By Barry Holbrook: Ricky Hatton has concerns about Tyson Fury’s ability to take Dillian Whyte’s shots if he gets hit full force by him on April 23rd. Fury hasn’t indicated that he plans on boxing Whyte, and it’s unclear whether he can return to his old defensive fighting style.
The tonnage that Fury has packed on over the last two years for his fights with Wilder won’t be easy for him to lose, and he probably won’t even attempt to lose the weight.
Hatton believes that Fury will be asking for trouble if he decides to have an old-fashioned tear-up against Whyte (28-2, 19 KOs) like we’ve seen him do in his last four fights.
Fury was decked twice in his last fight by Deontay Wilder and took some massive right-hand bombs flush in that contest. What ultimately saved Fury was Wilder gassing out after four rounds, losing much of the steam on his shots from that point.
The one-time crafty Fury (31-0-1, 22 KOs) has turned into a simple brawler recently, and he’s shown a complete willingness to trade with his opponents.
Hatton: Fury must be more cautious
It’s a good sign that Fury has dropped weight, looking slimmer, and using movement in training for his April 23rd fight against Whyte.
“I think Tyson might have to go back to the old Tyson against Dillian,” said Ricky Hatton to BT Sport Boxing. “He doesn’t need me to tell him to do that; As far as speed, ability, and movement go, Tyson is head & shoulders above Dillian.
“The only chance Dillian has is if he clocks Tyson, and the more than Tyson stands there and trades like he’d one in his last two fights, the more chances he offers Dillian.
“Dillian will hit you and lay you out. I think if Dillian hits Tyson, I just wonder how often my old mate can keep getting up off his a** from these heavy, heavy knockdowns.
“I think one time [in first Deontay Wilder fight], he looked like he was out. So, he’s got to be a little bit more sensible in this next fight, and choose his moments, especially early. Pick him off early but box him, take the sting out of him first, and then put his foot down the home straight.
“I think that he has to be a little bit more cautious and show Dillian the respect that he deserves because he can hit, man. He’s got a good camp and excellent people advising him.
“I’m not saying he should go and run a mile to get away from Dillian because Tyson has proved that he can have it out with people. But I just think he gives up all his advantages if he goes toe-to-toe with Dillian.
“I think Dillian likes a toe-to-toe, and he likes a slugfest. Tyson has so many more, no disrespect to Dillian, but he has so many more attributes in his hand. He’s got height, reach, he can go southpaw, he can go orthodox, he can stand back and box and move and use his defense and sit on the ropes.
Tyson is burning out physically
Since Sugarhill Steward took over as Fury’s trainer in 2019, he’s arguably taken more punishment in that handful of fights than he has for his entire career.
It’s not that Fury has absorbed punishment because he’s getting older, but obviously, he is aging.
The reason Fury is getting hit a lot more than he ever did is that Steward has turned him into a straight brawler who gives up his 6’9″ height quickly and is willing to trade shot for shot at close distance.
Fury would be better off at his point returning to the style that he had before he met Steward, but I don’t know that he can.
“To me, Tyson would be a fool to give all those attributes up and go to war because that’s what Dillian likes,” said Hatton. “My whole month would be ruined if I went and performed and the fans were bored.
“Tyson wants AJ, and he knows if he takes his eye off the ball against Dillian, that fight will never happen. I think he’ll be on the ball, he’ll know what’s happening, and ultimately he’s got to be on the ball. It’s a dangerous fight, a massive fight.
“Bearing in mind that he’s burned the candles at both ends with his body. Not just what he’s done in the ring, it’s what he’d done out of the ring,” Hatton said about Fury. “You wonder because it certainly happened with my body.
“At some point, your body says, ‘I’ve had enough. I can’t do it anymore. You’ve done me in the ring and done me out of the ring. I’ve only got a few fights left in me,’ and that’s what your body does.
“Surely, with the fights that he’s had, Tyson surely is coming to that stage now. To me, as a friend, you’d like to see Tyson put on a great performance against Dillian, get the AJ fight and get out for me.
“Dillian has got to do what he does best. He’s a great pressure fighter, he’s in your face all the time, and he’s got to try and draw Tyson in.
“The reason Tyson has been on his backside a few times, not just the Wilder fights, but a few times previous is because he can get drawn in,” said Hatton.
Whyte will try to draw Fury into a war
There’s no question that Whyte will be going all out, attempting to force Fury into the same types of wars that he’s routinely been involved in with his recent fights with Deontay Wilder and Otto Wallin.
If Whyte can successfully draw Fury in, he could wear him down and catch him with a big shot to score a knockout. Whyte might not even need to pressure Fury into a war because his trainer SugarHill Steward likely will have him fighting aggressively using the Kronk Gym style that he’s taught him in a one-size-fits-all approach.
Unfortunately for Fury, Steward doesn’t seem to know any other training style other than the same Kronk Gym warring method that he’s taught since he took over as his trainer in 2019.
“Dillian will be in training camp thinking, ‘If I have the right tactics, stay in his face, cut down the ring enough, put enough pressure on him. Eventually, I will draw him in,” said Hatton.
“Dillian will be thinking to himself, ‘Tyson won’t be able to help himself. He’s a fighting man who will want to go at it with me. If I can just draw him into that fight.’ I think that’s what’s going to be in Dillian’s mind.
“’Tyson can be drawn in, and as long as I do the things in the early rounds to draw him in, I might get what I want.’
“Dillian has boxed in front of big crowds. It would be the biggest crowd that Dillian boxed in, but Dillian is a very determined man.
“He’s been the #1 contender [with the WBC] for 2 1/2 years on the outside, still waiting for your turn, still staying in the gym, still staying hungry; that just shows that he’s a really determined person.
“He’s been waiting forever and a day to get his title shot, and now he’s got it, I don’t think he’ll be found wanting in the nerve department. I don’t think the crowd will put him off. I think Dillian will warm to it rather than crumble,” said Hatton.