By George Ogier
During the 1980s many young children had their heads buried in the popular ”Choose Your Own Adventure” books. The premise was simple, readers assumed the role of the book’s protagonist in a fantasy world of wizards, maidens and dragons.
As the story progressed you were offered choices on how best to take the tale forward. The resulting decisions generally culminated in a glorious victory against the forces of evil or an ignominious demise at the teeth of a terrible monster.
Imagine carrying this idea over to the world of modern day boxing. Our hero, or perhaps anti-hero in this case is a man called Tyson Fury. Against a tide of mostly mediocre opponents and public brickbats Fury has risen to claim the British and Commonwealth heavyweight titles. In the face scorn and derision Fury has labelled himself a “fighting man”. A champion who would take on all-comers.
With that in mind, place yourself in the role of Fury and decide how you would like this adventure to progress. You can fight David Price, the mandatory challenger for both the British and Commonwealth titles. This will be hard but it’s an ideal chance to prove doubters wrong and cement your claim as Britain’s premier heavyweight.
Alternatively, you can vacate both titles to avoid Price and claim that you’re chasing bigger fights. That first big contest, who will the opponent be? Martin Rogan, an over-the-hill Belfast cab driver who hasn’t fought for 18 months and who hasn’t beaten anyone of note for over 3 years. You decide!
In a fantasy world many observers would opt for the first choice. Sadly we do not live in such a magical place and as a result Tyson Fury will face Martin Rogan this Saturday for the Irish Heavyweight title.
There is another side to this story and in fairness to Tyson Fury it isn’t just about running scared, well, not completely. Fury’s deal to fight on Channel 5 is dependent on the erstwhile champion’s success. As it stands, Tyson remains unbeaten and it makes no commercial sense to fight a dangerous opponent like Price.
Tyson Fury has been mentioned as a possible world title contender for a while now. The majority of those claims have come from Fury’s promoter, Mick Hennessy. Whilst Hennessy’s tall talk isn’t particularly shocking, it has raised a few eyebrows to see Fury’s name being used by the Klitschko brothers.
In an era when credible heavyweight challengers are few and far between it should come as no surprise that Fury is on the radar of Wlad and Vitali. Tyson brings a 17-0 record to the table. He has also beaten Dereck Chisora, a man who put up a great showing against Vitali.
The Klitschkos are running out of people to box. There are only so many blown up cruiserweights for them to knock out. It is up to Tyson Fury to keep himself in the best possible to position to hit the big time against either of the Ukrainian brothers.
As we are told time and time again by promoters, boxing is a business. There can be no doubt that Tyson Fury versus David Price would sell out most UK arenas. However, that sort of money would pale in comparison to money that Fury would get for a world title fight.
By remaining unbeaten Fury keeps himself near the front of the queue for such a payday. With a young family to look after it is hard to begrudge him that choice. Avoiding David Price does damage British boxing’s integrity but perhaps Tyson Fury is a little bit smarter than people are giving him credit for.