It takes a lot to become a world champion boxer, even in these days of multiple belts. It takes a helluva lot more to become the lineal champion of the world. And as for retiring as the champ having never, ever lost a single fight – well, that is the stuff of legend. As far as the heavyweight division goes, only one man has ever walked away as the champ whilst sporting a perfect, untouchable ring record: the immortal Rocky Marciano, “The Rock.”
Tyson Fury, who often casts an eye over the history of his chosen sport, over the history of his weight division especially, says he can achieve what “The Brockton Blockbsuter” achieved, and retire as champ, having never lost, as Fury puts it, ‘to any man born from his mother.’
Fury made this claim (among many others) whilst speaking on the recent BT Sports ‘Face-To-Face,’ or ‘Head-To-Head’ with his upcoming rival, Deontay Wilder, sat right across the table from him. Fury, a “born fighter,” says he will comprehensively defeat Wilder and take his WBC title, and then, after having dealt with “a few more bums,” will retire from the sport as the king of the world.
It would be an enormous achievement if Fury were able to do it (or if Wilder, who has no thoughts of ever losing himself, could do it). In the long history of this sport we all love so much, only 15 men have ever retired unbeaten whilst still a world champion. Here they are (including WBO champs):
Rocky Marciano, heavyweight.
Andre Ward, light-heavywweight.
Joe Calzaghe, light-heavyweight.
Ricardo Lopez, light-flyweight.
Terry Marsh, light-welterweight.
Floyd Mayweather, welterweight.
Jimmy Barry, bantamweight.
Kim Ji-Won, super-bantamweight.
Mihai Leu, welterweight.
Jack McAuliffe, lightweight.
Sven Ottke, super-middleweight.
Dmitry Pirog, middleweight.
Harry Simon, middleweight.
Pichit Sitbangprachan, flyweight.
Edwin Valero, lightweight.
None of these champions ever lost a single pro fight and, for varying reasons, each man left the sport still holding their world title or titles.
Can Fury add his name to this short, exclusive list? Maybe. But don’t bet on it.