FINALLY, I invited myself to their training camp near Liverpool for the biggest fight of Tyson’s life, some two months ago. Sharing a caravan with his father, John, an ex-pro not long out of prison, Fury was gloomy, nihilistic even, and I received a call from a fellow writer concerned at Tyson’s mental wellbeing so close to his greatest challenge. But while we are not best buddies, I know Fury sufficiently well to appreciate his caprice, if not entirely understand it. His mood changes day to day – he morphs from ebullient and verbose to desperately bitter sometimes within the same conversation. The Fury I last met will have no relation to the one who steps into the ring on Saturday. Perhaps his most valuable quality against the highly disciplined Klitschko is that very unpredictability.
“I’m the most negative person in the world,” Tyson summarises. “I’m not interested in being an ambassador for anything or holding titles for a long time. There’s nothing that makes me happy, I’ve tried everything. There’s my happiness there,” he suddenly blurted, pointing to a nearby Bible which he proceeded to pick up and open at a pre-selected page. “God. I think I’m a very spiritual person and without this thing ‘ere, my life ain’t worth living. When I went down the wrong track, having a good time, driving fast, drinking, messing around with women, anything that feels good or you like is bad to this. I was gonna read you a little passage and I think this is why I’m not really bothered about nothing: ‘Do not value world success. Do not trust worldly wealth. Repent wherever you have done these things. Recognise that worldly assets have no spiritual or heavenly value. Return to a spiritual value system wherever you have departed. Do not adopt the world’s way of thinking or standards of behaviour.’”
In an erratic life and career, Fury’s faith has been his one unwavering asset – both in God and himself.
Next – page 6 of 6: Should I stay or should I go?