TYSON FURY is a really interesting character. Some of the stuff he comes out with, you wonder if it’s a show completely or if it’s calculated. Saying things like he’d rather fight for money than legacy stirs up a bit of controversy.
It was disappointing because how much money do you need? He’s got a lot of money. A couple of years ago he was saying it wasn’t about the money. You wonder if he’s a hypocrite or is it just how he feels in the moment, which is fine; you’re allowed to change your mind about things. He seems very all over the place at times.
It’s very easy to have an opinion on somebody when you’re not in their shoes. I would like to personally think if I had as much money in the bank as him, and was WBC heavyweight champion of the world, and I’d already won the other belts as well, that I would still want to turn round and prove I was the number one in the world. Him against Oleksandr Usyk would prove that. I like to think I would do that, but I’m not in that position.
There are a lot of positive and negatives to Tyson Fury – and I’m not saying a lot of the negatives he hasn’t brought on himself, because he has. I don’t know how much of it is a character and how much of it is him. We all know people like that. One day you talk to them and they act a certain way and then you talk to them another time and they act completely different. My own experience with Tyson was when I was 16. I was on a couple of GB training camps and Tyson was on them as well. I thought he was alright, good as gold. He seemed like a normal bloke but that was then. I remember early on when he was in public, he was very brash, arrogant and over the top and thought that isn’t what he’s like, it’s just a show.
I guess he’s thinking he wants to secure his family’s future, his grandkids, their grandkids and beyond by having fights against names like Francis Ngannou. At the same time, it would have been nice if he was to say, “I’m going to knock Ngannou out, then I’m going to go and fight Usyk.” I spoke about it regarding Anthony Joshua recently in this column. Just get in there and fight. It really frustrates me as a boxing fan that these big fights don’t materialise. I understand there’s millions of pounds involved but how much do you need? How much is enough? Whatever he says to the press about not fighting Usyk or Joshua, he’ll say it doesn’t bother him, but I can bet you down the line at some point it will. As for having the fight in Saudi Arabia, I don’t agree with that, but money talks. I personally would not like to go over there, but I’m not being offered millions to do it. Maybe I would change my mind if I was.
If Fury walked away from the sport right now, I think his legacy would be a case of what if. Maybe the future will treat him kinder with his wins against Wladimir Klitschko and Deontay Wilder, plus the way he fought through his mental health issues to return to the sport. But he hasn’t cleaned out the division like Lennox Lewis, for instance. There was no one really left for him to fight. Some people say Tyson (Fury) is the greatest of all-time, but he isn’t. The Usyk fight will prove who is the number one and the Joshua fight is still absolutely massive and a fight that everyone still wants to see.
If I was managing his career, I’d say fight Ngannou, get that out the way, you’ve got loads of money and secured your family’s future, but if you want to be remembered as one of the best let’s fight Usyk, fight Joshua, then call it a day. In days of old they’d have fought Usyk, Joshua then other contenders, fought up and comers and kept going until they got beaten. I know it’s not quite the same anymore, but the sport isn’t the same. I’d say to Fury do three more fights: Ngannou, Usyk and Joshua, and you can walk away then. There’s no questions and no doubts after that. If he beats Usyk and Joshua, then he goes down as the best heavyweight of this era.