Tyson Fury's face pops onto the screen during a Zoom call and immediately he bellows out my name.
"Keeeeeeeevin Eye-oh-leeeeeeeee," he shrieks. "Yahoooooooooo Sports. You're talking to the baddest MFer there is! How are ya?"
He's got a grin on his face and a playful attitude. He fights Derek Chisora on Saturday (1 p.m. ET, ESPN+) at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in Tottenham, England, for the WBC heavyweight championship. Fury, though, looks as relaxed a week before the fight as he would if he were lying on his couch watching a fight with some snacks to munch on.
Perhaps part of it is that he's already beaten Chisora twice. Fury won a 12-round decision over Chisora in 2011, and then stopped him after 10 in 2014. Chisora has been on no one else's radar as a potential Fury opponent, but Fury isn't worried about things like legacy or other people's opinions. He's fighting Chisora because that's who he wants to fight.
Now, perhaps some of it has to do with the fact that unified heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk said he wouldn't be ready to fight until early 2023. Fury has a history of mental health struggles and the monotony of a boxing training camp keeps him on point. He didn't want to take the rest of the year off after stopping Dillian Whyte in front of 94,000 fans in London in April.
When he couldn't reach deals for a December fight against either Usyk or long-time rival and ex-champion Anthony Joshua, he turned to Chisora. He had said his bout with Whyte would be the last of his career, though few believed him.
But he said in the immediate aftermath it would take an enormous amount of money to get him out of retirement.
He realized, though, that he wasn't ready to turn his back on the game that has been part of his life since he was in kindergarten.
"I'm not really ready to move on right now," he said. "I thought I was, but apparently I'm not. That's why I am back for more punishment."
He took some punishment from those in the media and some of his fans for picking Chisora as his next opponent. Chisora has done nothing recently to earn a title fight. He's 1-3 in his last four and 33-12 for his career, including two previous losses to Fury.
Fury came to the U.S. in 2018 to fight then-WBC champion Deontay Wilder, the first of five consecutive fights in the U.S. He drew with Wilder on Dec. 1, 2018. He knocked out Tom Schwarz on June 15, 2019 and then decisioned Otto Wallin on Sept. 14, 2019. That led to a rematch with Wilder on Feb. 22, 2020, which he won by seventh-round TKO.
That was four fights in 14 months in the U.S. But the pandemic struck and he was out of action for 20 months until he fought a third time with Wilder on Oct. 6, 2021, a classic battle he won by 11th round TKO.
He wanted to keep more active, so when he decided not to retire after the Whyte fight, he determined it would be in December. He wanted Usyk or Joshua, but when he couldn't get a deal done with either in the time he felt appropriate, he moved on to Chisora. It wasn't so much ducking Usyk as it was him wanting to stay active.
But he said there will be 70,000 fans in Tottenham on Saturday and said no one was complaining that he's not fighting Usyk.
Those who complained hardly fazed him.
"Their opinion means zero to me," he said. "Nothing. ... Derek was attractive over some foreign guy because people know his name in England and they always have. The fans are very familiar with him. Better him than some guy they can't pronounce his name with a 27-0 record."
Fury was mostly playful during a brief conversation about the fight. He'd announced earlier in the year that Isaac Lowe was going to train him. That wasn't true then and it isn't true now. Sugarhill Steward will still be in his corner, but Fury went on with the ruse. Lowe, he insisted, will fight on the undercard, go to the back and then train him for the fight.
For most of the chat, he had a grin on his face and was joking a lot. But asked who was training him, he played the joke straight.
"Lowe's been training me and he's actually fighting on the undercard," Fury said.
It was typical Fury, fooling around and shooting for laughs. He's content with where he is in his career and now has no plans to retire, but it's going to be on a fight-by-fight basis at this stage.
He insists legacy means nothing to him and said he's fighting because it's what he's done for most of his life, he enjoys it and he makes a great living doing it.
"I'm not really concerned about that legacy s***," he said. "I'm only interested in waking up every day and being thankful for what I have and who I am, thankful that God gave me another day. When people start ranking you, it means you're finished, you're over and done. Where they want to put me is not my concern. I don't give a damn. When I'm done, say I'm the s***tiest boxer who ever lived. I don't care. At the end of the day, I'm in boxing to get paid and get laid. ... That's what boxing is to me. I get paid and I get everyone paid.
"'Oh, you want me to fight this guy? OK, how much, where and when?' I'm a very, very highly paid escort."