Lennox Lewis vs McCall I: Is Tyson Fury seeking that "magic bullet" against Deontay Wilder?
According several unsubstantiated reports, Fury's training hasn't been as smooth as some would have expected.
In mid December, Fury shocked the boxing world by announcing he'd released Ben Davison as his trainer and hired Javan 'Sugar' Hill, nephew of the late, great boxing mentor Emanuel Steward.
Although Fury does have a little history with Hill, why did he make the change just 8 weeks ago when he could have done so following his bout with Otto Wallin on September 14?
Regardless of whether there's any truth to the rumor, Fury's timing is odd.
Of course, Fury insisted he replaced Davison because he wanted to learn to be more effective offensively with the expectation it would give him a better chance to knockout Wilder in the rematch.
But, was Fury able to adopt a new style in just 2 months?
When the great Emanuel Steward took Lennox Lewis and Wladimir Klitschko under his wing, it took those fellas several fights to get in-sync with the trainer's new concepts.
In fact, with Steward debuting as their trainer, both fighters had lackluster showings.
Under Steward's tutelage, Lewis and Klitschko would eventually become long-reigning champions and boxing legends. And Steward was credited with transforming Lewis and Klitschko from aggressive punchers to a more defensively-oriented boxers.
But, again, that transformation didn't happen overnight or even 3 months.
So, what is Fury looking for in Javan Hill?
Is he looking for that "magic bullet" answer... That one piece of specialized advice that'll serve as the key to toppling Wilder?
Let's go back to September 1994 when heavily favored WBC heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis was defending his title against journeyman Oliver McCall, who was known more for being Mike Tyson's top sparring partner than a true heavyweight contender.
In Round 2, McCall loaded up with a counter right hand that remarkably put Lennox down. It was a well-timed shot thrown with McCall's entire body behind it. Lewis was up at the count of six but was wobbly. Lewis then put his gloves up and stumbled into referee José Guadalupe Garcia who stopped the fight.
And just like that... We had a new WBC Heavyweight champion.
And guess who was McCall's brand new trainer at the time?
"It was no lucky punch. It was well planned," trainer Steward said afterwards.
Like Wilder, Lewis had a magnificent right hand but not much else offensively.
In films, Steward noticed how lazy and wild Lewis was when unleashing that punch, often leaving himself open for a counter shot.
Given Steward didn't have much time to work with McCall or change his style, Oliver's entire training camp was spent on one thing - Him slipping Lewis's right hand and countering with a hard right hand of his own that would serve as the kill shot.
And it worked.
"I was trying to catch him with that shot from the opening bell," McCall stated afterwards.
McCall was nowhere near as talented, skilled or athletic as Lewis but he had the "magic bullet" that night. It was after that fight that Lewis fired trainer Pepe Correa and hired Steward, and the rest is history.
Is Fury & Co looking to replicate that scenario against Wilder in their rematch Saturday?
Have they seen a vulnerability in Deontay, like Steward saw in Lewis, that could result in a 1 or 2 punch knockout?
Is Team Fury's strategy that simple?
Are they, too, looking for that magic bullet they hope will end the fight quickly and decisively?
There are very few "magic bullet" answers on this level but it 's happened before.
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