Normally I don’t get too excited about a fight featuring a top ranked contender versus a TBA in a six rounder, but this weekend’s fight featuring Hughie Fury is worth checking out if for no other reason then it really shouldn’t be happening. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad it is (and not because I am anticipating a competitive fight). I appreciate the gesture and the willingness to whet the appetite of boxing fans looking forward to the upcoming Parker-Fury clash in September. But this is a no-win situation if ever I saw one. At best he blows out his opponent (and how much ring rust to you shake off in that situation?). There is no reason to take on a tune-up fight when you already are signed to fight for the world title.
I can’t help but think of Clarence “Bones” Adams. Most of you remember Adams as the popular former WBA super bantamweight champion who had two memorable fights against Paulie Ayala on HBO back in 2001 and 2002. But in 1995 Adams was a young, up and coming contender whose career was in freefall after losing back to back fights against Orlando Canizales (for the IBF bantamweight title) and Frankie Toledo. The Toledo fight came as a result of a shoulder injury and Adams elected to take on a little known club fighter named Jeff Trimble in February of 1995 in Detroit just three months after losing to Toledo due to the dislocated shoulder. Although some wondered if the injury of Adams had enough time to heal, few anticipated that Trimble (who was coming into the fight with a 4-8 record) would be any test for Adams. As fate would have it, Adams would lose his third fight in a row after he suffered another dislocated shoulder.
It’s worth mentioning that it was three months ago that Fury was forced to pull out of his title fight with Parker due to a back injury. Does this mean that I’m picking Fury to lose in an upset? No. But I have some questions about if Fury is at 100% and we may get answers to that question this weekend. If his back is still bothering him we may know about it on July 8th. If he is suffering from ring rust we may know about it on July 8th.
Odds are that if they can find an opponent for Hughie Fury by Saturday (Fury tweeted as recently as yesterday that he was still on for the July 8th fight so I am expecting the fight to go forward) we won’t be rewarded with a tremendous fight. Whoever ends up taking the fight will have less than a week to prepare for the WBO #1 ranked heavyweight, and odds are they will be bringing in someone who isn’t going to push Fury even if he had ample time to prepare for the fight. Most likely it will be little more than a glorified sparring session where Fury works off some of the ring rust. But even if he is healthy it is worth noting that the last time a fighter took on an ill-advised tune-up after signing to fight for the heavyweight title in London was way back in 1993.