Tyson Fury must live with the fact that he let down boxing

Tyson Fury and all boxing enthusiasts should feel a sense of shame.

The undefeated heavyweight world champion was knocked down and had to stage a comeback to secure a split decision victory against his opponent, former UFC champion Francis Ngannou, who was making his professional boxing debut.

As someone aptly put on X: “MMA won tonight.” And boxing lost.

First, Ngannou deserves significant credit. The Cameroonian consistently emphasized that he started his combat sports journey as a boxer and believed he would perform better against Fury than most anticipated.

And he did just that. The knockdown in Round 3, resulting from a powerful left hand, was the fight’s most unforgettable moment. Overall, Ngannou proved to be a formidable opponent against the reigning heavyweight kingpin of our time, and I am truly in awe of his achievement.

However, the highly competitive nature of the match was primarily a result of Fury’s own shortcomings, rather than Ngannou’s prowess. I believe Fury committed two critical errors that were intertwined.

Firstly, he underestimated Ngannou. Fury believed he could effortlessly win the fight with one hand tied behind his back, as many assumed. But as he acknowledged afterward, “He’s a hell of a fighter and a hell of a lot better boxer than we thought he would be.”

Fury’s team was so confident in his victory that they even announced an agreement for an upcoming fight against Oleksandr Usyk for the undisputed championship, despite a cut on Fury’s forehead that might require additional time to heal.

Consequently, it is evident that Fury did not adequately prepare for the fight on Saturday.

As former champion Lennox Lewis said in a TNT interview, “The fundamentals weren’t there from him. He wasn’t 100 percent. This was like a warmup fight to the big fight for me.”

I couldn’t help but think of Floyd Mayweather’s performance against another MMA fighter making his boxing debut, Conor McGregor. Although the 40-year-old Hall of Famer may not have looked as sharp as in his prime, he was unquestionably ready to fight. Fury should have taken a lesson from Mayweather’s approach.

Contrary to popular opinion, Ngannou was not robbed. The fight was closely contested and could have gone either way.

However, Fury (34-0-1, 24 KOs) suffered a great deal in terms of his reputation.

The Englishman will remain a heavyweight titleholder and is destined for the Hall of Fame, but his lackluster performance against an opponent from a different discipline has left an indelible stain on his legacy. I will never view him in the same light again.

Furthermore, he will have to bear the weight of letting his sport down. The fact that our best heavyweight almost lost to an MMA fighter is a blow to the sport of boxing.

Fury has the opportunity to redeem himself from this setback. He could defeat the highly respected Usyk and become the undisputed champion. He could then face Ngannou in a rematch and secure a convincing victory, thereby mitigating some of the embarrassment from Saturday night.

Make no mistake: A fully prepared and motivated Fury would not resemble the lost soul we witnessed in Saudi Arabia. He would unquestionably defeat Ngannou with ease.

This is what it will take for us to completely put this fiasco behind Fury and the rest of us.

For more on the matchup, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for Fury vs. Ngannou.

If you’re a boxing fan, be sure to check out Boxing Junkie for comprehensive coverage of the sweet science and follow @BoxingJunkie2 on Twitter.

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie


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