Jonathan Doidge speaks to former WBO super featherweight boxer Barry Jones
Now Saturday sees the big fight, doesn’t it? One of the biggest fights between two British boxes in history really. Tyson Fury puts his WBC Heavyweight title on the line against Dillian Whyte. It’s a fight that has taken what seems like forever to put together. We’re going to look at this in a bit more detail now with former WBO Super Featherweight Champion Barry Jones. It’s a huge fight and a fight we’ve always had that tingle of anticipation.
Jonathan Doidge: Why has it taken so long to get this fight on in the first place?
Barry Jones: It’s been crazy. There’s a story with Dillian Whyte, where he waited almost two years for his title shot, and then got knocked out by Alexander Povetkin, got his revenge last March, almost a year to the month.
But I think it’s just been difficult, because he was a mandatory challenger, and the fight with the purse bids, and then obviously the fact while winning the purse bid, and then the way the purse bids are split up, it’s like 70%, 30%, sometimes 80/20, but Dillian is a big draw, and he didn’t think that was enough.
It just dragged on and no one wanted to sign the contracts. When you’re dealing with millions of pounds, apparently, I wouldn’t know this of course first hand, and I wish we did, but no one wants to leave a penny on the table. I think that’s where the issue where it is dragged on for so long.
But I think the main thing is that it’s signed, it’s done. Even though it’s a mandatory challenge for Tyson Fury, it’s still a dangerous fight, and also for Dillian Whyte, who waited so patiently for a couple of years to get his title shot, obviously, with, with Fury boxing Deontay Wilder.
That first fight being the draw, Dillian was meant to be next, but that went on to a rematch, and then obviously they signed a three fight deal. Only in boxing would crazy things like this happen, of course, but that just meant Dillian had to sit on the sideline, patiently waiting.
He deserves his opportunity and he gets it. But sometimes they say, be careful what you wish for, because he’s up against Tyson Fury who is probably the most dominant heavyweight we’ve had since Lennox Lewis.
Jonathan Doidge: Do you buy this Dillian Whyte claim then that Tyson Fury is good at dodging the best opponents?
Barry Jones: No, not at all. I think Tyson Fury’s whole career is based on beating two fighters to be fair. One’s Wladimir Klitschko in Germany, which is no mean fear, by the way, because this is a Klistchko who was better than the one who had that tremendous fight with Anthony Joshua and Anthony Joshua won his world title. What a fight that was, but actually Fury had a better version of him.
Obviously, then he came up and he had that great trilogy, and obviously the first fight was a draw against Deontay Wilder, who is the biggest puncher on the planet, and one of the biggest punching heavyweights there’s ever been statistically.
If he has been dodging people, the replacements have been pretty good. I wouldn’t tend to think it’s been that, but still they had only two fighters. Only three fights, you’ve had three fights on succession, with Deontay Wilder. They’ve been three fantastic fights, for their own different reasons, but it’s still only against one fighter.
In the last few years, he’s only boxed one guy where Whyte has boxed a variety of people, not at that level, but they’ve been good operators, and he hasn’t been afraid of a challenge. I understand why he maybe thinks that way, but I tend to think that he’s wrong. I think Tyson Fury is, I don’t feel he’s scared of anybody.
Jonathan Doidge: You’ve been there. You’ve done it. You know what all this trash talking, and all the rest of it, and the promotional stuff is beforehand. What do you make of Dillian Whyte’s refusal to get anything like as involved as Tyson Fury and all of that in the buildup?
Barry Jones: I understand it, because he feels a little bit like he’s being disrespected. That it’s the Tyson Fury show, which is sort of is, but he thinks that his name is a big enough draw and that’s contributed massively towards the 94,000 tickets that have supposedly been sold, and he should be a bigger part of the promotion.
Also the fact that he’s getting less than what he thinks he deserves. Then he thought “I’m only going to play, I’m only going to do the bare minimum. What I legally have to do.”
Now, him being quiet and silent and in Portugal in his training camp can work. That can be clever, if you are not sat there, festering, thinking, “I wish I was there. so I could say this.” If it’s playing on your mind, it’s a problem. If you’re relaxed about it, and you’re thinking it’s driving Tyson Fury mad, and you feel on the other hand, and you are having a chance to not break camp for any moment, and just going to concentrate on your training and on all the things you’re working on, then it can be a massive plus for him.
Jonathan Doidge: Okay, general questions before we get into the nitty gritty of who’s going to come out on top. Do you buy into Tyson Fury’s claims for example, first of all, about his retirement after this fight or is that just more hype?
Barry Jones: No, I don’t believe it. I didn’t believe the 15 other times that he was claiming to retire. The thing with Tyson Fury, though, he very well might retire. He’s that sort of character. He’s the king of wind ups, and you’re just never sure what’s true and what’s not true when he opens his mouth. That’s just how he is. That’s what makes him an engaging character, and a colorful one at that.
I don’t think, he’s not, he hasn’t had fights, his last one against Deontay Wilder by his choice. I think the way he boxed, and he’s earned a lot of money. But as we’re seeing with other fighters nowadays, in Kell Brook, for instance recently, there’s big fights out there, even at the end of your career. How do you turn down that money?
There’s still that Anthony Joshua fight. No, this is huge this fight Saturday night, but that fight’s still a bigger fight, and it’s still there. Even though Joshua doesn’t have a world title, it’s still a huge fight, and you don’t want to leave that. You don’t want to retire and leave that. You might retire and go away for six months and come back. But that’s not a real retirement.
Tyson just says stuff to either deter you from what you really want to ask, or just for the sake of saying stuff. That’s how he is.
Jonathan Doidge: What about how Dillian Whyte claims that Tyson’s team have treated him “like a nobody” in this buildup, and in terms of the expenses that, well, he claims they were offering him Ryanair economy flights, for example, to trek around to the various promotional pieces. What do you make of all that?
Barry Jones: Of course, they were going to…why wouldn’t they? You speak to people who’ve boxed Brits who have gone to the US to box, and they’ve got people knocking on your door at four o’clock in the morning, and you’ll get Americans who will say the same thing who have come over to the UK and box.
All these things will happen. Any any edge you can get, especially at the highest level, any edge you can get to rile that guy up, to get him out of his comfort zone, get him out of his mindset is a weapon for you to use. So yeah, I’d have him sat right next to the toilet every time, every time he flew, if that would wind him up.
But it won’t wind him up. I understand why he’s going “Well, if you are going to do that, I’m not going to turn up. Let the games begin.” That’s what’s happened.
Jonathan Doidge: All right, we’ve done our trash talking. Let’s get down to brass tacks. We’ve stepped in the ring. Tell us about what you see as the relative strengths, first of all. We’ll do weaknesses after, but the strengths of the two fighters.
Barry White: Well, the strength of Dillian Whyte, first of all, is his strength is mindset, and also his physical strength. He’s a physical fighter who can fight at a high pace, and likes to make you feel that power early, and feel that strength early and will put it on you. His commitment to his attacks is where one gets into trouble, but two also gets him out of trouble. Getting those big wins, getting those big knockouts. He will commit with every punch.
I think with someone like a Fury, who likes to give you opportunities, because he’s so clever. He almost wants to trick you into a mistake, because sometimes he doesn’t do it, because while, and we’re talking about a guy who’s not the same size as Deontay Wilder, who was the biggest puncher on the planet, who had to punch straight or down, this is a guy who’s going to come in lower and shorter and he’s going to slide into distance and punch up. Those shots are harder to defend against, because you don’t have the high guard where the elbow is tucked in. You have to parry with the glove, and push down with the punch. That’s a more difficult assessment for Fury to make in the ring.
But, the problem that he has, Dillian Whyte, is Fury can box a variety of different ways. Any stage of the round, any stage of the fight, he is one of those mavericks who doesn’t know what he’s going to do until literally the bell rings, and then he thinks I’m going to try this.
That might be, going back to Fury before the second Wilder fight, where he started to dance around and use the jab and use every inch of that six foot nine to lean back and make you miss and frustrate you and pick you apart.
Or the Fury we saw his last couple of fights, where he comes behind that real solid left hand jab, and he pushes you back, and he blocks or counters rather make you miss.
He can win a variety of different ways, but Dillian Whyte has to go forward, put pressure on Tyson Fury, and make him panic if he can. When he hits him and hurts him, as we’ve seen with Fury, his powers of recovery are quite special. He needs to hit him, hurt him, and not let him off the leash. He can hurt him, and he got his foot on his throat, you’ve got to keep that pressure on. That’s imperative. He doesn’t do that, then he might regret any ounce of energy gives Fury to escape. He’ll regret it.
For Fury, he can box at range and frustrate him, or I think he can do that catch and counter, block with the hand and counter. If he can back Dillian Whyte up, there’s no way Dillian Whyte can win.
Jonathan Doidge: Weakness wise, then, if you were stepping in the ring with him. Imagine just that you were quite a lot heavier than you are than you are, about 25 years younger. What approach would you be taking to Tyson Fury? What approach would you be taking to Dillian Whyte?
Barry Jones: Well, for Whyte, if I was Fury, for Whyte, Whyte’s got a really snappy jab, but he doesn’t use it enough. The jab that he uses more often is a pushing jab, which means if it hits you, it’s solid, but it’s slow. He brings it back low, which is the worst thing you can do. It goes out slow and comes back low. It gives you an opportunity to fire that right hand on the top.
Now Dillian Whyte has a long reach, but Fury has a longer reach. So, Dillian Whyte, being the shorter fighter, will sometimes get in the distance, and you’re surprised that he can reach you because you think you’ve got him into your jab, but he won’t get that same luxury with Tyson Fury.
Tyson Fury can literally feint, take a half a step back, draw the jab, the slow, lazy jab of Dillian Whyte and fire that right hand over the top continuously, and that can be a weapon where he just wears Dillian Whyte down.
Also just make Dillian Whyte miss. When he gets in close, Fury’s a better inside fighter than people give him credit for. He can tie you up, spin you, turn you. I think that can be attacked. He’ll use Dillian Whyte’s strengths against him.
For the other way, I think Fury will want to show off at times. When a fighter’s technically better than you, you make him fight at a pace he doesn’t want to fight at, which is a high intensity pace. Just make him whirl constantly, because a thinking fighter likes to set themselves to show off, to throw a punch. They want everything and every movement they make.
So, you make them rush their work, make them make a mistake, and just make sure you’re in range to make him pay for it.
Jonathan Doidge: Interesting. It’s very interesting. I mean, just listening to that dynamic, when you watch so many fights on television, and when you’re talking to somebody who’s been there and done that. How do you see it? I mean, the nitty gritty question really is how do you see it unfolding? Who’s going to come out on top and why?
Barry Jones: I think in a fight like this, I think you tend to think, how do you win? How does one win? How does the other one win?
The fact that Fury can win in more than one way, you have to make him a huge favorite. I think Dillian has to commit himself.
Now the good thing about Dillian Whyte, and why we all like him, why he is always an exciting fight, why he always gets paid good money, is that he commits with every shot. We love him for that. Everything he throws is the punch to put you to sleep. This is it. I’m going home after this shot.
But with that, he makes mistakes. He can get himself into trouble. As we see when he got Alexander Povetkin, he got knocked out with the lovely uppercuts. That will be his undoing. The fact, I think, that he will over commit. He will make a mistake, and Fury will either walk him down and keep a nice tight gap or he can dance around.
I think Fury can change tact mid round, which is almost impossible to do, especially in a fight of this magnitude to do that. He’s done it for a world tile. I think he can do it again. I feel that he will continuously hit Whyte enough to stop him late. I think that’s what it’s going to go.
Heavyweight boxing, anything can happen, you know that, but we’ve seen Fury get up off the floor, off the biggest pressure on the planet more than once. His powers of recovery, he doesn’t deserve credit for this. He’s born with this. His powers of recovery are quite special. He recovers, and he boxes with the same composure. That’s important.
When he gets hurt, he doesn’t panic. He boxes with the same composure as he did before he got hurt. That’s a gift, and that’s why you’ve got to hit him, hurt him, and continuously hurt him. No one’s been able to do that yet. I’m not sure the cruelness of Dillian Whyte is enough to do that, but I think it’s going to be a really fun fight.
I think Fury, the way he is, will have his little bits of adversity where he will get tagged and hurt. But I think he loves that, and I think the new Fury we see now, he doesn’t need to dance around to make you miss anymore. He knows he can stand in range and block you, put pressure on you.
This new jab he got with SugarHill, the Kronk Gym, the famous gym from Detroit. They turn the left foot forward when they throw that left hand jab. It’s not a left jab. It’s a ramrod left hand and they hit you. Whenever they hit you it pushes you back. He’ll use that so well against Dillian Whyte.
If he can do that, then I think Dillian’s really up against it. You’ve got to go with your head, and you’ve got to say, if Fury doesn’t outbox him and beat him on points, quite wide margin, then he stops him late.
Tyson Fury to win it either on points, or with a late stoppage: 1/5
Dillian Whyte to win: 7/2