By Alan Hubbard
Sharply booted and suited, resplendent in a crisp white shirt and blood red tie, Tyson Fury looked a million dollars at a media conference in the BT Sport studios at the Olympic Park last Monday.
Actually, make that 80 million dollars. That’s the reported five fight deal (or is it £80 million?) he has struck with the major US broadcaster ESPN.
No wonder that the jovial Gypsy King was full of the joys of an early spring. A Jolly White Giant indeed!
The former, and still unbeaten, world heavyweight champion also looked so trim that his mates might start nicknaming him ‘Slim’ Not only was he in amazing shape but not a single profanity passed his lips.
I swear (and thankfully he didn’t) that he is a changed man from the paunchy ring reprobate of a few years back to someone who has become not only likeable, but almost loveable. Unquestionably he is now the most popular fighter in the land, truly The People’s Champion.
He genuinely is a transformed and reformed character, still larger than life but one who has battled his mental health demons head on – and won.
His services now will be shared by Frank Warren’s burgeoning Queensberry, Bob Arum’s esteemed Top Rank, ESPN and BT. That really does seem a winning formula.
However there has been criticism from some quarters because it is claimed the deal makes a return contest with Deontay Wilder and/or a humongous heavyweight showdown with Anthony Joshua less probable in the near future because of contractual obligations to rival TV and promotional factions.
But I don’t blame Fury for wanting to broaden his career across the water.Moreover those prospective punch-ups are far too big not to happen and meantime he can woo US audiences whose appetite has already been whetted by his Rocky-like rise from the canvas in the tumultuous 12th round in LA last December to earn that draw with Wilder which even the majority of American fans and critics thought he had clearly won.
And what is it America eternally yearns for more than anything in boxing? A Great White Hope.
Fury is already that – and one with courage, class and charisma to boot.
Remember Fury is not only in the business of boxing, but making money, not just for himself but, he says, for various good causes, including those for the homeless and to build homes for alcohol and drug addicts.
He has already put Joshua’s own US mission in the shade of his 6ft 9in frame.
So I say good luck to him as he sets out to conquer the land of milk and money. It is the proverbial offer he couldn’t refuse.
SIMILARLY I DON’T blame Anthony Crolla and Amir Khan for accepting big pay-days to fight the formidable Vasily Lomachenko and Terence Crawford respectively.
But my advice is to take the money – and run like hell for 12 rounds. Both bouts are fraught with danger for the brave Brits and I fear we may be heading for a double disaster here.