That Klitschko-Fury fight was a disappointment. Not because of the outcome- I don’t really have any love for either fighter. It was a disappointment because Klitschko basically lost the fight…inside his head.
Klitschko didn’t throw any serious punches the entire fight. Why? It wasn’t his ability, because we all know that he has the skills. But those skills were never put on display. At first the approach seemed calculated, like he was feeling out his opponent. Tyson came out in the first round moving erratically, in an apparent effort to throw off Klitschko’s timing. In that case, it would be wise for Klitschko to size him up. In the second it seemed as if Klitschko was being cautious, reluctant to make a mistake. The crazy-eyed Tyson was unpredictable and I could see why Klitschko would be worried about being tagged with an unexpected shot. But the same reserved, unsure approach would continue throughout the fight.
It was incredible to watch. Klitschko continued to shift constantly, measuring his opponent. Round after round ticked off and Klitschko never pulled the trigger. You kept waiting for him to land a strong right that would open up the flurry of punches that we know Klitschko’s capable of. But it never came.
There doesn’t appear to be any physical reason why Klitschko held back. He was in shape, he wasn’t lethargic, and didn’t display evidence of being tired or injured. It seemed as if something inside his head was holding him back.
Jim Lampley made an interesting statement during the fight. He mentioned all of the distractions that Klitschko had faced this year. The birth of a child, his wife’s treatment for post-pardum depression, and a few other things. Sure, some will point to his age and the possibility that his drive has waned over the length of his decade-plus reign. But to me, it looked like those distractions were getting the best of him. I saw a bit of proof during the stoppages.
Between rounds his corner pleaded with him to pick it up, but Klitschko’s response to their urging was telling. He just sat on the stool, staring forward, virtually ignoring them. Nothing they said seemed to be registering. Klitschko just didn’t seem “present.”
I think the distractions in Klitschko’s life outside the ring affected his ability to perform. It probably wasn’t a conscious thing— he likely wasn’t thinking about those non-boxing issues during the fight. But they were there and- as we’d say in my native New Jersey tongue…they messed with his head.
Distractions affect us all. They’re part of what I call, “The Evil Trilogy” of our professional existence— procrastination, distraction, and neglect. They hold us back from excelling in a variety of ways. Even if we’re not a prize fighter we can see how life’s distractions could affect our individual ability to execute in our own professional ring.
Klitschko came ever-so-slightly alive in the last round and we saw glimpses of his power. But even that effort was half-hearted. There was too much holding when he should have been making a frenetic attempt at a knockout. His distractions were so strong that they actually deadened his fighter’s instincts. Instead of making a three minute desperate attempt for a win he held, danced, and seemed to accept defeat. The Evil Trilogy strikes again.
Photo from SkySports: http://www.skysports.com/klitschko-vs-fury/news/33472/10056597/booking-info