Is Tyson Fury really retiring? The burning question some boxing fans were asking on Sunday in the aftermath of his brilliant defeat of Dillian Whyte.
The key word in that statement? That would be ‘some’, because most hardcore fight aficionados know how this story goes. We’ve seen it all before.
When Fury announced that he could be done after the bout in front of 94,000 adoring fans inside Wembley Stadium, there was much gnashing of teeth. Why would a great fighter so clearly at the peak of his powers leave the sport now? Simple answer = he very likely won’t.
So many times down the years great fighters have said they are retired, and so many times they’ve come back. Remember Floyd Mayweather announcing in 2007 that he would not fight again. This was right at the start of his journey to being the sport’s most marketable star – a journey which would last another 10 years…
While Fury’s announcement may be what he believes now, and it definitely created a ton of column inches for media outlets, it’s highly unlikely to stick. And here’s why:
"I'm one of the greatest heavyweights of all time!"
"I think this might be the final curtain for the Gypsy King."@Tyson_Fury 👑#FuryWhyte | BT Sport Box Office ▶️ https://t.co/b0uV32kqC3 pic.twitter.com/Nju6XYoOMj
— #FuryWhyte | Saturday | BT Sport Box Office 🥊 (@BTSportBoxing) April 23, 2022
The road to undisputed
Fury is now a very wealthy man, and deservedly so. His latest purse on Saturday was reportedly $33million – $29million in guarantees after the purse bid and $4million as a bonus element for winning the bout. But much much greater riches lie ahead.
Once again Tyson stands on the brink of a chance to do something no fighter has done since Lennox Lewis back in 1999 – become the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world. The opportunity to face the winner of Oleksandr Usyk vs Anthony Joshua 2 is a golden one, both in terms of his resume and his bank balance.
When Fury and Joshua came so close to meeting in Saudi Arabia last year, some estimates had them being in line to earn as much as $100million each. If that fabled all-British showdown happens in 2022 then such figures would again not be impossible.
A showdown with Usyk might not hold quite the same domestic interest, but it would be an enormous fight globally – the biggest one out there right now. Fury and Usyk are clearly the two most talented heavyweights in the world, what better than them facing off for all the marbles?
While Fury says it’s not about the money – and we believe him – would he really turn that chance down?
Fury is a fighting man
Which brings us on seamlessly to the other key point here, Fury’s mindset. He is a fighting man by nature and upbringing – he references it often.
It’s clear Tyson is not only one of the finest fighters in the sport today, he’s also arguably its greatest entertainer. P4P king ‘Canelo’ Alvarez might be able to challenge him for pure boxing interest, but he can’t match Fury’s huge personality.
It’s not just the limelight either, Fury clearly loves the competition and has a burning desire to prove he’s the best. Leaving right now would still leave one question mark – would he have beaten Usyk? Or Joshua? Doing so does not sound like the Fury we’ve seen up to now.
Facing, and beating, either Usyk or AJ in a huge unification match would be the exclamation point on an incredible career. It would show there is nobody out there to best ‘The Gypsy King’ in this era. It would rubber stamp the fact he can be compared to any great from any era.
Every fighter deserves the right to retire when they feel the time is right. We would just be surprised if Tyson really goes through with it this time.
Even his co-promoter, the legend that is Bob Arum, doesn’t buy it either – telling U.S. media outlets minutes after the Whyte win: “No, he definitely won’t retire. Of course not. Are you crazy?”
Only time will tell.