As Jake Paul and Tommy Fury prepared to go head to head in Saudi Arabia on February 26, Barry McGuigan analyzed the match and its opponents.
The hall of fame boxer/spinner says the event is attracting fans ‘who may not be a regular part of’ with the sport – something obvious from the loud around it.
Write in your column for Mirror, McGuigan first offered his opinion on the American and his qualifications.
“[Paul] has trained and competed at Freddie Roach’s Wild Card Gym in Los Angeles for a long time and has performed at a good level as a white-collar boxer. He’s a really good fighter, but his 6-0 record was mostly built against the debuting fighters of his choice.”
He also rates Fury the same, although emphasizing that he has a long way to go if he, as he claims, wants to follow the traditional route to winning titles.
Rage is very raw. He’s a strong kid but a long-term project if you’re talking about him having a professional career. Four of his eight professional opponents have never won a match. His first three games resulted in 154 losses between them. That’s to be expected at this stage in his career.”
So what is going down? McGuigan believes we’ll see Fury’s chin tested in the competition, and it could be the deciding factor. Paul has so far knocked out four opponents, though it’s important to note that each of those opponents has little or no boxing experience.
“I think it’s a balanced fight that will depend on Fury’s ability to hit. Paul really can wallop. However, even though he has solid fundamentals, this will be the first time Paul has faced a comparable threat.”
Whatever the outcome, McGuigan knew the match was going to be in big numbers and doing good business – which he was fine with if it weren’t advertised as anything bigger than a new match.
The general principal of raw, enthusiastic personalities confronting each other clearly has an audience. This is a white-collar scrap that will generate a pile of cash.
And that’s okay. Money makes the world go round and as long as there are people who want to see it it makes sense. I’m willing to accept it as long as we understand what it is, a cross-contest, professional in name but not yet substantive.