Is Tyson Fury the Next Great Heavyweight Boxer?

Steve Silverman@@profootballboyFeatured ColumnistOctober 21, 2012

Tyson Fury does not look balanced when throwing his right hand.
Tyson Fury does not look balanced when throwing his right hand.Christopher Lee/Getty Images

OK, we'll take the bait.

The heavyweight division has been ruled by Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko for years.

Efficient? Yes. Skilled? Yes. Intimidating? Yes. Exciting? Not really.

The heavyweight division has been looking for an exciting and dominating fighter for years, but scintillating heavyweights are hard to find.

The heavyweight division is not only dominated by the Klitschko brothers, but most of the best heavyweight fighters are 30 or over.

If you are looking for next great heavyweight, you have to look at the fighters who are in their 20s.

And boxing being the kind of sport that is so dependent on speed, quickness and reaction time, you are probably looking for a fighter who is 25 or under.

Which brings us to Tyson Fury.

The 24-year-old British fighter is 19-0-0 with 14 knockouts, and he certainly has the size, stature and personality that you are looking for in a heavyweight fighter. Nobody is saying that he could hang in there with either of the Klitschko brothers at this point in his career, but he is a talented fighter.

He's also controversial, as there are many in the division who don't like him. That includes fellow British fighter David Price, who called Fury an idiot.

"He's idiotic and giving the sport a bad name the way he's running round like a playground bully," Price told the BBC. "We are grown men and no-one bullies anyone as far as I'm concerned, and especially not him."

There's some real dislike between these two fighters. Price is also undefeated at 14-0-0 with 12 knockouts, and he defeated Fury twice when they were both amateurs. However, Price is 29 and is not exactly a fast riser in the division.

Fury is a 6'9" behemoth who got into the ring at 245.5 pounds in his last fight with Vinny Maddalone in July. Fury registered a fifth-round TKO in that fight.

Fury's weight has varied in his fights. He has been as much as 270 (2010 against John McDermott).

Fury has an excellent jab, a good straight right and likes to scrap. The combination of a huge fighter with an effective left jab should give Fury a chance to be a great heavyweight.

However, despite the size and the undefeated record, Fury does not look like a finished product. He needs to carry himself more like a great fighter in the ring and project confidence. Fury likes to bide his time in the ring and take his shots off of his opponents' misses.

Great fighters dictate the pace. Perhaps Fury could get there with a stronger upper body, and that would give him greater confidence to plow through his opponents.

He did not do that in his 2011 fight against Dereck Chisora. It was expected that Fury would just take it to a smaller man like Chisora, who's 6'1.5", but he refused to do that.

So, Fury is not yet a great heavyweight. Does he have the potential to get there? He's going to have to prove that in the ring.

He's certainly got the trash-talking aspect (via the Daily Mail) of becoming a heavyweight personality, but when it comes to skills in a ring, he's got a long way to go.

However, despite his flaws, he's probably the closest thing to the next great fighter in the heavyweight division.