HUBBARD’S CUPBOARD: 14.11.15
By Alan Hubbard
Dr Steelhammer thinks Tyson Fury is off his rocker. That is not a medical diagnosis as Wladimir Klitschko’s doctorate is in philosophy, not physics. But there are many who will concur with the multi-belted world heavyweight champion’s view that Batman is batty.
“He definitely has some screws loose in his mind,” declared Klitschko at his mountain retreat training camp in Austria this week.” We need to tighten it up and fix it.”
Fury’s extreme opinions on homosexuality, abortion, paedophilia and devil worshipping, expressed in an extraordinary off-the-wall, rambling interview with a Sunday newspaper at the weekend, have clearly shocked Klitschko. And perhaps they should also concern the British Boxing Board of Control.
“He has mental issues for sure,” says Klitschko. “His comments make me sick. They were disgusting and had nothing to do with the promotion. They just showed the true insides of Tyson Fury. He has the brain the size of a walnut. He is an unhappy man.”
Some might say a disturbed one, too.
One wonders what might be discovered lurking in Fury’s muddled mind if the Board called for a psychiatric as well as a physical examination before he steps into the ring against Klitschko in Dusseldorf on November 28th.
Would it, as Klitschko suggests, find that he is actually bipolar (a condition once known as manic depression)? And if so, should he be allowed to fight?
In the Mail on Sunday interview he accused Klitschko of being a ‘devil worshipper’, Armageddon was nigh and that paedophilia might one day be made legal.
Is this man fit to fight or the world heavyweight title,” queried the headline which accompanied his demented drivel. Good question.
Fury couldn’t seem to make up his mind whether he was the new Messiah or the new Muhammad Ali while informing us he has a personal relationship with the Almighty.
“God will not let him defeat me,” he pronounced.
The last time I heard a fighter claim anything like that was when Naseem Hamed fought Marco Antonio Barrera in Las Vegas, telling the world that Allah was in his corner.“Allah says I will not be beaten.”
As my friend Colin Hart remarked afterwards, it must have been Allah’s night off.
Never mind Batman. Fury is more Jekyll and Hyde. There are times when he has a certain engaging eloquence but more frequently of late he is showing a disturbingly dark side to his persona.
His latest ranting goes well beyond the often dubious realms of pre-fight hype. He even admits that his bizarre opinions might leave him open to assassination.
It is par for the course, as in an earlier interview with the Guardian’s excellent Donald McRae he had even talked of contemplating suicide.
He seems consumed not only by religious fervour, but homophobia. In 2012 he blamed threatened then rival David Price that he was going to put “you and gay lover Tony Bellew” in intensive care. Last October, he tweeted. “I think @LennoxLewis & wlad @Klitschko r 100% Homosexuals!!”
This is not Fury playing it for, laughs, selling tickets or simply being a wind-up merchant. It seems more the product of a seriously troubled mind.
For someone who professes to be so deeply committed to religion and the teachings of the Bible he can be shockingly profane, with language trawled from the cesspit.
He has been censured and fined three times (costing him a total of £32,000) for disreputable conduct involving foul language and his homophobic tweets.
Yet as I say, there are occasions when he can be immensely charming, humorous, even quite likeable.
But one wonders whether big fight nerves are getting to him as D-day approaches.
Those so-PC Sky executives, bleep button at the ready, must be bricking it every time he appears on screen, wondering what boxing’s mad maverick might do or say next.
This week he could be seen smashing a water melon open with his head and spewing the contents towards the camera. Nice one for the kids to copy, eh?
Klitschko must think he is bedevilled by barmy British heavyweights. First there was David Haye’s T-shirt displaying the Ukrainian’s decapitated head, then Dereck Chisora spewing water into his face after slapping that of his brother Vitali, and now Fury’s wheeze as a caped crusader and religious nutter.
You have to admire Wlad’s phlegm. He’s seen it all and dealt with it all before.
Could Fury beat Klitschko? In the boxing ring anything can happen when two big men collide and it is possible, especially as Klitschko’s 39-year-old legs are slowing. But highly improbable.
No-one has looked like doing so in the past 11 years. I doubt Fury is skilful enough to outpoint the cultured Ukrainian and he doesn’t punch hard enough for his size and weight to knock him out. He has also been put on the floor by a light-heavyweight.
Not that Klitschko is taking him lightly in their delayed confrontation. Like Floyd Mayweather jnr he is never out of shape and he rarely puts a fist wrong defensively. ”The worst thing in sport is underestimating your opponent,” he tells us. “I have a lot of respect for Tyson Fury. He’s undefeated, he’s very ambitious. But sometimes he says things and does stuff that he probably does regret later on. I know this will be therapy in a certain way.
When, the unbeaten Fury dressed up as Batman he proclaimed himself to be “a psychopath.”
Klitschko was not bothered then and he clearly isn’t now. “For a long time now I have been observing opponents getting under their own skin.
“It was the case with David Haye but I’m a very good therapist and I made him a better person – he carries himself a lot better since I beat him.
“Chaos means emotions and emotions are a downside in boxing. Tyson Fury is digging himself deeper and deeper. That’s good for me.”
But not too good for boxing.
Tomorrow: Alan Hubbard’s Punchlines assesses the world’s best pound-for-pounders exclusively at frankwarren.com