Following the epic Fury-Wilder 3 fight Saturday night, a reporter caught up with boxing legend and promoter Oscar De La Hoya. A question was presented to De La Hoya concerning whether Fury is the greatest fighter the heavyweight division has ever seen.
“Of all time? Wait, of all time? So, you’re disrespecting Muhammad Ali? “In our era, he’s actually up there,” De La Hoya said.
The third installment of Fury-Wilder was indeed a fight that will be remembered and talked about for a long time to come. But let’s hold off on the greatest of all time talk. Fury is a great fighter and maybe the best of his era. Why can’t we stop there and let that be good enough? Everyone loves to be a prisoner of the moment after any big game or event. It was the greatest of all time! Stop it. That fight will go down as one of the greatest of all time in any era. That I will give you, but Fury is not the GOAT.
Fury should be acknowledged in the discussion, especially in the current era of heavyweight boxing. Tyson did end the nearly 10-year reign of former heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko, and that victory alone may place him at the top of the list where the past 15-20 years are concerned.
However, boxing’s heavyweight division isn’t packed with challengers like it was years ago. Fury’s level of competition may not meet the standards of those before him. Which is no fault of Fury’s. Boxers fight whoever the promoter places in their path.
In Muhammad Ali’s era, you had fighters like Joe Frazier, George Foreman, Larry Holmes, Ken Norton, and Earnie Shavers (who was vastly underrated). That era had legendary names that stand the test of time and are still talked about today. The heavyweight division in boxing has taken a backseat to many lighter-weight classes over the last 20 years.
With Fury now firmly planted atop the division and a fight against Anthony Joshua seeming unlikely, we may be looking at another long reign like that of Klitschko. The avid boxing fan can only hope the next worthy challenger isn’t too far into the future.