Still in recovery from the disappointment of the first canceled rematch between Tyson Fury and Wladimir Klitschko, fans are now enduring yet another delay, as Fury has presented a letter from his doctor stating that due to mental health issues, the fighter will be “unavailable for the foreseeable future.”
Now, beyond the obvious possibility that the out-of-shape behemoth only managed a victory over Klitschko by some stroke of luck, this delay is perplexing for many reasons. For one thing, this will be the second time Fury has canceled the fight for health issues in about three months. The first injury was probably legitimate. After all, an overweight man who brags about not training wouldn’t be anyone’s top choice to survive a heavyweight-title-fight training camp. But come on, who among us was familiar with Tyson Fury and thought he did not have mental health issues? Wladimir has said that himself in interviews and at press conferences. Dressing up in a five dollar batman outfit and knocking over a display table in front of the press doesn’t exactly speak to a person’s mature, stable demeanor.
Are we really expected to believe that this diagnosis by Fury’s doctor is some kind of revelation? Even if it were, could it possibly be a coincidence that Fury has just now reached the absolute pinnacle of his career, or, more to the point, that not calling off the fight would mean putting his reputation on the line? Fury’s accomplishments, up to the Klitschko fight, were minor and unimpressive, for a 7-foot-tall man, at least. Now, he could lose all the respect and admiration in 36 minutes or less, if he can’t perform the way he did in the first fight. He’s even been accused, along with his brother Hughie, of using PEDs. So maybe the success against Wladimir was a direct result of doping, or maybe he needed the drugs to sustain his oversize frame and (probably) enlarged heart. But all of a sudden, he has health problems that prevent him from fighting for the foreseeable future?
And how about that for phrasing? “Foreseeable future” implies that the condition is serious enough that Fury may never fight again, much less return in time to fight the aging juggernaut who challenges his place at the top of the division. At this point, Wladimir could hold on for a couple more years, with great success, but to give any meaning to that time, he would have to fight the biggest guy (physically) in the division. If Fury did come back, and finally made the fight, and kept the date, he’d win or lose to man who had passed his prime a decade earlier.
Based on the tests of character, displays of talent, and the statements made by Fury in the past, it’s hard to believe that these delays are pure coincidence. It’s not very plausible that his mental health issues were unknown up until this diagnosis, either. We were all very impressed by the performance Fury put on during and after the match against Klitschko, but now we all have to face reality. Turning one fight into a circus of novelty is one thing, but to associate the heavyweight championship with a farce is another thing entirely, one boxing fans won’t tolerate. We won’t cater to his ego or his warrior mentality; we won’t acknowledge his accomplishments to soften the blow of this exposure. Fury is a phony. We suspected before, and now we know.
It’s not that there aren’t other interesting fights to be made at heavyweight, there are, but protected prospects will likely never meet a close-to-prime Klitschko. We’ll have to wait for another cycle to run through before we get an active heavyweight scene again, and by then, we may have already said farewell to Klitschko’s glimmer of greatness.