IF you happened to be playing the how-long-will-it-take-Ebenezer-Tetteh-to-mention-Andy-Ruiz-Jnr-ahead-of-his-fight-against-Daniel-Dubois sweepstake, the answer is this: September 16, 11 days from fight night.
Today the unknown Ghanaian has issued Dubois, 12-0 (11), a warning, told him not to overlook him, and pinpointed the motivation behind his plan to defeat Dubois the way Andy Ruiz defeated Anthony Joshua on June 1 in New York.
The motivation: revenge.
“I am going to England to get revenge for my countryman Richard Lartey,” said Tetteh. “Richard gave Daniel hell but couldn’t get the job done – I will finish what Richard Lartey started.”
It should come as no surprise that countrymen Tetteh and Lartey share many similarities. Their records are littered with straightforward wins in Ghana and Tetteh, like Lartey before him, is a danger, according to the press releases, for the simple reason he is undefeated and knocks a lot of Ghanaians out.
The truth, however, is that Tetteh is unbeaten in 19 fights – with 16 of those wins coming by way of knockout – but has not a single notable win on his record. He has fought in near-enough every school gymnasium in Accra and, at 31 years of age, would surely have made the move away from his homeland already if he had the talent to do so.
Still, until it’s proven he is out of his depth on September 27, Tetteh, like Lartey, deserves the benefit of the doubt. And, though it’s obvious, by now old hat, his decision to reference the demolition job Andy Ruiz Jnr – the underdog of underdogs – performed on Anthony Joshua earlier this summer retains relevance if only because Tetteh, too, is a heavyweight with two arms and two legs.
“Daniel is speaking a lot about fights with David Price or Dereck Chisora,” said Tetteh. “He is definitely overlooking me. It reminds me of when Anthony Joshua was going into the fight with Andy Ruiz and kept talking about fighting (Deontay) Wilder and (Tyson) Fury.
“He got punished for overlooking his opponent and I will punish Daniel Dubois.”
It’s worth bearing in mind that if Tetteh and Lartey appear to be flipsides of the same coin, Tetteh and Ruiz are about as different as two heavyweight boxers could possibly get – in style, ambition, pedigree and anything else you feel like throwing into the mix. It seems a stretch, therefore, to connect them in any kind of way, and an even bigger stretch to visualise an unknown Ghanaian doing to Daniel Dubois what Andy Ruiz did to Anthony Joshua.
For the best part of a year Tyson Fury, thanks to a bit of heroism against Deontay Wilder and a thrashing of Tom Schwarz, has been heralded as the uncrowned heavyweight champion of the world and a sure-fire bet to beat Wilder in a rematch, Anthony Joshua in a football stadium and Andy Ruiz Jnr with one hand behind his back.
But then along came Otto Wallin, two cuts and three scorecards and all of a sudden the perception of ‘The Gypsy King’ has shifted somewhat.
As knee-jerk and unwarranted as the initial hullabaloo, Fury is now deemed “weak” and a “kitten” by his own father and has, in the minds of those who once lauded him, been recast as little more than a light-hitting also-ran in the heavyweight pack.
It’s correct what they say, you really are only as good as your last fight. Yet, in Fury’s case, a bit of perspective is probably now required, just as it was nine months ago when he performed admirably against Wilder but was still held to a draw, and just as it was three months ago when he took apart a novice German nobody had previously heard of. The truth, as always, will then be found somewhere in the middle.
“It doesn’t affect his standing, how can it? He won the fight,” said Frank Warren, Fury’s promoter, in the aftermath of Saturday’s decision win over Wallin. “He won it with a serious injury.
“I was concerned when the doctor went to the corner a couple of times he would stop the fight – maybe another doctor would have stopped it.
“The bottom line is Tyson won the fight. He did what he had to do, he hurt him a few times. Wallin was a very credible opponent.
“All these people, armchair critics and judges, who come out with various predictions for fights, I have to keep saying to them anything can happen with these big guys and it nearly did again.”
Certainly, nothing can be taken for granted in the heavyweight division. It’s a line trotted out time and time again, especially when somebody like Andy Ruiz Jnr reminds us never to forget, and it will never not be true.
Equally, though, let’s not forget the whole reason Fury selected Wallin – and that’s precisely what he did – was to look good, hopefully stop him, and then bathe in the same kind of adulation he received when beating Schwarz in June.
That this didn’t happened will of course be deemed disappointing. It will be a disappointment to Fury, who came away with some nasty cuts for his efforts, and it will be a disappointment in the eyes of those who invested in the Fury roadshow and did so on the promise of fireworks and, failing that, some fearsome combinations.
It might, however, help speed up the process of getting Fury in the ring with Wilder again. Because, cuts or no cuts, the image of Fury struggling to make a dent in Wallin will prove a greater sales pitch than that of him folding him away in a couple of rounds.
So long as he heals up in time for February 22 (the reported date of the Wilder rematch), that is.
“The doctors here said as much as it was a very bad cut it was a clean cut and doesn’t need micro-surgery inside and it will stitch well so, fingers crossed, it will be all right (to face Wilder as planned),” Warren said.
“He said although it was deep they are not hard cuts to sew. He said they should heal pretty well.”
The cuts will heal and so too will the pain of the backlash. It remains to be seen, though, what the real fallout from Fury’s 12 rounds against Wallin ends up being.
Will, for instance, Fury be allowed another handpicked opponent designed to make him look good, or will Wallin be his last? Will Ben Davison, a man criticised by Fury’s own father, remain in his corner going forward, or will a shakeup be required? Is he now ready for Wilder?
The plan was to make a statement on Saturday in Las Vegas. But, in the end, all we came away with were two cuts and several questions only Tyson Fury can answer.