Once upon a time the heavyweight division was the blue riband event of boxing. You had champions that excited and inspired: Johnson, Louis, Marciano, Patterson, Liston, Frazier, Foreman, Holmes, Tyson, Lewis, Holyfield and of course the greatest of them all Muhammad Ali. You had golden eras like the 70s with Ali, Frazier, Foreman, Norton and others producing some of the greatest fights in history.
Until a few minutes ago the post 2000 heavyweight seen has been dominated by one name, two brothers. The elder has now retired, the other has just lost his 3 world titles to Tyson Fury who we’ll discuss later. Now Wladimir the younger of the brothers, on numbers alone is one of the greats, no question. He was 2nd on the longest reigning heavyweight champs list sandwiched between Louis and Holmes. He’s beaten allcomers for his title. He’s dominated for a decade. He’s also robotic, boring, lacks charisma and the wow factor that made people pay attention to guys like Ali and Tyson. But that was fine. He can go only beat who’s in front of him, right. Wasn’t his fault there was no Frazier or Foreman in this era, Peter, Ruiz and Haye was the best out there right. Right.
Today Klitchsko the king of the division, unbeaten in 10 years, legend of the sport faced Fury. A guy who’d fought absolutely nobody. A guy with no credentials. A guy with no pedigree. If Klitchsko was as great as his numbers suggest he’d of dispatched the arrogant, cocky, controversial Briton. Did that happen? Nope instead what transpired was one of the worst exhibitions of boxing I have ever witnessed. It was scrappy. It was poor. There were hardly any shots landed. And the great Klitchsko appeared scared to throw a punch. It was a disgraceful performance by such an esteemed champ and while Fury was certainly the best fighter on the night, he didn’t seem like the best in the world. However that is exactly what his newly gained titles suggest and I think that’s a sad indictment of the state of the division. Some argued that it died with the Klitchsko dominance and that may be true but the ease they have been toppled today it has definitely died now.
On a personal note I’m not a fan of Fury’s antics at all. I find his tendency to compare himself to Ali sickening and disrespectful. But even as a boxer I don’t rate him. He doesn’t seem to have much technique. He doesn’t have much power. And he’s never been tested. How do you become world heavyweight champ without being tested. And why was such a great champ so poor. The division is dead. I suspect Fury’s reign will be short but with such as dearth of talent who’s actually gonna beat him. It appears if you’re big and awkward you can be the best these days. I miss the days when you needed talent.