By Paul Magno | November 02, 2023

Who’s up for beating a dead horse this week? Usually not me. But if the dead horse is as hate-friendly as that whole Fury-Ngannou debacle on Saturday, then a little leftover flogging is not only fun, but necessary. So, let’s address some Battle of the Baddest comments/questions in this week’s Sack.

Fury-Ngannou, The Shatting of the Bed

I couldn't agree with you more that the Fury fight was a big embarrassment. I don't think he embarrassed himself more than he embarrassed the sport of boxing. The media darling, dubbed by many as one of the greatest heavyweights of all time, a top 5 P4P fighter. Goes into a fight with a novice boxer and struggles through the first 6 rounds and leaves the controversy card on the table for the fanboys to cry about corruption in boxing. This is supposed to be our Heavyweight Champion? What a disgrace! 

Typically crossover fights are good for boxing, but not when a novice knocks down the heavyweight champion in a contested fight.  Francis Ngannou showed me nothing that led me to believe that he has a half-decent boxing acumen. If Fury was retired, I'd understand the results, but he's not, he's a Unified Heavyweight Champion in line for the Undisputed Championship. The fact that this fight was heavily contested with a "Controversial Decision" has to be one of the most shameful moments in recent boxing history.

Jake Paul has been cleaning MMA fighters' clock left and right. Sending a firm message that MMA and Boxing are two different paradigms. However, Fury couldn't uphold that message. Simply, because he's a cheese gobbler!  As you've mentioned he gets away with it all.  He's held to a low boxing ethic standard by the media; there's no pressure on him to stay active or live up to the platform of being the Heavyweight Champion. 

The media coverage of the fight refused to tell it like it is. As opposed to bashing Fury, they praised Ngannou. The only one who benefits from this fight is Ngannou’s next boxing opponent. Someone with a name is going to get a big payday to knock him flat on his butt. 

ESPN getting in bed with Saudi Sportswashing is the most hypocritical thing I've ever seen a sports network do. From the producers of Outside the Lines, the company that created the ethical sports code for athletes and organizations. Couldn't wait to get in bed with the Saudi Royal Family. The Worldwide Leader in Sports once did a segment bashing the Nevada State Athletic Commission. Questioned why they licensed Floyd Mayeather to fight, and insisted that he shouldn't be allowed to box due to his past domestic violence charges. Can you imagine if Al Haymon and PBC inked a deal with the Saudis? What would be the reaction in the USA?

In the meantime what happens to Usyk? Does he stay busy fighting or wait around for Fury? Who gets Ngannou next?

-- Nail Rahman

Hey Nail.

The one imperative in taking a fight like this is to not get yourself embarrassed. Fury took the fight lightly, didn’t prepare himself mentally or physically for Ngannou, and schlubbed his way through a ten-round split decision win while running on fumes and going-through-the-motions muscle memory. As of right now-- fair or not-- this Ngannou fail is probably the defining moment of his boxing legacy. He’s been saying that the money is all that matters, but I don’t buy that for a second. Every athlete, especially a high-end pro, has an ego and this Ngannou embarrassment has to be eating him alive.

I’ve said this many times before, but Fury is a hustler and a bit of a carny con man. And nothing infuriates a hustler and con man more than being caught up in his own game. He went in for the easy win, got humiliated, and it was 100% his own fault. We’ll have to see where he’s at mentally before assessing what his future may look like. 

As for ESPN, they’ve shown us who they are and, despite accusations of being “woke,” they are clearly as cold and uncaring as any of the sleaziest boxing operators. Just these past few years have featured them doing business with a cartel drug lord in Daniel Kinahan and a mass abuser of human rights in the Saudi royal family. Hell, their chief boxing guy, Mike Coppinger (who just got an extension on his deal with them), even nominated Kinahan for BWAA Manager of the Year. 

The hypocrisy is thick all across the boxing media world, but ESPN should be better and it needs to be held to a higher standard. And as “woke” as they are accused of being, they sure do cover black athletes doing bad a lot differently than they cover white athletes and sports figures doing bad (like, Dana White bitch-slapping his wife on video, for example).

Since your email, the Fury-Usyk unification has been pushed back to February. But I wouldn’t be surprised in the least to see it pushed back further and maybe even pushed off the table entirely. Usyk has to think beyond Fury at this point and prepare a firm career plan for when/if the unification doesn’t happen in the first quarter of 2024. Maybe Deontay Wilder, Zhilei Zhang, or Andy Ruiz next? 

Ngannou, meanwhile, exists as a big, fat cash-stuffed piñata just hanging there to be whacked. The best negotiator bringing the sweetest deal will get him and it should be a pretty simple money score. He should jump at that payday, too. Fighting low-level heavyweights, building his skill set, would be the best way to get good, but the smart business move would be to snatch the best incoming payday and then worry about becoming a “legit” main stage boxer later.

Fury-Ngannou, The Biggest Loser

Hi Paul.

I think we can all agree that everyone but Francis Ngannou and MMA geeks took an L in Saturday’s Fury vs. Ngannou fiasco. But it’s probably clear that Tyson Fury took the biggest L. What do you think will be the lasting impact on Fury, his career, and his legacy after this mess?

-- Sal P.

Hey Sal.

Fury absolutely wrecked his professional legacy with his poor performance on Saturday and you can see the proof of that all over social media in the days following that shit show. Man, being dropped and taken to a relatively close split decision by an MMA boxing novice fighting in his first pro bout is as reputation-wrecking as it gets. It would’ve been less damaging to his name if he was found to be a producer and distributor of animal scat porn. Just look one email above in this very same Mail Sack for some of the total disparagement coming his way now. People are unwinding and re-writing his entire career story off of this one showing. That’s how bad it was.

It probably isn’t fair to grind down his entire life’s work over the Ngannou fight, but it’s happening. I don’t feel sorry for him, though. Any “legit” pro taking on a novice like this in what amounts to a glorified exhibition has to know the risk of what will happen to his good name if he should lose or look worse than expected. There are consequences for one’s actions-- even in boxing. Hustlers sometimes lose...and sometimes they lose even when winning. 

Can Ngannou be “Legit?”

Hey Magno.

I don’t want to go overboard, but after seeing how well Francis Ngannou handled himself against Tyson Fury in Saudi Arabia, I think he has a shot to make some waves in the heavyweight division. Honestly, I can see him beating gatekeepers like Derek Chisora and Lucas Browne and maybe even some fringe contenders. He is a big, strong guy who maybe even, on a really good night, shock some of the top heavyweights. What say you? Can Ngannou shake up the boxing world?

-- Simon

Hey Simon.

Ummm, no. I don’t want to disparage the guy or dump on his big moment last Saturday because the man is a likable, legitimately inspirational figure. But, no. As I pointed out in my Notes from the Boxing Underground column this past Monday, his performance wasn’t “masterful,” as some have said, and he really and truly did not win that fight. That was a 96-93 fight in favor of a Tyson Fury who was all-around terrible. Aside from scoring the knockdown and maybe a couple of other brief flashes, Ngannou did nothing but plod forward and not suck as much as people thought he would. People got carried away with the backstory and the idea of the underdog rising to the occasion, but I don’t get where anyone could point to that performance and say, “yeah, that’s some great boxing!” 

Ngannou might be able to get through many boxing journeymen and maybe shock a gatekeeper or two. But he wouldn’t beat anyone “good,” just as he didn’t beat a very good fighter fighting poorly on Saturday. He’s super-humanly strong and has a rock-solid chin, but that’s it. It’ll be especially hard for him to get a big win now, after he proved that he can’t be taken as a joke. He’ll get that opportunity to prove whether he can swim in the deep waters and I bet every top heavyweight is salivating over the possibility of getting to him first for that big money reality check.

Got a question (or hate mail) for Magno’s Bulging Mail Sack? The best of the best gets included in the weekly mailbag segment right here at FightHype. Send your stuff here:

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