They say that all good things must come to an end, but there was still surprise among many boxing fans when Tyson Fury said in October that he had devised a three-fight plan which would ultimately lead to his retirement from the sport. 

“Hopefully I have three fights next year, Wilder in February, Wilder in June and then maybe a farewell fight in December,” Fury said. “Boxing’s a young man’s game. I don’t want to be in longer than I need to. I am 31, getting long in the tooth for the sport. There are young men coming up and father time catches up with everyone. I have five kids at home and a wife, and I think it would be nice to spend a bit of time with those people after the sacrifices I have made my whole life.” 

Perhaps it seems strange that a fighter who has overcome so many personal struggles should choose to step down again so soon after ascending back to the top of the sport. But Fury has always been one to do things his way, and for someone who has been to the bottom as far as mental suffering is concerned, you can understand his wish to spend more time enjoying the simple pleasures in life – family and home comforts. 

The first bout of Fury’s supposed three-fight farewell is drawing fast upon us. The odds on Tyson Fury winning the hotly-anticipated rematch with Deontay Wilder favour the Gypsy King, and perhaps Fury’s retirement plan gives him something of a free hit at the Bronze Bomber.

You could argue that Fury’s legacy in boxing is no longer tied up in his fight record, but rather in the admirable qualities he has shown in battling depression and becoming an ambassador and role model for those struggling with similar issues. In many ways, this could give him an edge over Wilder – the sense that, win or lose, Fury has an army of supporters who respect him just as much for what he has accomplished outside of the ring as in it. 

If Wilder is defeated, then the aura of invincibility surrounding him is suddenly extinguished. Fury has promised to knock him out inside two rounds, and should he deliver on that vow then the knockout king no longer cuts such an imposing and intimidating figure. The formidable armour that encases an undefeated champion would be stripped away by a knockout punch from Fury.

If Fury is knocked out, then it’s a blow to his champion credentials at this stage of his career, but it would take nothing away from the impressive nature of his rise to the top in heavyweight boxing, and that famous victory over Wladimir Klitschko in 2015.

But there is something dangerous about a fighter with a singularly focused mind. Fury has laid out his plans, and a boxer with a clear goal which he intends to achieve by any means possible is always a force to be reckoned with. While the Gypsy King’s media appearances and interviews sometimes present something of a surreal, breezy persona, beneath that façade you can bet there’s a burning determination to end his career on a high.

 

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