Heavyweight champ Tyson Fury turns 34 today, this an age that has seen some heavyweights deliver some of their finest ring performances, with the age of 34 also being one that has seen some heavyweight greats noticeably begin to slow down. 34 years of age is not notably advanced for a heavyweight these days; certainly not the way it was back in Joe Louis’ time, Muhammad Ali’s time, even Mike Tyson’s time.
Fury has achieved a lot already, yet some of his critics say “The Gypsy King” needs to do more, he needs to add meat to his resume, to his fighting record, this in order to be recognised universally as a true great. Wins over Wladimir Klitschko and Deontay Wilder stand out on Fury’s ledger, yet less so do his wins over everyone else he has fought, with Steve Cunningham, Dillian Whyte, and Derek Chisora being the only other three notable scalps Fury has claimed.
So, what next for Fury? How much more is there left in the fighting career of the self-proclaimed best ever? Right now, we are hearing how Fury might fight Chisora again, this in a needless trilogy, or how he might engage in some exhibition bouts that will rake in some money and allow Fury to have fun. But what about real fights, really testing fights? Like the rest of us, Fury is waiting to see what happens a week on Saturday, when Oleksandr Usyk and Anthony Joshua will collide in their rematch in Saudi Arabia.
If Fury doesn’t fight the winner, if he either stays retired or boxes only needless or “fun” fights, there will be a big hole in his legacy. No doubt about it. Fury has to fight the winner, and most of us are pretty sure he will do so. A win, especially a commanding win, over either Usyk or AJ would add large to Fury’s resume. And such a victory would perhaps allow Fury the right to declare how he cleaned up his division and ruled as THE dominant big man of his era.
But Fury has said many things over the past few months, and maybe he means it when he says he has no interest in the Usyk-Joshua fight, or of facing its winner. “I’m done,” Fury said after he crushed Whyte, only to backtrack by telling us all he will fight Chisora a third time. All we know is this: we just don’t know with Fury.
Will Fury fight again or not? Your guess is as good as anybody’s. Fury has earned the right to party hard today, on his 34th birthday, and he may well do so. But how will history remember him years from now if he does exit having not faced the Usyk-Joshua winner, for all the marbles?
Tyson Fury: final record – 32-0-1(23)???