Maybe Tyson Fury could beat the all-time greats. That does not mean he is among the best best Heavyweights of all time. His legacy is incomplete.
Tyson Fury (ENG) dominated Dillian Wyte (ENG) before knocking him out with a right uppercut in the sixth round, to successfully defend his World Boxing Council Heavyweight Title.

It was not without controversy, however, as Fury pushed Whyte after the punch and Whyte hit his head on the canvas. Pushing is illegal and perhaps Whyte should have been given time to recover, although it is likely that he was already out regardless of the push.

Fury has already previously hinted at retirement. This time he says he vowed to his wife he would retire after the third fight against Wilder (USA). He said: “I’ve been in this game 20 years, I’m 34 in a few months. I said the third Wilder fight would be my last but I felt I owed the fans one last homecoming. This is definitely the end of the Gypsy King and I went out with a bang. Tonight was amazing but this is the end.”

He said his vow was to his wife, who opened the doors to seeing him again, as she said in a post-fight interview she said. “For Tyson to keep boxing, it just seems for one reason and I know in my heart, I think the only reason that Tyson will come back is for the unification fight.” (Sky Sports)

Such a unification fight would mean fighting the winner between Anthony Joshua (ENG) and Oleksandr Usyk (UKR), who holds the other three major titles. It is not a certainty that Fury would beat Uysk -who of course would still need to beat Joshua for a second time.

Tyson Fury is claiming that he is the best ever, and some aficionados are swiftly jumping to conclusions that put him among the very best in history. Sports evolve and it is indeed very likely that today’s Tyson Fury could beat the great heavyweights of the Pre-War eras, the 1980s, or even the Klitschkos from 15 years ago. He actually beat Wladimir Klitschko (UKR) in 2015, in his penultimate fight.

That win made Fury the best Heavyweight. Does that mean he has been the best in the weight class for seven years, which is a very long time?

It is not that straightforward. After that win in 2015, he did not fight for three years, leaving a vacuum in the division that was filled by other fighters like Anthony Joshua (ENG) and even Andy Ruiz (MEX) for a few months, before losing to Joshua.

When Fury returned to the ring, his first fight against a World Champion-caliber fighter was against Deontay Wilder (USA), ending in a Split Draw. By then, Ruiz was a World Champion, for example, and Joshua and Wilder should have also been considered ahead of Fury.

It was until 2020 that Fury beat Wilder in a World Title bout, and then again in 2021, and he just defended his world title for a second time against Whyte.

Fury is far from the best of all time according to the numbers. He has only fought in five world title bouts, winning four. His total reign as a World Champion (combined) doesn’t even amount to three years, and he only faced two World Champions in his career!

For a comparison, Wladimir Klitschko (UKR) was Champion for 12 years, and had 25 World Title fights against 23 opponents. Joe Louis (USA) was Champion for over 11 years, with 27 World Title fights. Muhammad Ali (USA) was the Champion for over 9 years and had 22 world title fights.

Fury cannot even be considered among the best 15 of all time. His reign has been short, against few opponents, and never fully unified. He needs the unified win to even get in the discussion. Even then, it would probably not be enough to put him among the 10 greatest, if he retires.

It is nice to think that our contemporaries are the best and that we are witnessing history. Claiming Fury is one of the all-time greatest is bizarre and short-sighted.

Of course, ultimately the most important is to protect one’s health. In boxing, if you think you are done with the sport then you should probably be done with the sport. If Fury goes, he does so at the top, healthy and with his life financially solved. If that is the case, it should be a happy retirement and we wish him the best.