Who makes the decision on Tyson Fury and his retirement?
You? Me? Podcasters? No, but there are lots of people who want to give advice. Not to Tyson Fury, no point, he has a strong will – not many would rise from the canvas like Michael Myers after being felled by Deontay Wilder – and so they are shouting into the ether.
There’s a sense of being cheated – how dare he do this to us? I’m not denigrating here (after all, you can go blind), I understand what they feel, stupendous boxers come along once in a lifetime and we want to see more. That’s entirely appropriate, it feels like a spurning.
And Tyson Fury is an extraordinary champion. The muffin top champion, who is so difficult to fight because there’s a chance he might not know what he’s going to do next, so how can his opponent?
I have rarely seen such an unconventional boxer. He puts it out there. He thinks differently. And that’s dangerous and exciting in equal measure.
He said he wants to retire. Isn’t that enough? No. Because an industry of whispers has sprung up around him. This is one too. And he feeds it. He can’t help it. The Barnum & Bailey in him is natural.
And we love him for it.
The Reasons For Tyson Fury Not Retiring
‘When is enough enough? I’m happy, I’m healthy, I’ve still got my brains, I can still talk. I’ve got a beautiful wife, I’ve got six kids. I’ve got umpteen belts, I’ve got plenty of money. I’ve got success, fame, glory. What more am I doing it for…’This is Tyson Fury from the Daily Mirror
He Isn’t Undisputed
Tyson Fury has won so many belts throughout his career and recently told us, it’s an impressive list. But as people have mentioned recently, he hasn’t won them all at the same time. Currently, he has the WBC and Ring Magazine belts, but a gentleman called Oleksandr has another big one – more about him in a moment.
This is about legacy. I’ve heard podcasts recently which try to place Fury in the top ten heavyweights of all time, with Ali usually at the top. And the unification question is generally used to place Fury in the top ten but not in the top 5.
Unifying the belts, and becoming Undisputed is a big issue. But only if you want to play the boxing industry game. The industry stands in judgment, it decides when you’ve finished – Fury recently compared his career to a video game and said that if it was, he would have completed it.
Not so, said the industry, both within boxing and social media commentators on it like me. Fury still had something to achieve. Unification! Becoming Undisputed! The boss level of boss levels! That’ll keep him in the game, surely.
Does Fury care? At the moment, no. He doesn’t seem to be thinking about this heavily, doesn’t seem to be as much of a student of historical boxing as, say his namesake Mike. And yet, it is a strong pull. If Fury actually only had boxing in his life. But he doesn’t, he has so much he can do. This is why the next reason doesn’t work.
He’ll Miss It And Come Back
Why would he miss it? He has a character which he can use, which others can use, which will lead to so many offers.
Many boxers who leave boxing have it tough. And the support needs to be given to those who have no support, who lose the comradeship of the gym and the training camp, who feel their peak years are over, who feel they can’t do anything else. It’s awful and needs to be addressed.
Tyson Fury has struggled. His mental health struggles have been fought in public, he’s a mental health champion in the US and has made an astonishing comeback from a very dark place.
So yes, leaving something which has consumed your life can be very tough. But Fury, because of the success of his character and his energy, will surely be fending off offers from the media and what he does going forward will be up to him, whether as a promoter, talk show guest, reality TV ‘Dancing With The Stars/Strictly Come Dancing’ type star, social media podcast presence or boxing pundit and so many more.
It will be his choice of course if he wants to return but he will have other choices too.
He Needs To Fight AJ
Why? Just because he has fans? Well, maybe. Is he a champ? No, so no unification here. Is he a challenger? To someone else, yes. I don’t blame Brit boxing fans for yearning for a UK match that seems more competitive than Fury v Whyte, but remember, Dillian Whyte was the mandatory challenger. AJ is a long way away from Fury at the moment, he’s in the world of another champion, Mr. Usyk.
Now that would be a fight to call for. Oh, people have been. And more of this in a moment.
The Reasons Why Tyson Fury Should Retire
He Came Home
Tyson Fury won his titles on the road. He’s well known in US boxing and seemingly well-liked there. But the Whyte fight was different.
That much was clear in the build-up. It was calm, fun as if Fury was welcoming us to his house and didn’t want anything spilled on the carpets. He was open and effusive in praise of his opponent, he defused tension that seemed to come from his father at the press conference, he was in control.
And he sold 90,000 or so seats. On his own? Well, with little help from his opponent. Let’s be clear here, Tyson Fury had the best homecoming he could have had.
He’s been accorded the kudos he deserved in his own country. Why would he want to go back on the road?
He’ll Be Bored
What? He’ll still box, just in exhibition matches; he’s even teased fighting UFC champ Francis Ngannou. As we’ve seen from Floyd Mayweather’s exploits recently, exhibitions don’t stop people talking, don’t stop people watching, and don’t stop money being made.
Then there’s the Fury character. He’s a walking entertainment; naughty, funny, bigger than life, and a bit unpredictable, reality TV and chat shows await if he wants it. But he says he has 100 million in the bank and appears happy with his lot, family life seems good and he wants to enjoy it.
He can make his decisions, it’s all at his feet.
Does He Need To Retire?
All that rising from the mat stuff in the trilogy against Wilder that we love. That shaking of the head and carrying on. All that has to have an effect, he may only be 33 but he has taken some tumbles.
And who is being suggested as an opponent? Why Oleksandr Usyk, the man who boxed AJ’s ears off recently, a man who can box, a man who may be able to cut the space and get at Tyson Fury.
And Fury is on record as saying that a boxer who bothered him was one with the good movement who could slip and slide – why put himself through that possibility with Usyk?
Some may scream cowardice; I just think it’s clever. Choose your battles. Don’t be goaded into trouble.
Tyson Fury Is Smart
That’s surely what we’ll be saying if he stays out of the game and keeps his persona out there. Won’t we?
I don’t hear any denigrating Lennox Lewis…
Enjoy your time, Tyson, you deserve it. I’m not sure there’ll be another like you for generations.
We’ll just have to cope.