In a classless display of ignorance and sheer stupidity, heavyweight contender Tyson Fury leveled personal insults at rival David Price after hearing about the Liverpool man’s 82-second destruction of faded, former Olympic gold medalist Audley Harrison.
Fury was ringside for James DeGale’s successful defense of his European title against rugged Frenchman Hadillah Mohoumadi in what amounted to an exciting fight. Unfortunately for everyone involved, a between-rounds interview with a petulant Fury (19-0, 14 KO) ended up casting a dark cloud over the broadcast.
During his senseless tirade against the gentlemanly Price (14-0, 12 KO), Fury both insulted the working class people of Liverpool and made inexcusable homophobic remarks and insinuations about Price’s sexuality.
Those who choose to watch the attached video should be warned that it is shocking and offensive, and an article posted on ESPN.com’s UK outlet also contains a written transcript of Fury’s outburst.
The ringside interview with Fury was prompted both by Price’s devastating win and by Frank Maloney—Price’s promoter—calling Fury out after the destruction of Harrison and offering Fury half a million pounds to fight Price.
What makes Fury’s outburst even more absurd is the fact that earlier this year he elected to vacate his British and Commonwealth heavyweight titles in lieu of facing Price after a bout had been scheduled, a fact supported by the above-cited ESPN article.
Mick Hennessy, Fury’s promoter, has deflected the issue of Fury backing down from a fight against Price, stating in the same ESPN article that Fury is operating at a higher level than Price due to having had more fights and currently holding the WBC’s No. 4 ranking.
Of course, Hennessy is naturally convinced that Fury would handle Price, and he cites a case of Fury dropping Price in sparring when Fury was essentially a novice and Price was a Commonwealth Games gold medalist. Whether such a story is true matters little at this juncture, and Fury and Hennessy’s deflection tactics register nearly as poorly as Fury’s pathetic, homophobic rant.
Price, whose devastating right hand and honed finisher’s instincts belie his gentlemanly persona, has refused to sink to Fury’s level, as reported in a separate ESPN.com UK article:
“The fight [against Fury] was ready to be made earlier this yet [sic] but Mick Hennessy couldn't put up the purse bid to get the fight made—they obviously didn't want it," Price told Sky Sports News.
Now all of a sudden they want it when the likelihood of it happening—in all honesty—is pretty slim. We're with different broadcasters and there's no purse bid so how it's going to happen...
As for his rant, I think he needs to go to anger management or something. Why so angry? What's your problem? This is a sport, what's the problem? It must be jealousy. I'll focus on Matt Skelton, Tyson Fury doesn't apply to me.”
Adding another level of insanity to Fury’s false bravado is that Price is already slated to face Matt Skelton on December 8. By ranting against Price, Fury is only furthering boxing’s epidemic of fighters insulting or calling out opponents who they have no threat of fighting immediately.
What is especially frustrating about Fury’s outburst is that he is talented contender who should, realistically, be one of the fighters to help deepen and carry the heavyweight division after the Klitschko brothers retire. Fury has displayed enough power and potential to generate interest based on his merits as a fighter, and resorting to petty personal insults to hype a fight only reflects poorly on his character.
It seemed that boxing—and sports in general—had taken a step forward when active Puerto Rican fighter and WBO number four featherweight contender Orlando Cruz publicly announced that he is a homosexual. Cruz’s declaration offers an example that perhaps others facing similar circumstances will elect to follow, and the move likely took as much, if not more, bravery than is required to step into a boxing ring.
Unfortunately, for every Orlando Cruz there will be a Tyson Fury. And it is for this reason than a sincere public apology—at the very least—should be demanded of Fury. Trash talking is fine and even has a place in sports; blatant ignorance, however, should not be tolerated under any circumstances.