In the opinion of quite a few people who know their boxing, former WBC heavyweight champ Tyson Fury has to avenge his loss to Oleksandr Usyk if he is to go down as a true heavyweight great.

The rematch, set as we know for exactly six months tomorrow, December 21, really is a must-win fight for Fury, for his ego, for his ranking in the history books, for Fury’s ability to fully hold his head up as high as he did before that May 18 night in Saudi Arabia.

Fury is said to be back in the gym, yet we are still so far away from the fight that anything could happen between now and December. Some people – Johnny Nelson for one – are unsure the rematch will happen, that Fury, so hurt, so pained inside due to the loss, that brutal ninth round, in particular, serving to haunt him, will not go through with it. That’s mere opinion, of course. As is what Eddie Hearn said today on the subject of Fury’s overall greatness should he never defeat Usyk.

Speaking with Seconds Out, Hearn had the following to say about Fury and where and how he will be remembered sans a victory over the exceptional Ukrainian southpaw:

“If he doesn’t beat Usyk, he will not go down as a generational great,” Hearn said of Fury. “He’ll go down as a great heavyweight, who was amazing for the sport – British world heavyweight champion, great personality, but not a true great in my opinion. Because he just hasn’t beaten the opposition. He beat Deontay Wilder. Where’s the other elite guys that he beat? And that’s why they need each other…..AJ needs Fury, AJ needs to beat Usyk. Usyk’s done it now, Usyk’s a generational great – undisputed cruiserweight champion, undisputed heavyweight champion, he beat AJ twice, I mean, if he beats [Fury] again, he’s home and dry, unless AJ can come back and get him. I feel AJ’s resume is fantastic, but he still needs a victory over Usyk or Fury to become; I’m talking a generational great, I’m talking, Lennox Lewis, Mike Tyson, Muhammad Ali, George Foreman. And he’ll want that, and Fury will be right up for this [rematch with Usyk]. I’ve heard Johnny Nelson saying, ‘I don’t think the fight will happen.’ F*****g hell! It’s mad. Looking at social media lately, and maybe I’ve just gone soft, but there’s so many haters out there.”

Interesting stuff from Hearn, and not too much you can disagree with. Fury does need a win over Usyk even to have a chance of going down with the greats like Ali and Foreman. AJ still needs a massive win over a Fury or a Usyk to do the same. And Usyk is pretty much “home and dry” going into boxing history as the greatest fighter of his era at two weights.

Can anybody beat Usyk, be it Fury in a sequel, AJ in a third fight, or anybody else on the planet you care to mention?

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