Tyson Fury won a convincingly uneventful unanimous decision over long-time heavyweight titleholder Wladimir Klitschko in a bout from Germany Saturday night (November 28).
For those watching at home, the fight was a tough one to get through, plagued by a wholly inactive champion, who played it so safely that he all but handed his belt to the challenger on a silver platter.
To give you an idea of just how boring the fight was, BoxingNews24 reported the final punch stat numbers.
Both men landed only 23 percent of their punches, but Tyson Fury was definitely the more active fighter logging 86 lands of 371 punches thrown to Klitschko’s 52 of 231.
While the numbers alone are enough to justify the three judges scoring in favor of Tyson Fury, it wasn’t punching that won him the belts as much as it was lack of respect.
In the events leading up to Saturday’s bout, Fury taunted a silent Klitschko in any way that he could, calling him a devil worshiper and promising a victory.
During the fight itself, he never stopped jawing at the now ex-champ and spent most of the fight with his hands at his sides.
WOW: Tyson Fury was so sure he would beat Wladimir Klitschko last night he bet £200,000 on himself. Fair play sir! pic.twitter.com/JqpvUFa7FU
— BenchWarmers (@BeWarmers) November 29, 2015
When Klitschko would occasionally have enough of the clowning and wade in with his right hand, the four-inch reach advantage of Tyson Fury would keep him off balance.
At no point in the fight did Fury act like a prototypical boxer, and it appeared to create a mental hold on Klitschko, freezing him up from its unorthodoxy as much as its intimidation.
At several points in the fight, Klitschko’s corner told him he was “fighting from behind” and “needed a knockout to win.”
Wladimir knew what he had to do in the closing round, but even then he was either getting hit with Fury’s jab or clinching instead of punching.
HBO boxing analysts Jim Lampley and Max Kellerman called the fight a “mess” and Kellerman alluded to the idea that the fight was part of “why people have no interest in the heavyweight division.”
Essentially, fight fans go into a boxing match in the hopes that they will see two skilled competitors throwing hands. That didn’t happen very often Saturday night, and when it did, Fury did well enough to discourage Klitschko from engaging.
While a decision isn’t always unwelcome in a boxing match, a decision resulting from such a slow and plodding contest certainly is.
That said, Tyson Fury did what he had to do to get the belt off Wladimir Klitschko, and that can only be a good thing for the heavyweight division.
Klitschko has fought with a guarded unwillingness to engage since getting knocked senseless by journeyman Corrie Sanders several years ago.
His cautiousness mixed with his undeniable physical tools and boxing prowess basically held the belts hostage in an anemic division.
But with the arrival of unbeaten competitors like Tyson Fury, Luis Ortiz, Deontay Wilder, and Anthony Joshua, the division is starting to refill itself.
Bryant Jennings, a late entry to the world of professional boxing having not started until the age of 24, exposed Klitschko’s unwillingness to engage in their April 2015 bout.
While Klitschko was able to use his size advantage to keep Jennings from mounting any significant offense, he also proved incapable of finishing a guy with much less in the experience and physicality departments.
It was a style that proved tailor-made for the 6’9″ Tyson Fury, who could safely tag Klitschko at a distance while outmaneuvering and overpowering him in the clinch.
With Fury’s size and exciting personality, not to mention the KO work of the aforementioned Ortiz, Wilder, and Joshua, the division could have a bright future.
But first Tyson Fury needs to rid it of Klitschko for good, which he will have a chance to do at some point in 2016.
Only time will tell if Wladimir will have an answer for the lack of respect strategy.
[Image via Tyson Fury Twitter]