Bored with lists yet? Just lately, during the lockdown, many people have come out with lists, these lists compiling their greatest this, their greatest that in boxing. Not one to miss out on anything, WBC heavyweight champ Tyson Fury has listed his top-five greatest heavyweights.
Speaking once again with iFL TV, the subject came up, and Fury was happy to give his top-five. Fury thinks his list might be looked at by some as “a strange one,” as “there are a few names on here that wouldn’t be on other lists.”
Here’s Fury’s top-five:
“My all-time five not including myself and in no specific order is Muhammad Ali, Larry Holmes, Lennox Lewis, Joe Louis and I’d probably put Rocky Marciano in there as well.”
A solid list from Fury, to be sure. But who among his five would be looked at as “strange” and perhaps absent from “other lists?” Neither Ali nor Holmes look at all out of place and are on almost every other list of this kind you can find, as is the case with Lewis, Louis, and “The Rock.” If you want something of a peculiar choice, look at George Foreman’s recent top-10 greatest heavyweights list and see how high Foreman ranks Floyd Patterson; Patterson not being present in too many top-10 lists.
Again, a solid list from Fury and not one too many fans will be able to find fault with. It would, of course, be interesting to see Fury list his top-10. Fury, though, may have been modest enough to leave himself out of his top-five, but his ego was less accommodating to such modesty when he spoke with BT Sport earlier this week. During the interview, in which Fury re-watched his brilliant rematch win over Deontay Wilder, Fury stated how “there isn’t a heavyweight from any era in the last thousand years that could’ve tackled me or beat me.”
Fury was asked how he’d have done with a peak Mike Tyson:
“Never mind Mike Tyson from the ’80s, Muhammad Ali, Joe Louis, Lennox Lewis, George Foreman, Ken Norton, Rocky Marciano, Floyd Patterson, Gene Tunney, Jem Mace, John L. Sullivan. Going right back to the beginning, not one of them could’ve beaten the Gypsy King. I’m too big, I’m too good, and I’ve got too many styles for them. I’m an adapter, and they couldn’t beat me anyway. I’m the greatest fighter that has ever lived. Never mind heavyweight, greatest fighter that’s ever lived. How about that for a bit of modesty!”
Now, though fans may not be willing to disagree with Fury’s top-five list, they sure won’t accept this assessment of his own greatness. Fury beat Ali, Lewis, Foreman? No way, not from this ringside seat. It’s a sign of Fury’s knowledge of boxing history that he brought up the name Jem Mace, though. Britain’s Mace (1831 to 1910), was a bare-knuckle champion at welterweight, middleweight, and heavyweight. Quite a fascinating figure, Mace is described on Wikipedia as “one of the most scientific boxers of the era.”
Mace once fought 57 rounds, winning on a DQ, and he scored a KO in the 43rd round in another fight. After bare-knuckle boxing was outlawed, Mace switched to gloved boxing, becoming, according to some historians, the first-ever world heavyweight champion of the gloved era; Mace defeating Tom Allen in New Orleans on May 10, 1870.
Known as “The Gypsy,” it’s easy to see why Fury is a fan of Mace.