough to know that you need to match him with a guy that has the talent to be competitive with him. Schwarz was never going to be that guy, because he’s too limited. He’s not a true top contender. He’s a guy that was given a top 10 ranking based on wins over horrible opposition. Schwarz hasn’t beaten anyone good enough to be ranked in the top 15, let alone at #2.

Fury calling himself the “lineal heavyweight champion” won’t help make Wilder fight bigger

It appears that the marketing strategy to try and turn Fury into a star in the U.S is for him to continually say he’s the “lineal heavyweight champion.” What does that mean exactly? Well, it means that he beat 40-year-old Wladimir Klitschko, who was at the end of his career when he could no longer pull the trigger on his shots. It was sad to see Wladimir at the end. The power was still there, but he couldn’t let his hands go anymore. Fury and Joshua took advantage of Wladimir being a shot fighter.

Wladimir could have beaten both guys if he’d thrown a few more punches each other, but he had nothing left by that point in his career. Wladimir was fighting once every two years, and looking horrible. Interestingly enough, Fury barely beat Wladimir, and he looked worse than awful. The bigger shots were landed by Wladimir, but the judges that worked the fight gave it to Fury by a close decision. It wasn’t an impressive performance. Wladimir did enough to win the fight based on the power shots he landed, but it didn’t go his way with the judges. They gave it to the up and coming fighter at the time.

As far as the lineal heavyweight champion stuff goes, Wladimir never fought Lennox Lewis to become the lineal champion. Wladimir won his three titles by beating these fighters:

– Chris Byrd [IBF & vacant IBO heavyweight titles]

– Sultan Ibragimov [WBO heavyweight belt]

– David Haye [WBA heavyweight title]

That was a weak bunch of heavyweights that Wladimir beat. Haye won his WBA title with a controversial 12 round majority decision over Nikolay Valuev in 2009. A lot of boxing fans thought Haye was given a gift against Valuev, because he appeared to lose that fight. As you would expect, Valuev wasn’t too happy about it, and he never fought again after that. You can’t blame him, because he looked like he did more than enough to deserve the win over Haye. Valuev won the vacant WBA heavyweight title in 2008 in defeating John Ruiz.

If you go back all the way in tracking the IBF, WBA and WBO titles that Wladimir got a hold of, none of those titles were won off of Lennox Lewis. He gave up his titles when he retired in 2003. You can’t really say that Wladimir was ever the heavyweight lineal champion in the true sense, because he didn’t beat Lewis. Wladimir beat Byrd, Ibragimov and Haye to win his IBF, WBA and WBO belts. But if you want to say Wladimir was the lineal heavyweight champion, then Fury should have lost the lineal belts when he stopped fighting in 2015.

You can’t have a champion that sits idle for three years without defending his title, can you? After the first year of inactivity, Fury should have been stripped of his lineal heavyweight championship status back in 2016. Instead, Fury sat for another two years before finally coming back in 2018, and calling himself “the lineal heavyweight champion.” Fury should have been stripped of that belt-less title.

A champion can’t disappear and then come back a century later, and say, ‘I’m the lineal heavyweight champion, and now I’ll defend it against lesser heavyweights.’ That doesn’t make sense. Fury should have lost his lineal heavyweight champion status after one year. That’s what this writer believes. How can a fighter keep that title without fighting for three years? It’s not fair to the other contenders.

What if Fury never came back? Would the lineal heavyweight status remain with him forever? Come on, there needs to be a time limit for champions to defend that title. One year is a fair amount of time. Further, if a fighter is stripped of all of his titles for being inactive or testing positive for a banned drug, then the lineal heavyweight status should ideally be stripped as well. It makes sense. If a fighter tests positive and/or gets stripped of all his world titles, then the lineal championship status should go with it.

Arum predicting win for Fury over Wilder

“This was one of the great shows I’ve ever seen and not just because of the boxing. He’s an entertainer. He is truly unique,” said Arum. “Now that he’s in shape, he can knock out every heavyweight in the world. Deontay Wilder is not going five rounds with him. We will have another fight, then we will fight Wilder.”

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