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Couch: Joshua-Fury Fight Is Just What We Need

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I’m going with Tyson Fury over Anthony Joshua. Definitely. Now, if I just understood why.

It looks like boxing is finally doing something right, pitting Fury against Joshua for two fights. It’s the world’s two best heavyweights with two different styles, and while the alphabet soup of all the sport’s ridiculous governing bodies will get their greedy, grimy hands on this thing and hopefully not blow it, the gimmick for this one is this: 

We’re going to get to see who the biggest, best fighter in the world is. We’re going to get one of the greatest titles in sports: undisputed heavyweight champion.

Boxing is having a moment here, and not just a flicker or a spark or something. Your grandfather’s sport has been dead for decades, but it seems to be coming back to life. I don’t think Fury-Joshua is going to save it so much as give it a crowning moment.

Welcome back, boxing.

“massive announcement,’’ Fury tweeted. “FURY VS JOSHUA IS ON AUGUST 14 in The kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The worlds biggest sporting event all eyes on us.’’

And you know what? He’s right.

A silly exhibition like Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr. drew huge pay-per-view numbers worth $80 million, or 1.6 million buys at $50 a pop. Now, we’re waiting for Tyson-Holyfield. And Floyd Mayweather fights YouTuber Logan Paul in a little over two weeks.

So you do wonder if the sport has devolved into just a carnival act. But then a  few weeks ago, Canelo Alvarez and Billy Joe Saunders drew a crowd of 73,000 in Texas for a legit fight.

What on earth is happening here? I’m not sure, but I think that the world is just looking for some fun, kickass events to cheer for after a year of COVID. Rather than just coming back to what we did before, we’d like to see something else, preferably something that involves blood. So while some of the traditional major sports are having trouble drawing a TV audience, here come MMA and, of all things:

Boxing.

At some point, the traditional sports have started to become a little boring, too much calm, too many people telling us how to think. Maybe it’s just fun to see two people trying to kick each other’s butt. And somehow boxing is on the verge of refreshing itself, especially with a guy like Fury, who seems like a bad guy in a superhero movie.

These guys could be boxing’s answer to MMA. Fury is part boxing, part MMA, part pro wrestling.

I wonder what Fury and Joshua think about social justice issues and COVID and whether they’ll wear masks during the fight? Ha! No, I don’t. Not at all. And I doubt Fury thinks anyone’s lives matter.

“I cannot wait — repeat, cannot wait — to smash Anthony Joshua on the biggest stage of all times,’’ Fury said in a video he posted on Twitter with his announcement. “This is going to be the biggest sporting event ever to grace the planet earth. Do not miss it. All eyes on us.’’

It’s even nice that boxing has ridiculous hype again.

Joshua, the former Olympic gold medalist, responded on Twitter: “Spartan. I’m tired. My fans are tired. Your fans are tired. We’re all tired of the talk. Less talk. More action!’’

The only thing is, boxing’s governing bodies don’t know what they’re doing, and the sport’s potential re-birth is happening in spite of them. This fight has been forever in the making, and it never quite happens. In other words, boxing could still blow this.

But back to what I said earlier. I pick Fury to win. But I have no idea why.

Fury is basically a giant 6-foot-9 with quick hands. He has a dominant mentality, a bald head, a cartoon look and some great quotes. Joshua is plenty big enough at 6-foot-6, more muscular than Fury, a better athlete, smarter, hits harder and looks like an ideal you’d make a statue of.

But it’s hard to believe that Joshua, or anyone for that matter, once lost to Andy Ruiz. Meanwhile, Fury came right at Deontay Wilder and embarrassed him.

I’m not sure that approach is going to work against Joshua, who is too smart to let someone attack wide open like that. Fury is going to build this fight up while Joshua shows up fully prepared. (And maybe Wilder gets the winner?)

My brain says Joshua will win. My gut takes Fury. I’m still going with Fury as boxing, once again, graces the planet earth.

Written by Greg Couch

Greg earned the 2007 Peter Lisagor Award as the best sports columnist in the Chicagoland area for his work with the Chicago Sun-Times, where he started as a college football writer in 1997 before becoming a general columnist in 2003. He also won a Lisagor in 2016 for his commentary in RollingStone.com and The Guardian.

Couch penned articles and columns for CNN.com/Bleacher Report, AOL Fanhouse, and The Sporting News and contributed as a writer and on-air analyst for FoxSports.com and Fox Sports 1 TV. In his journalistic roles, Couch has covered the grandest stages of tennis from Wimbledon to the Olympics, among numerous national and international sporting spectacles. He also won first place awards from the U.S. Tennis Writers Association for his event coverage and column writing on the sport in 2010.

5 Comments

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  1. Good read. A couple of thoughts.

    1. All sport is about physical domination of one person over another. The rules just make that more palatable to those that don’t like fighting.

    2. I see the rise in popularity of MMA and the comeback of boxing as a reaction to the condemnation of masculinity by certain segments of society.

    3. People talk smack in all sports. MMA, boxing, and sometimes hockey (less now) are some of the rare sports where sooner or later you have to back that talk up with your fists. I get so tired of the “tough guys” that run their mouths knowing they’ll never have to actually back up their words because they know the league will protect them.

  2. Great column Greg. You are spot on when you wrote that post Covid the world might just want to see two athletes trying to kick each other’s butts. After Fauci and BLM and all the other woke bulls#%* from the NBA and other pro sports leagues it is refreshing to see true competitors

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