As Jake Paul and Tommy Fury prepare to finally face off in Saudi Arabia on February 26, Barry McGuigan has analysed the fight and its competitors.
The hall of fame fighter turner manager/pundit said that the event was attracting fans ‘who might not engage regularly’ with the sport – something clear from the huge buzz surrounding it.
Writing in his column for The Mirror, McGuigan first gave his opinion on the American and his level.
“[Paul] has trained and sparred at Freddie Roach’s Wild Card Gym in Los Angeles for a long time and has been operating at a good level as a white-collar boxer. He is actually a decent fighter, but his 6-0 record has been built largely against debutants of his choosing.”
He rates Fury about the same, although does stress that he has a long way to go if he, as he claims, does want to purse the traditional route of winning titles.
“Fury is very raw. He is a strong kid but a long term project if you are talking about him having a professional career. Four of his eight pro opponents had never won a fight. His first three racked up 154 defeats between them. That’s expected at this stage of his career.”
So what does is come down to? McGuigan believes that we’ll see Fury’s chin tested in the contest, and it could be the deciding factor. Paul has so far knocked out four opponents, although it’s important to note that each of those opponents had little to no experience in boxing.
“I think it is an even fight that will come down to Fury’s ability to take a shot. Paul can actually wallop. However, though he has acquired sound fundamentals, this will be the first time Paul has faced an equal threat.”
Whatever the result, McGuigan knows the fight will do big numbers and good business – something he’s fine with if it isn’t promoted as anything bigger than a novice fight.
The general principal of raw, enthusiastic personalities taking each other on clearly has an audience. This is a white-collar scrap that will generate a heap of cash.
And that’s okay. Money makes the world go round and as long as there are people who want to watch it then it is justified. I’m willing to embrace it as long as we understand it for what it is, a crossover contest, professional in name but not yet in substance.