By Paul Magno | February 08, 2024

Hello fight fans and welcome to another Thursday gathered around my bulging sack, waiting on my weekly load of gooey, salty truth. This week, we have questions/comments regarding Fury’s Cut, Canelo’s Earned Deference, Haney-King Ry, Munguia-Berlanga, the UK strikes back, More...

Fury and Fury’s Cut

Hey Paul! You've been around boxing for quite some time. How can a fighter intentionally cut himself? Asking for a friend of mine.

Regardless of the video and images circulating online about Tyson Fury’s cut. He bought himself more time. The Tyson Fury I know wasn't ready for this fight and he takes quite a long time to get prepared for big matchups. The 3 month delay will ensure his victory in a very decisive manner. 

Can we blame Fury? Ever since he rose from the canvas in the 12th round against Wilder, the boxing world has given him an unlimited supply of Kool Aid. He drinks it and he pisses it right back on them. 

I was ready to call your bluff on the fight not taking place on February 17th, but you were correct! If you were Team Usyk would you accept the delay or move on to other fights?

– Na'-il Rahman

Hey Na'-il.

There’s a lot of sleight of hand that can (and does) go on in the boxing world. Was Fury’s cut real? Yes. Was he cut accidentally in sparring? I’m going to say “I don’t know” and, given Fury’s history and his general carny hustler character, that’s being more than generous.

The video posted by Team Fury was not very clear, but you wouldn’t necessarily expect a sparring video to be perfectly shot. The bigger question for me is why a sparring partner would be flinging elbows at a main-eventer, two weeks before that main-eventer steps into the ring as one-half of a mega-worldwide event. If I’m being kind and conveniently naive, I’d say that was some tragically poor decision making and blatant negligence on the sparring partner’s behalf, something that would probably lead to him NOT being anyone’s sparring partner ever again. But I don’t buy that this guy would be so stupid/unprofessional/careless/selfish etc., even assuming it was possible to create that kind of gash around Fury’s headguard via normal sparring skirmish. 

If Fury were unwilling to go along with this fight on the February 17 date, a simple injury would not suffice. A medically unprovable soft tissue injury would not be enough for the Saudis. There’d have to be a broken bone or a cut. So, obviously, a cut would be the way to go. And, in this particular case, that cut could come-- in pro wrestling parlance-- the “hard way” via actual elbow/targeted punch to the vulnerable side of the eye, right between the eyelid and eyebrow and where Fury already had scar tissue. 

Let me just make it clear at this point that I’m not saying this is what happened. All I’m saying is that this is how it would happen if Fury wanted out of this Usyk fight at this point, so close to the actual fight date.

I’ve talked about this with a few friends in and around boxing. All have raised the same suspicions, but none would bring them up publicly. I get it. That’s going way out on a ledge. The boxing personality closest to doing so was Timothy Bradley, who was recently on the Deep Waters podcast, saying “I smell bullshit, that’s what I smell...This could be a set up. I understand the cut is there, and things happen, but that elbow looked freakin’ deliberate.”

I’ll take some flak for tossing this out there, but no worse than when I suggested in 2005 that something was fishy about the wraps or gloves of Antonio Margarito-- four years before he got busted for tampering with his wraps.

And, honestly, I don’t even know about that May 18 date. With a cut that size and considering when Fury would be able to resume sparring, there won’t be enough time for it to heal properly. May 18 would probably be a good target date for when Fury could resume full-on sparring. As it is now, if that date is meant to be kept, he’ll head into sparring with that cut still very much vulnerable to being re-opened. Maybe that’s what he’s going for. I don’t know. But the Saudis are the wrong entity to try and hustle and play with. 

You’re right. This Fury monster is one created by the media and how can you really blame him for treating everyone like suckers in a gigantic 3-card monte game?

If I were Usyk, I’d wait out this May 18 date, but I’d push for some sort of emergency backup to be put in place. Then, if Fury is still not getting in the ring, I’d just move on and never look back. Usyk’s missed so much valuable boxing time, as well as the birth of his child, waiting on Fury. It would be time to write the dream off. 

UK Overhyped (Revisited) 

Dear Mr Magno,

Huge thanks for your articles which I always enjoy. 

I've been thinking about your recent post on British boxing, along with a couple of subsequent posts to the mailbag that mentioned it, and as a 'Britisher' felt obliged to chime in. 

Whilst I'd agree with the majority of the sentiment expressed I do think that a couple of points were a little off target. 

You'll know, love or hate them, we have a couple of very able promoters, who might well speak complete bollocks, (well done for finally inserting, ahem, your bollocks into an article btw), and have the press in their back pockets, but isn't that the job description? In a similar vein, if the UK media is over represented on the world stage, surely that's a job well done?

The other thing is around national psyche, we're mostly not arrogant, harking back to Empire, believing that British is always best as someone alluded to in a recent mailbag.

We do know that most of our fighters are a bit rubbish, and actually, I think that's just how we like it. I mean try living with our weather and not being able to find delight in despair. The emotional rollercoaster of passionately supporting a valiant loser is quite the thrill.

I've often thought about the psyche of British fighters more generally, and do wonder whether the press, hype, promotion and money that seems to be so readily and disproportionately available to those with a modicum of talent, works against them achieving their potential - silk pyjamas and all that...

Whilst on those rare occasions we've been lucky enough to have a properly good fighter - say in recentish memory a Lennox, Calzaghe or Froch (I would count him) - they've simply not been popular domestically, or maybe only at the very end of their careers after they started to slide and look like they might get flattened. 

So yes, we love a loser, will support them with our last breath and to our last pound  - so bugger off. 

As an aside noted the Tyson Fury news last night, you totally called it. 

I'm sure you've seen the picture of the sparring cut, do you think it's genuine? 

Best wishes

– Ben

Hey Ben.

I certainly didn’t mean to make my assessment of UK fighters/UK Media/UK fight fans a nationalistic slam. Every group of people have an aura of collective character. Americans, for example, are a deadly blend of arrogant and ignorant. 

When it comes to the overhyping of UK fighters, I’m not blaming the promoters for doing what promoters do. I’d like to blame the UK media for not putting things in proper perspective, as is the role of media facing the bluster and hustle of promoters/managers/fighters/networks. But, really, if the media is made up of guys who are just as much fawning fan boys as the actual fan boys-- and who are, often times, in bed with the promoters-- then how could you expect them to be the last line of defense between bollocks (!) and reality? So, as the kids say: it is what it is. And, yeah, the UK media being over-represented on the world stage is a testament to their passion (and to the absolute lameness of American boxing media). So, good for them (bad for big picture journalism). 

I think that the development of fighters depends greatly on the trainers, sparring, and world stage atmosphere around them. That’s why a hotbed of fight talent, like in Los Angeles, benefits the developing fighter so much. Not only are the trainers seasoned at the highest levels, the sparring partners the fighters work with are often better than the opposition they’ll be facing. There’s also just a competitive vibe present that fosters next-level effort. It’s not because they’re working “in America,” it’s because they’re learning alongside people who will force them to be better and not just front-run at the gym, sparring a Bulgarian cab driver and their mate Ricky from Staines. 

There can be these hotbeds of quality training anywhere, but they’re scarce in Europe. So, what we tend to get are fighters trained up to a regional level, who are pretty much unproven when they get their big breaks at the world level. That’s often a recipe for failure. 

As for Fury, read my answer above. It’s a wise philosophy to never fully trust a hustler. 

Canelo’s Earned Deference/Munguia-Berlanga/Haney-Ryan/Usyk-Fury

Hi, Magno, as always, wishing you and your family are doing great. 

No matter who Canelo ends up fighting in his next two fights, thanks to his brilliant business decisions, he will be getting huge offers from DAZN and PBC for his next contract. On the PBC side he will have huge fights against Benavidez and Crawford that will surely hit one million PPVs, and on DAZN he will have easier but also profitable fights against Munguía and Berlanga. For all the top fighters he has faced in his career he deserves to be in this privileged position. 

On another subject, I’m Puerto Rican, but I favor Munguia over Berlanga. Berlanga has the Ryan Garcia attitude where he sees himself better than he really is. 

Haney will humble Ryan once again if they fight. 

After seeing how thin Fury looked in his preparation and the cut, I am favoring Usyk to win on the new date, just too soon for a cut like that to heal, if it does take place at all. 

-- Jr.

Hey Jr.

Canelo deserves the money fights and the position of privilege he’s in, but that can only go for so long. If he’s the unified super middleweight champ and fighting gatekeepers, junior middleweights, middleweights, and welterweights-- while actual, real super middleweight challenges start to stack up behind him-- then when will the earned deference end? My policy on Canelo is the same as with every fighter-- praise when deserving of praise, criticize when deserving of criticism. If this year goes by without him fighting an actual top ranked 168-pounder (Benavidez), he just needs to go away. Since unifying the division in 2021, he hasn’t actually fought a top contender in the division. That’s crazy. Piss or get off the pot already. 

Munguia, as flawed as he is, would kill Berlanga. Now and forever.

Haney should beat Ryan Garcia. But, to be honest, I think Ryan does better against Devin than many think he would. Garcia-Haney is a closer fight than Garcia-Tank. 

As for Usyk-Fury. Check out my answer above. I hate to be the turd in the punch bowl (again), but I think May 18 may be unrealistic. 

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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