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Steve Cunningham Can Beat Tyson Fury: Madison Square Garden Fight Preview

By Robert Brizel, Real Combat Media Correspondent


 New York, NY (March 17, 2013)– Steve Cunningham can beat Tyson Fury on April 20. Remember the hype for David Price in England? He folded in less than two rounds against Tony Thompson in his hometown. On this occasion, Tyson Fury will be coming over here to America, a lion inside another lion’s den, and Tyson Fury will get eaten in Madison Square Garden.


Tyson Fury is ranked eighth on BoxRec, Cuningham twelfth. David Price was ranked high too before the Tony Thompson loss. A careful look at Fury’s record reveals he has fought only twice outside of the United Kingdom.What do you find? An eight round decision win over 21-32-2 Zack Page in Canada in December 2010, and a six round decision over 4-22-5 Tomas Mrazek in Ireland in September 2009.


YouTube observers won’t be impressed by Fury’s fifth round knockout of Marcelo Luiz Nascimiento of Brazil at Wembley Arena in London in February 2011, the same Nascimiento who has lost four of his last seven bouts outside of Brazil where padded records are notorious, and world champions since Eder Jofre nonexistent.


Fury’s victory over a 38 year old Vincent Maddalone of New   York proved nothing. Maddalone failed in all eight step up fights was placed in, from Al Cole to Evander Holyfield. Fury decisioned American Kevin Johnson-who could not win one round against Dr. Vitali Klitschko in a WBC title bout. Against Fury in the United Kingdom in a WBC eliminator, one judge gave Johnson two rounds. Johnson had lost a three rounder in the London Prizefighter Tournament six months earlier.


Fury’s best and only legitimate win to date was a 12 round decision over Dereck Chisora for the Commonwealth British Empire title in July 2011 in London.  Chisora has won only one of his last five bouts-a six round decision win over 18-43-3 Remigijus Ziausys-which raises more questions about Chisora than it does answers.


The Steve Cunningham camp will turn to fight footage, which will show Fury getting knocked down from a right to the head thrown by unknown Canadian Heavyweight champion Neven Pajkic in Manchester in the second round of a November 2011 bout. Experts have to theorize is an unknown commodity like Pajkic can take Fury down, what will happen to Fury against Cunningham.


Fury, like Price, has height and reach advantage. Unlike Frank Bruno versus Gerrie Coetzee, Fury leaves the United Kingdom having not been in against either an established commodity or a power hitter and now being put to the test. Cunningham, who got robbed in his most recent rematch bout loss against Tomas Adamek, is a wounded hungry lion desperate to rise in the heavyweight division after leaving cruiserweight, and this is his last big chance at age 36 at this point in the game.

To win this bout, Steve has got to get to the inside on Fury right away. Fury’s defense, like David Price, has holes in it, wading in with his hands down. Steve has to keep his tight defense up, and punch big holes inside Fury’s shell of a fighter. Whewn he does, Fury will fall like a tree trunk and not be able to recover.


One disadvantage Cunningham will have is weight disparity. At 203 pounds, he is considerably less than Tony Thompson’s 262 pounds, and Tony Thompson’s 245  pounds. Cunningham will need to have beefed up to full fledged heavyweight for this bout (in developed musculature). Even so-he is unlikely to push Fury around.


On paper, the weight disparity versus Tyson Fury would seem to reduce Steve’s chances. Cunningham’s key advantage to overcome Fury will occur in his ring generalship ability to: force a face pace; force Fury to fight his fight; put pressure on Fury; and cut off the ring consistently. Getting his front left foot to the outside of Fury in close will neutralize Fury’s height and reach advantages, and allow Steve to do damaging bout work and land uppercuts-which will confuse Fury and break down his resistance. This will take time and hard work, but Steve is up to the task.


Steve has to be careful not to get caught out of fighting position, such as Manny Pacquiao did in his recent fourth bout with Juan Manuel Marquez, as Fury could use his power from any distance to overwhelm Cunningham if given the chance.


Fury’s height advantage against a smaller height but superior technical opponent could prove to be an awkward disadvantage in a long technical fight featuring a lot of wrestling, holding and punch misses. Tavoris Cloud missed Bernard Hopkins over five hundred times in their recent light heavyweight bout. If Cunningham can mix ‘frustration with the fury’, the latest heavyweight version of ‘Tyson’ may wind up like the last version of a Mike Tyson did against Danny Williams-knocked out.


Fury could not do anything with Page, Johnson or Chisora. Now Fury will be against a fighter one class above with only 70 rounds bouts to Cunningham’s 214. The key lies in Cunningham’s additional eight years of experience (Cunningham began his career in 2008, Fury in 2008). Cunningham has fought 10 International Boxing Federation world, regional and eliminator bouts. The Fury bout, an IBF eliminator for the number two rating position, will be his eleventh. Fury fought a WBC eliminator against Kevin Johnson, but has no IBF experience, and is unknown to the judges in America, though we don’t know who the judges in Cunningham versus Fury will be. American judges will favor Cunningham. International judges should be neutral but would know Cunningham’s name more so than Fury’s.


Tyson Fury’s name is perhaps a bit better known than his face. Beyond round eight, Fury has been in a nine round bout, a ten round bout, and two 12 round bouts. This translates to 31 rounds beyond the eighth round in the so-called twilight zone. Now contrast Fury to Steve Cunningham’s two 10 rounders and seven 12 rounders-a total of 114 rounds boxed beyond round eight. Cunningham will need to drag Fury into the later rounds after eventually working him over, and force a stoppage against an overmatched and overhyped Fury in a hard fought competitive bout.


Steven stopped Marco Huck in the twelfth round of a cruiserweight world title bout, and Huck, who proved himself a legitimate heavyweight in his close decision loss to Alexander Povetkin, is as dangerous as they come, like Steve a cut above the rest.

Steve has to be careful he does not get head butted and cut against Fury, which should not happen due to the height difference, but if Steve wages an inside war, who knows? If the bout went to the cards, Steve would be ahead of Fury.


There is a threshold defining the quality of fighter. Steve is an ‘A’ level heavyweight.

Much like Jerry Quarry’s disposal of pretender Jack Bodell in Wembley in 1971, Dereck Chisora, David Price, Frank Bruno, Joe Bugner, Matt Skelton, Danny Williams, Julius Francis-then and now British heavyweights have come and gone. David Haye failed against Wladimir Klitschko and Carl Thompson. Neither Fury nor Price could beat a Robert Helenius or a Kubrat Pulev, which is why they have avoided them. The British do not have fair chances against Cunningham. Perhaps they feel with height and reach advantage they can outwork Cunningham.


When Steve Cunningham gets his jab rolling and starts to outwork Fury, and Fury has to change his game plan, he won’t be able to do it because he cannot set the pace or the tempo of the fight. The fight will drag itself ugly into the later rounds, which is exactly where Steve wants this bout to be. A beaten, tired Fury will eventually fall.


Prediction: Cunningham by stoppage win over Tyson Fury in round 11 or round 12.


Also on the April 20, 2013 card at Madison Square Garden will be the second professional bout of Tyson’s Fury’s cousin Hughie Fury. Chris Eubank Jr. will appear on the card. An eight rounder between Curtis Stevens and Derrick Findley will only go the distance if Findley has prepared for the bout with a full training camp, as Stevens is a closer and won’t waste time if Findley has not done the work.


The Alamodome bout between Austin Trout and Saul Alvarez on San   Antonio, Texas, will take place at the same time as Cunningham versus Fury. It would have been a much better move for Main Events Promotions and the Austin Trout people (Trout beat Miguel Cotto at The Garden last year) to come together and put Alvarez versus Trout on the main event after Cunningham versus Fury.


British fight fans are paying megabucks for the Cunningham versus Fury pay-per-view. The overall worldwide pay-per-view could have been worth much more to the fighters and the promoters if Fury versus Cunningham, and Trout versus Canelo Alvarez were on the same card at Madison Square Garden where they both should be. However, the Alvarez camp may not have wanted to fight Trout at The Garden.


Height wise Steve, who stands 6’3″ would be shorter against the Klitschko brothers but not against against the 6’2″ Alexander Povetkin. If Steve can get by Fury, which he will, he will land a shot at the world title against the World Boxing Association Heavyweight champion, Povetkin, in a bout which for Steve is clearly winnable-if Steve does the right training preparation for a ruthless 12 round technical war.







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