Tyson Fury is certainly no angel, but the Gypsy King is a truly gifted fighter… his incredible trilogy with Deontay Wilder makes it hard to predict which heavyweight greats would have beaten this flabby giant who moves like a dancer
- Tyson Fury’s third fight vs. Deontay Wilder was wanted by few, but unforgettable
- The Gypsy King’s boxing status has improved following three blockbuster bouts
- It is hard to predict which heavyweight greats would have beaten the Briton
- Fury is certainly no angel but there is no denying of his talents as a fighter
A fight almost no one wanted and a fight no one who watched it will ever forget. Tyson Fury, the inexhaustible riddle.
If there is any clarity in his world of smoke, then surely it is his status among the all-time greats of heavyweight boxing, and from there his position as his sport’s most prolific confounder of expectations.
He outclassed Wladimir Klitschko in a jab-off, he out-bombed Deontay Wilder twice, and he got up from severe mental illness along the way.
Tyson Fury vs, Deontay Wilder III was wanted by few fans and pundits, but was unforgettable
He is a flabby giant who moves like a dancer, a technician who dropped Wilder five times in three fights, and he remains the subject of a forever circulating video clip of the time, in 2009, that he punched himself in the face against Lee Swaby. By turns he has been an immovable object, a malevolent force, a bigot and a man banned for doping.
So where is he on that list of great heavyweights? It depends on what you like and what you don’t. How you score longevity and behaviour outside the ring. And how misty-eyed you feel about fighters you never saw.
Of those from recent decades, Fury is looking a very good pick. For a while it would have been a bad joke to put him in a bracket with fighters like Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield or Lennox Lewis.
Fury’s performance over three fights with Wilder puts him among the heavyweight greats
Fury is no angel and has been dogged by a number of controversial moments in his career
Now you think of those match-ups, about those styles, and it is harder to guess who might beat a 6ft 9in fighter who has never lost, can jab, bang and move his feet, can get up from four Wilder knockdowns and is overloaded with skill and resilience.
Whether you like him comes down to what you can tolerate. That he failed a drugs test in 2015, for which he was handed a backdated two-year ban in 2017, has been largely forgotten, it would seem. That UK Anti-Doping are still investigating allegations that he used a false alibi in the case also tends to be overlooked.
His affiliations with the alleged gangster Daniel Kinahan? Most in the sport couldn’t give a stuff. And that is boxing. Its leaders, chunks of its media and its fans — there isn’t much they allow to get in the way of a good punch-up.
Fury’s connections with mob boss Daniel Kinahan and failed drugs test reflect poorly on him
Which is both depressing and nothing new — Mike Tyson was a convicted rapist. Now look up Frankie Carbo. After that, search out the former Zaire president Mobutu Sese Seko, with whom Muhammad Ali and George Foreman got into bed. A clue: he liked gouging out eyes.
This is a sport that has always spanned the very best of people to some of the grubbiest, and perhaps it is only natural that a game of punches operates outside the usual moral norms. Within all that, Fury is neither its biggest rogue, nor anything resembling an angel.
But what a fighter. What a truly gifted fighter. That ought to be fully recognised, even if it shouldn’t come at the expense of forgetting what else he might be.
There can be no denying the Gypsy King is a truly gifted fighter and it ought to be recognised