The Treacherous Trilogy: Starring Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury (Part II – Controversy)
By Kirk Jackson: “Just because something isn’t a lie does not mean that it isn’t deceptive. A liar knows that he is a liar, but one who speaks mere portions of truth, in order to deceive, is a craftsman of destruction.”
― Criss Jami
Interestingly, up until this point, there have been many examples of flagrant incident, hypocrisy, and peculiar occurrence, surrounding Tyson Fury.
There’s an old saying, wherever there is smoke, there is fire.
There are a bunch of fires out and around. I would like to believe for every hypothetical fire, the proper protocol would be followed by most people. Meaning, you call upon the proper authority to douse the fires.
While extinguishing that imminent threat, we also investigate to see what ignited the flames, for prevention purposes and safe keeping moving forward.
When it comes to the curious cases of Fury, whether it’s performance-enhancing drug issues, glove-tampering/illegal use of glove accusations, illicit tactic implementations, etc., one would think a deeper investigative scope would be applied to Fury’s profile.
The questions beckon, as to where is the reporting and journalism from the worldwide leader in sports?
Not only from ESPN, but other outlets as well? Members of the media, truth reporters, and seekers, by virtue and definition as reporters, should be advocates of truth, correct?
Although they’re portrayed and coveted more favorably now, Muhammad Ali and Mike Tyson, are prime examples of polarizing figures and fixtures of boxing, who were villainized to the highest degree at certain points.
They’ve endured cycles of negative media coverage, even false reporting, and misrepresentation at certain points. All for the benefit of a headline, for the benefit to push a certain narrative.
We live in an age now, where information, as it stands currently, is easier to access. In theory, reporting and conversation discussing topics should be more transparent.
But too many times, a blind eye is turned for the benefit of a person in good favor. We see this through various levels across the world stage, especially with entertainment. Whether it’s sports, politics, cinema, music, etc. The narratives are crafted and dictated to the audience.
As former professional basketball player, entrepreneur, and current social-media sensation Kwame Brown alluded to, there is such a thing as the “Go-along, get-along gang.”
“The media’s the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that’s power. Because they control the minds of the masses.”
― Malcolm X
Breaking things down further, from ESPN’s standpoint, from a business position, it makes sense not to go against their fighter.
Fury is with Top Rank Promotions and is aligned with MTK Global. Fury’s deal with Top Rank, is in conjunction with ESPN. So essentially, ESPN is the media/network representee of Fury, as Top Rank fights through that network exclusively.
By virtue, many of the analysts and boxing experts under ESPN, may not display a full level of transparency, because that goes against the business model.
A prime example, would be the recent broadcast of the WBC super featherweight title bout, featuring the defending champion Oscar Valdez, vs. Olympic Gold medalist Robson Conceição – back on September 10, 2021.
In spite of the success of Conceição, the commentary suggested otherwise. This is even with the performance-enhancing drug controversy surrounding Valdez, leading into the fight.
Harping back to Fury, it’s hard-pressed to see any public figure of note, within mainstream media pursuing a legitimate investigation regarding his controversial exploits. Where is the pursuit of truth and clarification?
Because in that path of pursuit, the result either validates or invalidates the claims. It’s clear; it’s black and white.
Drawing back to the glove issue surrounding Fury, not only did former heavyweight challenger and former IBF cruiserweight world champion, Steve Cunningham, expose certain viewpoints on the matter, former sparring partners and coaches provided testimony as well.
In a video posted across his social media accounts, Nicholas Asberry, a professional fighter who helped Fury in preparation for his first encounter with Wilder, claimed he discovered gloves belonging to Fury after sparring some rounds with the champion.
Asberry asserts padding was removed to inflict more damage during their sparring sessions. At the time, Asberry reported his findings to the media outlet, World Boxing News.
Asberry informed the publication, “Yes, I was shocked, pissed, and disappointed all at the same time. People get seriously hurt in boxing. But the proof is in front of their faces. I have no reason to lie, and neither does coach Barry Robinson (One of the coach’s present for the sparring session).”
Asberry continued, “The management team was aware, and so was everyone at his camp. I contacted them, and they told me they would compensate me after the Wilder fight. They tried to talk me down and say they didn’t do anything to the gloves.”
“So, let’s say the possibility is that they didn’t. But as soon as I picked up the glove, the inside was falling out. You could manipulate the part of the glove that makes contact with its target.”
“I showed in my screenshot conversations that they knew Tyson was sparring with gloves that were, to their account, ‘dodgy.’ The gloves just didn’t have all of the paddings in there. They also had weird marks on the outside of the glove that showed it was in contact with something other than what it was made for.”
If the issue with gloves wasn’t enough, there is the issue pertaining to the performance-enhancing drug nandrolone as well.
To recap, back in June 2016, a month before Fury’s proposed rematch with Wladimir Klitschko, the United Kingdom Anti-Doping group (UKAD) suspended Fury due to an adverse finding.
The suspension was not revealed until later in the year, but Fury pulled out of the rematch with Klitschko, citing an ankle injury.
Pending a hearing and appeal, UKAD stated both Tyson and his cousin Hughie Fury returned samples with elevated levels of nandrolone metabolites after their fights in February 2015. At the time, Hughie defeated Andriy Rudenko in Monaco, prior to Tyson defeating Christian Hammer a week later in London.
There was also a glove controversy for that bout against Hammer, as the referee had to intervene and, upon inspection inside the ring, delayed the fight because there was an issue with Tyson’s gloves.
In addition, Tyson was later charged with failing to provide a sample in September 2016, although that allegation was eventually dropped.
For additional context, nandrolone is a substance sometimes used by bodybuilders, although it is a banned anabolic steroid. It promotes protein uptake and makes it easier for the body to build muscle. It accelerates the recovery process, reduces fatigue and muscle strain, thus allowing users to train harder and more frequently.
Both men strongly denied taking any performance-enhancing drugs when the allegations first emerged in August 2016. The specifics would not come out into the public domain for more than a year after a lengthy, legal battle, which is thought to have cost UKAD a substantial amount of money. It would later emerge that they claimed to have ingested the nandrolone substance by eating uncastrated wild boar.
Fellow contemporary, former two-time world heavyweight champion, Anthony Joshua, appears to have his antennas up regarding Fury’s storied history of allegations.
When asked about his rival’s past, Joshua said, “With the UKAD situation, every win he’s had has had drama around it. Whether it was to do with Klitschko, Wilder, there is always drama.”
When it comes to Deontay Wilder, he faced a hailstorm of criticism from fans and every mainstream media outlet alike.
His style, personality, and proposed shortcomings as a fighter have always been a hot-rod topic of conversation before, during, and in the immediate aftermath of his saga with Fury.
This is despite his tenure as a long-reigning world champion and accomplishments as an Olympic medalist representing the United States.
Whether it’s fair or not doesn’t matter; it’s not about victimhood. Reality is something we live with and must face, whether we enjoy the facets of this existence or not.
Is Fury an incredible talent, with remarkable skills, gifted with uncanny size and high-level maneuverability to boot? Yes, and it’s easy to acknowledge these traits and recognize him as an extraordinary fighter.
More than one thing can be true. Along with that package of skillfulness is the bundle of inconsistencies of sportsmanship, with regularities of deception.
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