Tyson must win battle with mind first before he contemplates ring return
Just 11 months ago, Tyson Fury was on top of the world, the heavyweight king, and now he is caught in the maelstrom of the biggest fight of his life.
Depression, the black dog as Winston Churchill described it, has sunk its teeth into Fury's career and has the undisputed heavyweight champion by the throat. It has robbed him of a £10m pay-day in a re-match with Wladimir Klitschko whom he dethroned spectacularly in Germany - one of the biggest upsets in boxing history.
Fury once said, "I have no fear when it comes to fight time. No nerves. No trepidation. No matter who is in the opposite corner. This is a place where I enjoy myself". But evidently long periods away from the ring and the easy access to the poisonous side of social media feed the dog, leading to shocking outbursts which stand in stark contrast to the other tweets which relate to his Christian beliefs.
Yesterday the 28-year-old announced his retirement, and then three hours later dismissed it as a prank. Significantly that was followed by a tweet stating: "Soon as I get better I'll be defending what's mine the heavyweight throne. Good news is I'm getting the right help & I'll be back even stronger... God is great, blessed is Jesus."
Fury's issues clearly go beyond simply effecting his boxing career, and those around him will hopefully offer the support system the champion needs to find the stability for everyday life. Staying well clear of the toxicity of social media would be good for a start.
Testing positive for cocaine would seem to be symptomatic of the depression.
Now he faces the strong possibility of being stripped of his WBO and WBA heavyweight titles and consequently having to plot his way back to the top.
Winning the battle with his mind is now the priority if Fury is to return to the ring as a true force once again and do justice to the talent that took him to the pinnacle of boxing, as well as carrying the mantle of World heavyweight champion with distinction.
It would be easy to condemn Fury for his controversial reign as heavyweight champion, as so many have, but maybe it would be more graceful to step back and consider the damage that depression does to the lives of so many.
Just because you can throw mean uppercut, doesn't make you exempt from such dark places.