Boxing

Tyson Fury’s Floppy Glove: Fact or Fiction?

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The idea that Tyson Fury and his team did something underhanded/shady/downright illegal when he beat the bronze off The Bronze Bomber on February 22 is gaining momentum.

Unless you’ve forsaken YouTube and social media—and kudos to you if you did decide to pull yourself out of that vortex of oddities—you’ve probably heard the theories by now. Led by YouTube personality, Young Pharaoh, the accusation is that Fury manipulated his left glove in such a way that his hand was “popped” out of it and his fist balled up by the laces where there is little padding. That manipulation would allow Fury to hit Wilder with, essentially, a bare fist, when a punch was thrown from a specific angle.

To support this theory, there’ve now been a gaggle of videos showing clips of Fury hitting Wilder with the wrist of the glove and a floppy, clearly empty top portion of the glove wobbling with each swing.

Unfortunately for this train of accusation, almost all the videos of Fury doing this are from the first Wilder bout and the one or two clips of Fury possibly doing this in the second fight are not very clear at all. Footage of referee Marcus McDonnell forcing Fury to have his hand re-gloved prior to his fight with Christian Hammer in 2015 and an accusation from an ex-sparring partner about Fury manipulating his gloves in sparring lend some credence to the possible shadiness of Team Fury, but don’t specifically speak to any dirtiness in Fury-Wilder 2.

Young Pharaoh and others have also tossed out theories about Wilder possibly being drugged before the Fury beatdown, something which plays to a general conspiracy involving the then-defending WBC heavyweight champ being screwed out of his title for whatever reason.

So, what do I think about all of this stuff?

Honestly, I don’t know.

I don’t know anything about that Pharaoh character and, to be honest, his hyper ADD-style presentation and the odd tic of sometimes repeating words and phrases three or more times make him sound kooky. And, most of all, the evidence he provides—while somewhat compelling as it relates to Wilder-Fury 1—is relatively flimsy in proving anything for Wilder Fury 2.

However, I have had some credible boxing people give this “floppy glove” accusation credence, including a pair of former world champs and a former manager.

I also, honestly, don’t trust Fury as far as I can throw him. I don’t buy that he donated his whole Wilder 1 purse to the homeless, I don’t buy the story of him giving his shoes to a homeless guy, and I don’t buy into much of the mythology built around his character since he beat Klitschko.

Predictably, the backlash to this idea of Fury having manipulated his glove against Wilder has been intense. For the most part, the “sour grapes/sore loser” tag has been attached to those making these claims and/or those willing to entertain the possibility of some shadiness.

Those crapping on the theory will point to the fact that the commission closely supervises the wrapping of hands and the lacing up of gloves. The counter to that, though, is the reality that many commission inspectors are friends, family, business contacts of political appointees in the commission and not necessarily “boxing people.” Shady stuff can and does happen under their supervision, so, them overlooking, well, anything, is not a guarantee of everything being on the level.

Glove tampering is real. When I worked on the actual fighting side of the business I saw some things that ranged from questionable to flat-out deceitful—all done under the watchful supervision of commission inspectors who could almost all be hustled, distracted, and swerved by some basic sleight of hand. Back when Antonio Margarito was roaming the landscape ripping chunks from opponents’ faces, I was calling BS on his reign of terror and telling everyone who would listen that his gloves or wraps need to be checked. Of course, nobody listened to me until AFTER he was busted with the doctored hand wraps.

For some fans, it seems hard to swallow that boxing is not a sport like all other sports. But, really, it isn’t.

I’m not saying that I think Fury is necessarily guilty of what he’s been accused of doing, but it’s not out of the question that he COULD be. Either way, it doesn’t appear that any of this floppy glove stuff was a factor in the second Wilder fight because there really wasn’t much evidence of it happening in that rematch and, anyway, most of the damage done to Wilder came via Fury’s right hand. I wouldn’t at all put it past Team Fury to be capable of doing something like that, though, and I wouldn’t assume that the commission would be capable of catching it if they did try something shady.

I’m not even going to touch on the part about Wilder being drugged. There have been accusations of that happening before, but to make something like that stick in the case of Deontay Wilder, it would involve a broad and unwieldy level of conspiracy. He was not some foreign fighter coming into the country whose only contacts for food and water came through the host country promoter. Again, I’m not saying that it isn’t possible…just not likely.

The most plausible explanation for what happened on February 22 is that Wilder simply got his ass beat by a very good fighter with the right game plan who exploited some of his fundamental weaknesses. There doesn’t have to be any more than that. It’s boxing, that stuff happens…and it happens much more frequently than black flag skullduggery.


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Paul Magno has over forty years of experience in and around the sport of boxing and has had his hand in everything, from officiating to training. As a writer, his work has appeared in several online publications, including Yahoo Sports, Fox Sports, FightHype, Max Boxing, Boxing.com, Inside Fights, The Boxing Tribune, The Queensberry Rules, and Premier Boxing Champions. You can reach him at: paulmagno@theboxingtribune.com