I think it is close to a 50/50 fight.
AJ is so inexperienced to be taking a fight at this level, the truth is we really don’t know if AJ is an elite level fighter because he hasn’t yet really been in any elite fights. Not one of his current opponents was considered a legit top 10 fighter at the time he took the fight (though many now rate Dillian Whyte on the fringe of the top ten).
And some of his biggest flaws to date (little or no head movement, vertical upright orthodox style, few or no feints, or lateral movement, poor distance control) play to Wlads strengths (strangely those flaws were all Furys biggest strengths and why he won so easily).
Now you can equally make a strong argument that AJ has never shown any of these things because he has never needed to, and that he has consistently improved against each opponent and added things as he has gone. He is of course an 18 fight novice in the pro game and can’t be expected to be the finished article right now…
But that does mean I worry that simply because he has never had to do it he will lack the required smarts for the kind of ring generalship you need against such a canny fighter as Wlad.
Having said that….
Wlad has been noticeably slowing down since the Bryant Jennings fight, and I can’t see how this won’t have been exacerbated by 17 months out of the ring and the fact that he is now 41….
And Wlad has always been so risk averse. He doesn’t like getting hit, or taking punishment, not many fighters Wlad has ever been in will hit as hard as AJ clearly does. So much of his reign was based on utilising home crowd advantage and friendly refs, combined with a massive size and strength advantage to clinch and nullify threats before they happen. Then take the opponent into deep water and either bank a comfy points win or get a late low risk stoppage when opponent on their feet.
He simply won’t be able to do that at Wembley, with AJ size, speed and frightening power. It will require a very different game plan for him to win. Moving, boxing on the outside and taking risks. Maybe even just trying to dominate the centre of the ring and push AJ back. This surely won’t be in Wlad’s comfort zone at any stage in his career and surely not right now.
I think there is a good chance that Wlad just won’t want to know once he starts getting hit. And for someone who has always liked to counterpunch he might find that a 27 year old with real dynamite in his gloves gives him a massive surprise on the “take one, to land one stakes”.
So much of Wlad’s game was in using his excellent jab to counter punch the leads from the opponent, one thing that requires though is excellent reactions to get the timing right. I think most people agree that Wlad has by far the more educated jab (a big criticism of AJ for me is that he has often just pawed his jab as a rangefinder rather than as a weapon) but if Wlad’s reactions are just a split second slower that is going to make it a risky strategy.
Let’s be honest when was the last time that Wlad was in the ring with a puncher who had the ambition to take his power and actually knock him out? Probably Corrie Sanders I’d say and that didn’t end well for Wlad. Even Fury had no intention of trying to actually hit Wlad hard, most people just came to survive. For all Wlad’s experience the experience he has of ambitious punchers who stand toe to toe and have come to win is mostly mixed!
When ever I think about it in those terms I become sure AJ is a big favourite.
But then I think about AJs whiskers, and mostly if he has a decent set. I don’t think Whyte is that big of a puncher but he definitely had AJ in trouble. And Wlad really is a monstrous puncher…
And whilst the bodybuilder/ rubbish Frank Bruno jabs are a little over egged, we really don’t know what happens when AJ get’s taken into deep water. Does he have a 12 round engine if in a war and taking punishment. Can he fight on the back foot?
There are so many unknowns here. Which makes it a fascinating fight. The young lion versus the wily old fox. I honestly can’t remember anticipating an heavyweight title clash this much since Lewis vs Tyson.
But my final thought is this. There is a reason why very, very, very few elite athletes are still competing at the very top when north of 40. I saw Steve Bunce say “Father Time is, and always will be, undefeated in the ring”. At 41, and after so much inactivity, I just don’t quite believe that Wlad will be able to for 12 rounds not give AJ an opportunity to punch him on the chin really hard at least once. And I think that if AJ lands hard on Wlad’s chin it is game over.
So after all that Waffle, and assuming that Wlad doesn’t score a knockout first, I think AJ knocks out Wlad rounds 6-9!
December the third saw two motley crews of clearly out of shape, past it, ex footballers turn up to contest the inaugural Seymour Legends vs Crow Legends football match in memory of Recardo McDowell and to raise some money for Eva and her charities.
As the two teams got ready to play it was very clear the theme from both sets of play was “holy moley, can I really do 90”? Looking around the dressing room it seemed likely that rarely on a pitch has there been such a dearth of energy and pace since that episode of Father Ted with the octogenarian priest football tournament.
All these fear disappeared in a frantic opening in which both sides rolled back the years with a fast and furious first five minutes in which the Crow started with the upper hand. Not long into the match the Crow turned the creaking Seymour defence with a quick counter attack. Through on goal the Crow striker put the homeside 1-0 up with a little dink over the onrushing Chris “The Cat” Hayman.
Howls of (admittedly out of breath) protest came from the Seymour defenders that surely, surely there was more than a hint of offside, the Seymour lino Glynn sheepishly had to admit he hadn’t seen due to him admiring the nearby Buzzard. Seymour Legends manager and fullback for the day had to angrily admonish Glynn. It was you see a Red Kite, and not a Buzzard that had caused the distraction. The rematch prep will surely see Glynn sent for emergency Ornithological and Offside training!
After the initial rush though, and in response to going one down the Seymour legends started exhibiting a bit of control and brains. Matt “The Yak” Travis combined being both an immovable object and an irresistible force, holding off players, charging with forward with the momentum of a herd of stampeding bovines and using an unexpected (at least from this reporter) degree of finesse and skill in his through balls.
With Trav being the physical focal point of the attack most of the chances were falling to Simon Dowell who had some severe gravitational challenges in the first half. Si’s frequent meetings with the astroturf were monumentally unimpressive to the ref, who waved play on, and waved Si up.
With Seymour stalwarts Dan Billings, and John Tremblett starting to boss the midfield a few more chances started to come the Seymour’s way. Though shooting boots, and judgement of a few players seemed to have been left in the dressing room.
Eventually after a really good move from the Seymour Stevie P got the leveller that had been coming for a while.
A really good and even first half that had ebbed and flowed came to a halt.
At the start of the second half Seymour legends started well, Ian Curran, buoyed by Tony McDowell believing he looked just like Trem, started marauding forward from right back. Mark Tinsun forgot he was a rugby player doing a job and started playing like a Baresie esque Libero moving into the base of midfield and creating the space for the Seymour’s actual footballers to get space. Trem, Stevie P, Dan all linked up in a great move to create a chance that even on an off day Simon Dowell couldn’t miss, and with his powerful header from in the 6 yard box the Seymour went up in the game for the first time.
Then, in what would be very familiar to anyone who remember the legends when they were just the Seymour team, panic started setting in. The two former managers on the left flank, Ralph Ferrett and Jon Lake started to look every one of their near 100 years of combined age on the left flank. Missed passes started happening, missed runner and panicky clearances.
With renewed vigour the Crow started coming on strong, the Crow had a couple of corners in a row after a mistake by Ralph. And on the second corner some missed clearances in midfield the Crow via a deflected shot were able to level things.
Richard Channing then rolled back the years to take on his familiar Gunnery Sergeant Hartman persona to berate the Seymour into settling down. Rich and Mark started taking turns with intelligent marauding into midfield and the Seymour started taking control again.
Shortly after Ralph tried to relive his Butt Park hey day with a couple of air shot missed volleys the Seymour put together a good move, working the ball through the middle for Simon Dowell to calmly finish for his second of the game and the Seymour were 3-2 up.
At this point Jon Lake had to come off and Glynn Fulfit stopped his bird watching to come on for only his second appearance for the Seymour. Glynn had long held onto his record of ten minutes played, and two goals scored for the Seymour previously, a minutes to goal record better than Messi for Barca. Shortly after coming on, and through some tenacious tackling Glynn found himself beyond all the Crow’s defender, and his surprisingly decent cross to Trav was agonisingly just beyond him on the penalty spot.
Shortly after this after some good work down the right Dan Billings got the goal of the game with an absolute thunderbastard of a shot into the top corner and the Seymour were 4-2 up.
It was at this point that the lack of substitutes really started to tell. Ralph turned his ankle and the already injured Jon Lake had to replace him for the last 12 minutes. Everyone was getting tired and it was time for Chris the Cat, and Rich Channing to step up and try and shepherd the Seymour to victory.
Chris had to make several great saves at full stretch, and Ian and Rich were making last ditch tackles to keep the Seymour up ahead. But eventually the Crow got through on a break and and scored a good low finish at the near post to make it 4-3.
As the match due to it’s close tempers started to fray a little. The Crow’s Vinny, their (according to the rest of the team) entirely self declared best player was in constant dialogue with Ralph on the line about the intricacies of the offside law. By this stage in proceedings the standard of the banter was much greater than the standard of the football!
The Crow threw the kitchen sink at the Seymour for the last 5 minutes but to no avail. The whistle went final score 4-3 to the Seymour Legends!
Matt Travis deservedly picked up the man of the match gong. But it was truly a team performance. Especially as there were so many non footballers on the pitch for the Seymour. Well played to everyone.
So that leave the Seymour legends with a 100% record after two games; and sets things up nicely for the rematch when the Crow will be coming on tour to play in Plymouth in the new year.
So, like a stopped clock being right twice a day, I do occasionally agree with something the Tory Government do, and I very much welcome the policy around restricting the ability of letting agencies to charge fees.
Now I think it goes without saying that this sort of stuff is just rearranging deckchairs on the titanic. And that the only real solution to our housing crisis is to embark on a large scale program of building affordable housing for ordinary people to rent, or buy at reasonable prices, in the places where the housing is needed. However the perfect should never be the enemy of the merely better, and this policy does I think makes things better, albeit by a very small increment.
I posted the link from the first paragraph and my friend Lynn commented, perfectly reasonably, that she felt it would make little difference because the cost of these fees would just be passed onto the landlords, who would in turn pass them onto tenants.
I however think that this is wrong on a few grounds. Firstly, as the original piece argues, that tenants seldom make these fee’s a price consideration meaning there is little in the way of competition for agencies on the basis of fees they charge to tenant, and certainly chimes with my experience of renting through agencies. It is always an added cost I didn’t expect when deciding on the house.
Secondly because I rather suspect that most landlords have very little understanding of, or interest in the fees the agency charges the “other side”. There is likely to be little visibility of this. Furthermore for your average landlord I expect that punitive fee structures to potential tenants is likely to be something of which they would active disapprove of. Given that it might put of potential tenants and make it harder for their property to be let.
Because neither tenants nor landlords are giving much thought to agency fees for tenants then letting agencies have few checks and balances on ever inflating their fee structure. Something that has clearly been happening. The fee structures are utterly obscene, (and don’t get me started on guarantors, my hellish experience with my step daughter, a letting agency and an utterly ridiculous guarantor agreement is probably a topic for a whole other blog/rant!).
So anyway back on topic, if landlords start factoring the exorbitant fees agencies currently charge tenants, then their properties will go much less quickly than those that don’t as potential tenants will be less likely to view them because of the higher rental costs. And I am sure it goes without saying that one thing all potential tenants pay most attention too is the headline rent figure.
And more than that whilst renters are likely to be price conscious about the monthly rent first and foremost (with fees at best an afterthought) landlords considering who to use will be very conscious of any and all charges and fees payable by them that the agencies want to charge them.
This should create deflationary pressures of letting agents fees for tenants. Which is a market working as it should and a good thing.
Also it is pretty outrageous that agencies charge from both ends. At the end of the day they are providing a service to the landlord, in some respects I think it is a conflict of interest when agencies are making money off both the landlord AND the tenant. Heck in football they banned agents working for both player and club for exactly this reason.
I get that it isn’t unreasonable that the variable cost on a per potential tenant such as a pre contract credit check might legitimately be the responsibility of the prospective tenant… Though the rip off charges that agencies use to do this needs to be reigned in. A credit check costs about £15-£25 quid on the open market. The referencing fee I got charged by the agency for my flat was £175 quid! I’d suggest that if this remains the responsibility of the tenant then tenants ought to be able to shop around for cheaper referencing.
But the majority of the fees, paid once, are really part of the service that agencies are offering to the landlord. And it is only right that it should be the landlord that pays this. And therefore not inflating these costs for a quick buck will actually form part of how agencies make a competitive offer to potential landlord clients.
One of the many problems with private renting for relative poor working class working schmucks like me is that private letting is the wild west. There is virtually no regulation, everything in the deck is stacked against you (and I realise it can often be difficult for amatuer private landlords too, but that is a different topic).
Agencies get away with what they can. Most of the time when private tenants are moving it is out of necessity, most of my moves have been due to the place that I was currently living in being no longer available. Then you are over a barrel, if the clock is ticking to homelessness one isn’t really in a position to get picky about fees.
Anything that levels the playing field a little for tenants is a good thing if you ask me. This move is baby steps, but it is better than nothing.