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Dougie’s Monday Mailbag (Tyson Fury-Dillian Whyte, Fury’s future, mythical matchups vs. ATGs)

Tyson Fury flexes for the fans during the media workout for his Ring/WBC heavyweight title defense against Dillian Whyte in London. Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images
25
Apr

TYSON FURY AND THE HEAVYWEIGHTS

Hi Dougie,

I was impressed with Tyson Fury knocking out Dillian Whyte, but I am annoyed with the amount of “greatest of all time” comments I have seen.

Yes, Fury is the greatest of his generation, but his resume is way too thin to even be in the top 15 of all time.

However, could there be a case for him being the best of all time? I know it is hard to compare eras, but I think he troubles almost every heavyweight from the past.

What fighters do you think would have beaten him? Off the top of my head Ali, Liston, Holmes, Foreman, Bowe, Lewis and maybe a prime Holyfield.

In the first boxing magazine I ever owned, the December 1994 edition of The Ring (which I eagerly unwrapped at 3am Christmas morning and read from front to back) that had James Toney on the cover, there was a cartoon taking the best attributes of the current heavyweights, to make the perfect fighter. From memory it had:

Chin – Ray Mercer

Right hand – Bruno

Left hand – Ruddock

Boxing ability – Holmes

Size – Jorge Luis Gonzalez

Connections – Oliver McCall

(There was also one about skin colour which we can discard these days).

If you were to run the same cartoon using today’s current heavyweights, who would you choose?

Thanks mate. Regards – Will

I love that cover (and that dramatic action shot of Toney turning the “Lights Out” on poor Prince Charles Williams). I think I’ve got that issue somewhere in my unkempt den/office. I vaguely recall the cartoon you’re referencing but it sounds like fun. Here’s my shot at it using today’s heavyweights:

Chin – Joe Joyce

Right hand – Deontay Wilder

Left hand – Andy Ruiz

Boxing ability – Oleksandr Usyk

Size – Tyson Fury

Connections – Fury (Bob Arum/ESPN in the U.S., Frank Warren/BT Sport in the U.K., and Daniel Kinahan/MTK Global as an “advisor” – yeah, I went there – that’s covering your bases!)

I almost went with Anthony Joshua for the “left hand” category, but Ruiz’s hook is quicker and more compact (and I think it would compliment/set up Wilder’s thunderbolt of a right hand better than AJ’s, which is more versatile). I also almost went with Fury for the “boxing ability” category, but I like Mr. Feel’s technique and footwork better (I mean aesthetically speaking, Usyk just looks better doing his thing, although Fury is probably the superior ring general). 

Tyson Fury. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Is Tyson Fury the king of all heavyweights in history? (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

I was impressed with Tyson Fury knocking out Dillian Whyte, but I am annoyed with the amount of “greatest of all time” comments I have seen. It’s a bit much, isn’t it? Half of the emails I received in the hours following Fury-Whyte were either drunken proclamations of his all-time greatness, sober questions about his ATG status, or mythical matchups of Fury vs. the heavyweight legends. I only included one of the mythical matchup emails in this mailbag (from our friend Juan Valverde and only because he included the most heavyweight legends AND he penned his email during his vacation in Mexico – that’s dedication!). I guess it’s normal to want to know how the best sports stars of this generation matchup with the athletic legends of past eras, but while Fury has solidified himself as the No. 1 heavyweight right now and arguably the biggest star of the glamor division, he still needs to beat the Usyk-Joshua winner to gain universal recognition as THE champion and the best of his era. Mind you, I recognize him as the real champ because he holds the Ring Magazine title, but my point is that there’s still at least ONE heavyweight for us to wonder how he’d fare against before we pit him against the greatest of past generations in our imaginations. 

Yes, Fury is the greatest of his generation, but his resume is way too thin to even be in the top 15 of all time. I won’t be mad at anyone who has him ranked 11-15 among the ATGs; I guess it all depends on one’s criteria. But I think he’s got to beat the Usyk-Joshua rematch winner to claim “greatest of his generation.”

However, could there be a case for him being the best of all time? I know it is hard to compare eras, but I think he troubles almost every heavyweight from the past. Standing 6-foot-9 with an 85-inch wingspan and being as tough and smart and versatile as he is, you better believe he would have caused any of the past champs trouble, but the greatest of the greats are able to overcome any perceived physical “disadvantages” and they were just as confident and resilient as Fury is. 

What fighters do you think would have beaten him? Off the top of my head Ali, Liston, Holmes, Foreman, Bowe, Lewis and maybe a prime Holyfield. I’ll go with that Sensational Seven, but I can also envision Fury outpointing Big George and the Real Deal; and if he was able to clip LL with that uppercut he caught poor Dillian with it would be Good Night Sweet Prince! 

 

ALL HAIL THE GYPSY KING

Hi Doug,

Hope your family and team are well.

Well it’s 3 am and I’ve just got in after watching Fury/Whyte. Again, clearly I know nothing about boxing. All hail the Gypsy King. What a KO finish.

Let me be clear, I still rate Dillian Whyte highly looking at the route he’s taken to get to this fight. For me Fury has shown just how special he is.

Fury controlled the fight. I think Dillian made it uncomfortable for him and tried to manhandle him at times, which we expected, but the game plan was executed perfectly, which was to keep Dillian at length, wear him down and catch him when getting close. Absolutely brilliant performance.

Retiring? Belts, money, legacy all aside, Fury Vs AJ is still just a brilliant fight. It’ll be a real shame if we don’t see that.

However you can’t blame Fury for going out on top. He’s held all the belts at some point, so why not?

Looking back at the training teams Fury has had, Peter Fury, Ben Davidson, Andy Lee, John Fury and so on, who have all had a hand in bringing Tyson back from the brink of mental anguish and suicide, they all say boxing has saved Tyson from his own demons. I really hope those demons have been exercised if he wants to retire and wish him all the best for the future.

So how did you rate Dillian’s performance? For me he did well in the first round or two and kept Fury on his toes but never got close enough to get into any type of rhyme. He just couldn’t get past Fury’s reach and height. Also he got caught by that same uppercut, which it looks like Fury had been looking out for, again showing his ring intelligence.

Where does he go next? Also where does he now rank in the top 10?

Right time for bed! Keep up the good work! – Tabraze, London

Thank you, Tabraze, and thanks for sharing your thoughts with us again. 

Where does Whyte go next? Man, I’d love to see him mix it up with the likes of Deontay Wilder and Andy Ruiz. I kind of wish the PBC would make him an offer, LOL! But seriously, he’s been knocked spark out in two of his last three bouts, and (as you noted) he’s had a long, hard road to his title shot, so maybe what’s next is a break followed by a mid-level comeback opponent before he targets one of the top contenders. While I think he’ll remain in the top 10 heavyweight ratings of the sanctioning bodies (and I believe he’ll remain in the lower part of The Ring’s rankings), I think he’s on his way to gatekeeper status. (I hope that doesn’t sound too harsh, I love gatekeepers, especially at heavyweight.)

Well it’s 3 am and I’ve just got in after watching Fury/Whyte. Again, clearly I know nothing about boxing. All hail the Gypsy King. What a KO finish. Don’t be hard on yourself for ordering the Upset Special. You weren’t alone. As far as I’m concerned, part of Fury’s mystique is the “feeling” that so many fans and boxing insiders got about him just before his recent fights. Be it via emails for the mailbag or social media DMs or WhatsApp texts, I received a ton of predictions (including from some industry big shots) that Fury would get KTFO in the days leading up to his second and third bouts with Wilder and prior to the Whyte fight. I tried my best to talk them off the ledge and, at the very least, not bet large amounts of money based on their “feelings.”

Let me be clear, I still rate Dillian Whyte highly looking at the route he’s taken to get to this fight. For me Fury has shown just how special he is. I told you it was either going to be a special fight or a special performance. I’m glad you’re not dismissing Whyte as some chump as too many fans (mostly from this side of the Pond) are currently doing. He earned his title shot as well as his respect. There’s no shame in losing to Fury. 

Fury controlled the fight. I thought he looked really sharp. I liked his use of head and foot feints, as well as the speed and snap on his punches. Fury’s jab was on point, and Whyte had no answer for it. 

Retiring? Belts, money, legacy all aside, Fury Vs AJ is still just a brilliant fight. It’ll be a real shame if we don’t see that. I think we will see this matchup… eventually. It might happen after both Englishmen hang up their gloves for a year or two and then get the itch while in retirement. 

However you can’t blame Fury for going out on top. He’s held all the belts at some point, so why not? I wouldn’t be mad at him if he decided to call it a career. He beat all the odds – in boxing and in life. 

So how did you rate Dillian’s performance? It wasn’t bad, but he didn’t do what I thought he needed to do in order to give himself a shot at pulling the upset. I wanted him to bring the ruckus – and I’m talking about hell-bent pressure and offensive heat – from the opening bell. Instead, Whyte comes out boxing southpaw. 

For me he did well in the first round or two and kept Fury on his toes but never got close enough to get into any type of rhyme. I thought he played right into Fury’s strengths by not closing the distance as fast and aggressively as possible.

He just couldn’t get past Fury’s reach and height. Also he got caught by that same uppercut, which it looks like Fury had been looking out for, again showing his ring intelligence. Fury did his homework on Whyte, prepared well, and looked much sharper than he did vs. Wilder in his last bout. This version of Fury should be a favorite to beat any heavyweight on the planet, including Usyk.

 

STREET FIGHT AT WEMBLEY

Hi Doug,

Saturday’s heavyweight title fight was a rough and tumble affair with a dash or two of science tossed in. There was lots of wrestling and roughhousing and I sure wish there had been a microphone in there because I would love to have heard what they were saying (shouting) to each other during the fight.

I guess Whyte tried his best but he just had no answers to the puzzle of how to beat Fury. Any shots Whyte did land were absorbed by Fury without blinking an eye. Fury’s counters were crisp and had snap and the fight ending uppercut will live on in highlight heaven. I must admit that when Fury first emerged years ago I thought he was just an anomaly like the big Russian Nikolai Valuev and would be exposed as just that. How wrong can a guy be?

His skill set is on another level and looking at the heavyweight landscape I don’t see anyone with a remote chance of beating him (although I would like to get the chance to see Fury drop the hammer on Anthony Joshua). Afterward Fury spoke of retirement but we have all heard that kind of talk before. I would like to see him in the ring again but NOT in a mixed match with an MMA guy like he teased during the post fight interview. Personally I think it would take away from what he has already accomplished. I’m all for keeping it pure boxing …besides, his spindly legs (which serve him well in the boxing ring) are not prepared to get kicked by a trained heavyweight martial artist. I worry about him in that regard.

Finally, a personal view. Tim Bradley is the most annoying boxing commentator EVER. I have never seen a person who so likes the sound of his own voice. It’s like he thinks he is being paid by the word. Even the other guys at the table were visibly shaking their heads when he would go into one of his rants. Too bad they don’t have a mute button for him…glad that I do.

That’s it from here Doug. Now I’m really looking forward to Canelo/ Bivol and the can’t miss action rumble Tank Davis / Rolando Romero. I always look forward to your take. – David, Nashville

Thanks for the kind words, David. I’m looking forward to covering Canelo-Bivol in Las Vegas. I won’t be at Davis-Romero, but I’ll be watching that Showtime PPV and enjoying the 135-pound fireworks.  

Tyson Fury sticks Dillian Whyte with long-range jab during their Ring Magazine/WBC heavyweight title bout at Wembley Stadium. Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images

I guess Whyte tried his best but he just had no answers to the puzzle of how to beat Fury. Drawing Fury into a slugfest and catching the bigger man with a clean left hook was Whyte’s best bet, in my opinion, but he tried to box and maul and that was never going to work. Fury’s a far superior boxer/ring general and he’s even better at the rough stuff and grappling. 

Any shots Whyte did land were absorbed by Fury without blinking an eye. Fury can take a shot, but what makes him special is that remains cool under fire. 

Fury’s counters were crisp and had snap and the fight ending uppercut will live on in highlight heaven. Yeah, you called it a “rough and tumble affair” but that’s not what I was thinking while I watched the bout in real time. I was taken with Fury’s ring command and the quickness and accuracy of his shots. I thought Whyte was largely ineffective. 

I must admit that when Fury first emerged years ago I thought he was just an anomaly like the big Russian Nikolai Valuev and would be exposed as just that. How wrong can a guy be? I always liked Fury. When most of the UK was going ga-ga for David Price, I thought Fury was the most talented young British heavyweight. Having said that, I didn’t think he’d achieve half of what he has. The man is a marvel. 

His skill set is on another level and looking at the heavyweight landscape I don’t see anyone with a remote chance of beating him (although I would like to get the chance to see Fury drop the hammer on Anthony Joshua). I would favor him to beat Usyk and Joshua but I would not count either heavyweight out in that matchup. 

Afterward Fury spoke of retirement but we have all heard that kind of talk before. I would like to see him in the ring again but NOT in a mixed match with an MMA guy like he teased during the post fight interview. I think he’ll do all of the above. He’ll retire, do the boxing-MMA showdown, and then come back to face the winner of Usyk-Joshua II. 

Personally I think it would take away from what he has already accomplished. I disagree.

I’m all for keeping it pure boxing … besides, his spindly legs (which serve him well in the boxing ring) are not prepared to get kicked by a trained heavyweight martial artist. I worry about him in that regard. I think people worry too much about Fury. 

Tim Bradley is the most annoying boxing commentator EVER. No he isn’t. He doesn’t even crack the top 20.

I have never seen a person who so likes the sound of his own voice. If you don’t like the sound of your voice, you can’t (or you shouldn’t) be in broadcasting. That’s the job of a commentator. If he didn’t express his opinions, the producer (and his co-commentators) would get on his ass and he’d eventually be replaced if he didn’t open his mouth. 

It’s like he thinks he is being paid by the word. He basically is. He’s literally being paid to talk. And I thought he was “spot on,” as the Brits say, with every one of his comments on Fury-Whyte.

Even the other guys at the table were visibly shaking their heads when he would go into one of his rants. Nah! Come on, man, they love Timmy!

 

FURY VS. THE LEGENDS

Hey Dougie,

Hope you’re doing good. Saw some of the fight this weekend and was very impressed in the way Fury managed to dispose of solid contender Whyte. Dillian has given problems to everyone, and even though he’s not perfect, you have to be very careful with him. Fury used his size, reach and boxing ability to slowly disassemble Whyte and perfectly set up that uppercut. This shows how versatile and smart this big man is, with that speed, movement, defense, power, size, chin and heart he would be a tough out for most heavyweights in history, including the man he’s named after.

So, this is my question to you, how do you see him fare against the greatest men in heavyweight history? Here’s my mythical matchup extravaganza:

Fury vs Jack Johnson

Fury vs Jack Dempsey

Fury vs Joe Louis

Fury vs Rocky Marciano

Fury vs Sonny Liston

Fury vs Muhammad Ali

Fury vs Joe Frazier

Fury vs George Foreman

Fury vs Larry Holmes

Fury vs Mike Tyson

Fury vs Evander Holyfield

Fury vs Riddick Bowe

Fury vs Lennox Lewis

Fury vs Vitali Klitchsko

I think that covers the big names! I see him struggling with Lennox, Foreman, Frazier, Tyson and Ali.

What do you think? – Juan Valverde, from Cancun (ahhh vacation!)

To be honest, I’m not spending much time imagining how Fury would compete with the legendary heavyweights of the past (and by that I mean, I’m not going to “research” YouTube footage of all these guys or review Fury’s best moves and moments in the ring), but I’m more than happy to give you (or anyone else) a quick take. I love mythical matchups.

Fury vs Jack JohnsonFury by close decision (in a bout scheduled for 10-to-15-rounds; if it the fight distance is 20 rounds or more, I’ve going with Li’l Arthur)

Fury vs Jack DempseyFury by unanimous decision or late stoppage (but I think Dempsey has a shot at catching him in the early rounds)

Fury vs Joe LouisFury by close decision (but I think he has to survive some wobbly moments and maybe a knockdown)

Fury vs Rocky Marciano –  Fury by late stoppage

Fury vs Sonny ListonListon by close decision (thanks to a knockdown or two)

Fury vs Muhammad Ali Ali by unanimous decision

Fury vs Joe FrazierFrazier by close decision

Fury vs George ForemanFury by close decision (but Big George, of course, has a real shot at clipping the Gypsy King)

Fury vs Larry HolmesHolmes by unanimous decision

Fury vs Mike Tyson Fury by unanimous decision (but just like Dempsey, Iron Mike has a real shot at ending the fight early)

Fury vs Evander HolyfieldFury by close, maybe majority or split decision in a great fight

Fury vs Riddick BoweBig Daddy by close decision in a great fight

Fury vs Lennox LewisLewis by unanimous decision

Fury vs Vitali Klitchsko Klitschko by close decision in a mutually punishing fight

 

FURY’S PLACE AS HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMP

Hi Dougie,

Happy to see that the mailbag is back, since this is always a sign that boxing is alive and generating some excitement among us, the people who love it.

Now that Fury is talking about stepping out the ring (let’s see if this is finally happening, since I believe that he will fight at least once more against the winner of Usyk-Joshua), I was wondering about his place in boxing history. It is clear that, from a pure profile point of view, there are many other heavyweight champs with a better resume than the Gypsy King, but this is expectable in the poor era we are living for the big guys. But how would he have performed in brighter times, like the 70′ or the 90′? Fury is such a weird case… A massive heavyweight with surprising mobility, great Ring IQ, strong chin, good defence and considerable power since he is training ala Kronk. I have seen that many people see him winning against great HW from the past in mythical matches. Are we overestimating him? What would be, in your view, his position in a round-robin against champs like Louis, Ali, Frazier, Foreman, Holmes (in my opinion the most similar to Fury), Tyson, Lewis, Holyfield and so?

Thanks and keep on that high. – Nacho

Thanks Nacho, will do. And thank you for the kind words for the mailbag. 

I think Fury would give as good as he got in a round robin with the heavyweight legends you mentioned. I can’t envision anyone having an easy time with him but I also don’t imagine that he’d win the majority of bouts against the greatest big men of the past – but hey that’s just my opinion. I know many fans and boxing insiders would disagree with me, and I’m OK with that as long as they truly believe that Fury is smarter, more skilled, and tougher than the ATGs. But if they think he beats all of those old-school badasses because bigger, well, then I do think they’re overestimating Fury. 

Mike Tyson was used to fighting taller boxers. Joe Louis chopped down massive challengers like Primo Carnera, Abe Simon and Buddy Bear. I think shorter fighters gave the Brown Bomber more problems. The version of Joe Frazier that wore down Buster Mathis outpointed Ali over 15 rounds could give Fury a run for his money. Same deal with the version of the Real Deal that battled Riddick Bowe three times. I don’t care what anybody says. 

 

Email Fischer at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter and IG at @dougiefischer, and join him, Tom Loeffler, Coach Schwartz and friends via Tom’s or Doug’s IG Live every Sunday.

 

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