Tyson Fury turns 35 today, this an age that was somewhat advanced for a fighter two or three decades ago, even a heavyweight. Things have changed, however, and today the age of 35 is nothing to suggest a heavyweight is close to walking through the exit door. And Fury, who has had a relatively low number of pro fights – 34 in total, spread out over a period of 15 years (with a two-and-a-half year inactive spell in there) – has shown zero signs of fading or of losing a step.
That said, we’ve seen precious little of Fury in a real fight for some time now. Indeed, aside from Fury’s WBC mandatory defence of a fight with Dillian Whyte last April, you have to go back to October of 2021 to find the last time Fury was in a real, legit, tough and testing fight; this the third fight with Deontay Wilder. Since then, it’s been the Whyte knockover and the needless and unpleasant to watch third fight with a grossly over-matched Derek Chisora.
Next up, Fury will face MMA star Francis Ngannou in the Middle East, this in October. And that will almost certainly be that as far as Fury’s 2023 is concerned. Fury will pick up a fortune for the much-maligned fight, the latest boxer Vs MMA fighter looked at by most as a terrible mismatch. But what then? After he has made his bank manger’s day (or year) by depositing the supposed $50 million he will get paid for the Ngannou affair (the sum revealed by Chisora in a recent interview), will Fury get back to real fighting?
Fury used the “R” word once again this week, the reigning WBC champ saying he might retire after the Ngannou fight. Heck, Fury will be rich enough to do whatever he wants to do, we all know that. But what about legacy? Does Fury even care about the “L” word? Fans have long since grown weary of the back and forth stuff regarding the fights we want to see not happening and who is to blame. Will we ever get to see Fury fight Oleksandr Usyk and/or Anthony Joshua? We just don’t know. We just don’t know what’s going through Fury’s head.
Plenty of boxing people have said Fury needs to pick up wins over both Usyk and Joshua, these his two most obvious and biggest rivals right now, if he is to clean up his division and be able to boast about being the proven best heavyweight of his era. But is Fury listening? Again, does Fury care what people say about his legacy and what he needs to accomplish in order to cement it?
2023 will go down as a wasted year for Fury, this a real shame for a gifted, at his peak (or thereabouts) heavyweight star. Whether Fury will make up for it in 2024 remains to be seen. It might be that Fury, who has so many times screamed and hollered how “no man born from his mother can beat me,” will be happy, content and so very satisfied with exiting the ring sporting an unbeaten record.
The way he’s going now, an unbeaten record is as good as his. Ngannou will do well to land a hand on Fury, and after that, who knows who Fury will fight if he fights at all. I don’t know about you, but I have a feeling that, when Fury is retired (for good), fans and historians will begin looking back on his career with a sense of ‘what if?’
Crazy as it may be for a man who won the heavyweight crown almost eight years ago, Fury really does have just two elite names on his record, these being Wladimir Klitschko and Deontay Wilder. Fury needs to do more to go down as a true great.
Agree or disagree?