Everything about Tyson Fury in the ring against Dillian Whyte, in front of 94,000 people at Wembley, was perfection.
He told his team as he left his dressing room “we’ll have a masterclass tonight”. And boy, oh boy, did he deliver.
I was privileged to be on the ring apron. He was playing and setting Whyte up, and then unleashed that punch. It was inch-perfect. Specify.
Whyte somehow, amazingly, got up. But Fury never put a foot, or punch, wrong.
The Gypsy King has suggested he will now retire. If he does walk away from boxing, I will not be totally surprised – but it is complex.
Fury is at peace, but could come back for undisputed clash
Fury has a contentment about him. He is in a strangely relaxed and calm place. He has been in that place ever since he beat Deontay Wilder for the title in February 2020.
The bonus fight was the Wilder trilogy fight – the type of war Fury has always wanted to be in. He won and became a national hero that night.
One of the reasons Fury took the fight with Whyte was because he looked at him as one of the last guys out there prepared to face him.
If that fight did not happen, Whyte would have said ‘hey, I’ve been calling you for a year – what are you doing retiring?’
If he stops now, you might point to a missed opportunity to face the winner of Anthony Joshua versus unified champion Oleksandr Usyk for all the belts.
But Fury has already been close to fighting the pair of them. My understanding is that venues, fees, splits and contracts were all agreed for Fury-Joshua last year.
We just about had tickets booked for Saudi Arabia for 8 August but that mega-fight fell out of bed at the last minute when Wilder went to arbitration, so Fury was forced to fight him for the third time.
Then towards the end of last year and the start of this, Usyk-Fury was getting closer and closer. But WBC mandatory challenger Whyte derailed that by saying he would not take a step-aside fee.
Joshua cleverly said he never agreed to a fee to let Usyk-Fury fight, suggesting he was offered a figure but wanted a little bit more sugar to make it sweet enough.
So Fury will look at the heavyweight landscape and think: ‘OK, Usyk and Joshua could not agree terms to get in the ring with me. Everyone who would be brave enough has got in the ring with me and I’ve taken care of them. I’ve challenged the odds by fighting and beating Wilder and I’ve gone in with Whyte and proven how big the gap in class is.’
Usyk and Joshua seem nailed on to fight in Saudi Arabia in July, which means Fury – even if he does not retire – will be out of the ring for 12 months anyway. He could return to Wembley next April or May against the winner.
If Usyk and Joshua have a hard, close fight and Usyk just about retains the title – or if Joshua just about regains the title – where is the incentive to get Fury in with two men who have just gone through a gruelling 12-rounder?
What could spice it up and move us closer to an undisputed fight is a dramatic win; if Usyk were to dismantle Joshua then Fury’s pride might be tickled. He might just want to get revenge, as he would see it, for all of England.
Equally, if Joshua does what I think he is perfectly capable of and walks through Usyk – too big, too strong, too determined – and then calls out Fury, there is no way, even if Fury is hiding in a bear cave in Alaska, he will not respond to that call-out.
Is Fury the greatest British heavyweight in history?
It is extremely hard to compare heavyweights from different eras because of their size, the way they move, the way they box and how frequently they compete.
The great Henry Cooper, who failed twice against Muhammad Ali, was six stone lighter and seven inches shorter than Fury. That is a ridiculous comparison. It is like comparing an 11-a-side football team with a six-a-side team.
Then you have Lennox Lewis – a big man, albeit smaller than Fury. You can just about compare those two. Lewis v Fury would have been a hell of a fight.
Lewis was mobile, smart, intrepid, a gold medalist with pedigree, heart and desire. He had a whopping jab, big arms and the great Emanuel ‘Manny’ Steward in his corner from him.
Fury, quite rightly, has a very high place in the list, the best of his generation, but Lewis was a giant. The king.
The great neglected British heavyweight when you compare the all-time list is Joe Bugner. He was a 15-round specialist. He went that distance with Muhammad Ali and boxed again about five days later. That is what the guys did in the 1970s.
I’d like to see Fury back in WWE
The pride of Morecambe has previously been involved with World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) and I would like to see him back in professional wrestling in October or November.
Last time round, it got him back in the gym. If he were to fight Joshua in April or May 2023, if he has a 10-week training camp in wrestling, it would be fantastic.
Can you imagine him touring the USA with the WWE? It would be like touring with Kiss, the greatest rock band in history – he would be selling out 20,000 arenas every night of the week for a month. It would be incredible.
Sure, WWE is choreographed, but you cannot choreograph how you fall from the five-foot-high ring turnbuckle when a guy swings you.
You land on your back, head, shoulder – you suffer physically. You do not get hit on the chin like you do in boxing, but it is a brutal sport.
I am not sure about a hybrid MMA-boxing fight which Fury has suggested. If he faces someone from the UFC, it would have to be under boxing rules.
Does he fight Francis Ngannou – a big UFC heavyweight champion – and beat him in a boxing bout? Yes, with so much ease that it is embarrassing. He might be able to do it while smoking a cigar and in his slippers.
It would be foolish to compete with anybody under MMA rules where you’re permitted to take your opponent down.
Fury is a good grappler, which is a big part of his training, but he is not a professional grappler like the big MMA stars.
Whyte is not damaged, just heartbroken
I want to end with a word or two on Whyte.
He lost to the greatest of his generation, but showed his heart, fitness and strength by somehow climbing up.
I spoke to him in the dressing room and he was broken. He will take a little break and come back fresh. He can still compete with every other heavyweight at the moment.
What is interesting is how quickly he has already been abandoned and ridiculed. He got hit with one stunning shot, got out-jabbed for five and half rounds and clipped a few times to the body.
Trust me, he is not damaged. He is just heartbroken. Once he dries those tears and gets back in the gym, the rest of the division best look out.
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Steve Bunce was speaking to BBC Sport’s Kal Sajad.
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