Dougie’s heavyweight-sized Wilder-Fury Monday mailbag

WILDER-FURY, THOUGHTS FOR SUPERMAN

First, before I get into the results of the weekend, let me just say on behalf of everyone all thoughts and prayers for Adonis Stevenson right now. We all love the fight game, and people getting hurt is sadly part of it, but regardless everyone knows the risk it doesn’t make ring injuries easier to take. That was a brutal knockout and we all hope he recovers to enjoy life after boxing.

On a more pleasant note, we got exactly the fight from Fury and Wilder that I was expecting, and got exactly the inconclusive result I was afraid of. I think the draw was probably a best-case outcome because (as witnessed by the scorecards) you either thought Wilder landed just enough to carry many rounds or Fury was controlling things save for the 2 knockdowns. The irony is I could take away the idea Joshua would outclass either one or that either one of them could have a field day with him. While down twice, Fury showed great recovery power in the face of the sport’s hardest puncher and that ever-awkward style which controlled long stretches. I don’t think if Joshua fought him like Klitchko Fury would lose by knockout. Wilder showed he could struggle with (arguably) the world’s most difficult style and a huge opponent and still land a couple of hard punches that could change the fight at any instant. We always think that about Wilder but now there’s no question he can do it on a world-class opponent.

My question is: Do we see an immediate rematch, or does one of the 2 get Joshua first? Frankly I’d like to see a Joshua match for either one first, but I somehow think that won’t come off, we get a rematch and another controversial decision, while Joshua piles up more payday wins. – MT in the OC

I hope you’re wrong about that MT. My gut feel is that Fury’s star has never been brighter in the UK, where Joshua just happens to be card-carrying superstar attraction. I think the interest and the money is there to make an all British mega-event in April at Wembley Stadium.

But I could be wrong.

Thank you for including your thoughts and well wishes for Stevenson, and for sharing your opinion on Wilder-Fury.

 

FUN HEAVYWEIGHT SHOWDOWN, PRAYING FOR STEVENSON

Hello Doug,

I just watched a good fight between Fury and Wilder, and man that was fun – Tyson Fury’s a big, towering source of frustration. He kept the Bronze Bomber frustrated, literally the whole night. Fury was on his way to what I thought was a near shutout, but man, Wilder’s power is such a game changer! The weight difference is just a number. You can never get too comfortable with him in there. I had the fight for Fury despite the knockdowns, but I don’t mind the result at all or a Wilder scorecard. Your thoughts on the fight? Props to both guys for giving us a fight to remember and I won’t mind seeing both these heavyweights go at it once (or twice) again. Those fights – if ever they will be made, will surely take away whats left in the tank from these guys, which will make it easier for Anthony Joshua to finally pick a fight with either one.

I also saw the Gvozdyk – Stevenson fight, and I had to commend the way Gvozdyk fought, it was smart and methodical boxing and that ending was a bit tough to watch, and it only goes to show how brutal the sport can get, it can happen to literally just anyone like Stevenson. I hope he gets to recover from this ordeal, and gets to enjoy the fruits of his labor.

Hope to make it to the mailbag and I wish you all the best, keep it up! Cheers. – Ely

You made it, Ely.

That stoppage ending in the Stevenson-Gvozdyk fight was brutal. The way Stevenson slumped to the canvas in a corner was not unlike the manner in which Benny “Kid” Paret was savagely battered into submission in their fateful third bout (although Gvozdyk was NOT able to get off with as many unanswered shots) in 1962. Paret, the welterweight champ, was coming off a grueling 10th-round stoppage to middleweight bruiser Gene Fullmer three months earlier. Stevenson had come off a grueling 12-round draw with Badou Jack six months earlier. Hopefully, Stevenson pulls through this with the aide of modern surgery and medical techniques.

My thoughts on Wilder-Fury is that Fury was the superior boxer and ring general for the majority for rounds but Wilder remained a threat throughout the fight due to his punching power and fighting spirit.

 

WHO CAN KO THE GYPSY KING?

Doug –

Is there an active heavyweight who can KO Fury at this point? – Kevin Key, Duluth, MN

I don’t think so, but I’m sure Anthony Joshua would like to prove me wrong (as would Wilder if he gets a second shot).

 

WILDER-FURY DELIVERED

Hey Dougie,

That was a more entertaining fight than I expected, so much so that I felt compelled to send another submission for the mailbag following an extended absence of my own!

I’ll say upfront that, like you, I picked Deontay Wilder by mid-to-late stoppage as I was convinced that Tyson Fury would frustrate Wilder but eventually get caught and be unable to recover. I also doubted that Fury could regain his form with so few tune-up fights ahead of this match given just how far he’d let himself go, not to mention his battle with depression (the ultimate Fury X factor).

More than that, while Fury is awkward and difficult to catch with clean shots, he has a safety-first style that limits not only his opponents aggression but also his own. He simply doesn’t land enough punches. I think that lack of aggression causes him to lose a lot of close rounds on the scorecards of judges who favor aggression over defensive chops. Finally, Wilder has shown the ability to finish opponents late as he did with Ortiz, making him a threat from start to finish even when he is trailing on the cards.

Despite all of these things, Fury delivered in several ways: 1) He got off the canvas twice, which was particularly impressive following the second knockdown which appeared to be a fight ender (it would have been with the majority of referees who would have waived the fight off immediately).

2) He clearly hurt Wilder, particularly in the twelfth round.

3) He overcame an extended layoff and showed that he trained to go the distance. For these reasons, I thought this was a far more impressive win than he delivered against Klitschko where he really did no apparent damage and relied too much on his ability to disrupt his opponents timing.

For me the two big questions are, who wins the rematch and who would be a tougher match-up for Joshua? I think Wilder showed an improving ability to time and catch Fury as the fight progressed and that he would likely win a rematch after watching film and making adjustments.

I actually think Wilder would be the easier match up of the two for Joshua as I think Joshua will make him miss and make him pay while weathering some rocky moments early. Fury v Joshua might look a lot like the Klitschko fight and be the tougher stylistic match up although Joshua’s youth might be the difference. I’d much rather watch Wilder v Joshua but I think Fury might give him more trouble in the end.

How do you think Vlad would have fared against Fury in his prime? – Todd

I think the peak, Emanuel Steward-trained version of Klitschko (let’s say 2008-2010) would either stop Fury by the late rounds of a difficult fight or score a close-but-not-controversial decision.

Thanks for checking back in with the mailbag, Todd. Remember, it’s not just my twice-weekly column, it belongs to every fan who loves boxing enough to want to share his or her opinions with me and RingTV.com readers.

I’ll say upfront that, like you, I picked Deontay Wilder by mid-to-late stoppage as I was convinced that Tyson Fury would frustrate Wilder but eventually get caught and be unable to recover. Yep, I don’t mind saying I was wrong about Fury (especially after he and Wilder delivered such a dramatic fight). I wasn’t surprised at all by his ability to neutralize Wilder, but I figured the inactivity and unhealthy lifestyle would bite him in his big wide ass in the form of severe fatigue by the late rounds, and that Wilder would then be able to clip him. (And, hey, that ALMOST happened – but it didn’t. Nothin’ but props to The Gypsy King.)

I also doubted that Fury could regain his form with so few tune-up fights ahead of this match given just how far he’d let himself go, not to mention his battle with depression (the ultimate Fury X factor). He clearly entered this fight in the best MENTAL and physical shape of his career, and I truly believe that he “fought himself into shape” (as the old-timers used to say) DURING the bout. His reflexes and form improved (as did his confidence) as the rounds progressed.

More than that, while Fury is awkward and difficult to catch with clean shots, he has a safety-first style that limits not only his opponents’ aggression but also his own. He simply doesn’t land enough punches. Well, he does just enough to outland his opponents while being one very slick and slippery giant. We all lauded Floyd Mayweather Jr., another low-volume defense-minded ring general, for doing this. (Well, I didn’t, but most of you did.) Why can’t we do so for Fury, who landed at a higher percentage clip than Wilder across the board – total punches, jabs and power shots – according to CompuBox stats?

I think that lack of aggression causes him to lose a lot of close rounds on the scorecards of judges who favor aggression over defensive chops. Yeah, punching power and even the mere threat of that power (and the aggression that comes with it) matters in professional boxing.

Finally, Wilder has shown the ability to finish opponents late as he did with Ortiz, making him a threat from start to finish even when he is trailing on the cards. Wilder ain’t no front runner. He’s a pure power puncher with a lot of heart – he never stops trying to whack his opponents out – and that makes him the most dangerous heavyweight in the game. But his shaky technical foundation and low boxing IQ makes him vulnerable.

Despite all of these things, Fury delivered in several ways:

1) He got off the canvas twice, which was particularly impressive following the second knockdown which appeared to be a fight ender. We’ve seen Fury get up from knockdowns before but never against a puncher of Wilder’s caliber, so it was surprising to see him close both Round 9 and Round 12 strong.

2) He clearly hurt Wilder, particularly in the twelfth round. Can you imagine if Fury had someone like the late Emanuel Steward training him for a few camps and teaching him to really pivot and get his hips into his right hands?

3) He overcame an extended layoff and showed that he trained to go the distance. For these reasons, I thought this was a far more impressive win than he delivered against Klitschko where he really did no apparent damage and relied too much on his ability to disrupt his opponents timing. It was certainly more dramatic and entertaining, but it probably isn’t as significant given Klitschko’s and Wilder’s respective accomplishments. Wlad was THE MAN of the heavyweight division, a dominant champ with hall-of-fame credentials, when Fury unseated him.

For me the two big questions are, who wins the rematch and who would be a tougher match-up for Joshua? I think Wilder showed an improving ability to time and catch Fury as the fight progressed and that he would likely win a rematch after watching film and making adjustments. I think Wilder, as explosive and dangerous as he is, was butt-naked exposed for being painfully one-dimensional. I don’t buy the Shelly Finkel line that Wilder will be better for the rematch. Wilder is 33 years old with 41 pro bouts under his belt. He is what he is. I think Fury fought off the remains of his ring rust during those intense 12 rounds. If he controls his weight and partying over the holidays and gets back in the ring as soon as he can in 2019, I think he’ll be much sharper than he was on Dec. 1.

I actually think Wilder would be the easier match up of the two for Joshua as I think Joshua will make him miss and make him pay while weathering some rocky moments early. I agree. AJ’s one-two combination is just as fast and sneaky as Fury’s but the unified titleholder commits more to his shots and he’s a good finisher.

Fury v Joshua might look a lot like the Klitschko fight and be the tougher stylistic match up although Joshua’s youth might be the difference. Once again, I agree. Fury’s a big, loud pain in the ass for any heavyweight.

 

FURY THE RING CHAMP?

Hey Dougie,

Long time reader, but I haven’t mailed in since the Super Six when I was in college! Only question I have is should Tyson Fury be reinstated as The Ring champ? And if he should, will he be? I think he should for a few reasons:

First, Fury is still regarded by most as being the lineal champ, and The Ring belt is the closest physical manifestation of the lineal title. Giving back Fury the honor he won from Klitschko seems right since he never lost the championship in the ring, and The Ring belt is supposed to represent the honor of lineage in a way that the alphabet boys won’t.

Second, as he proved Saturday night, Fury still has “it.” Reinstating Fury wouldn’t be filling a vacancy with someone that can only beat the Sefer Seferis of the world — Fury just drew with the consensus number 2 heavyweight in the world in a fight the majority feel Fury won. Although it may not have been enough to win a vacant lineal title, it did show Fury is legitimate and that he still has the ability that got him to the top of the sport.

Third, Fury was stripped just earlier this year for inactivity and the UKID suspicions.  Since then, the UKID issue resolved and Fury fought three times, including against a legitimate top contender in Wilder. His staying busy and fighting a dangerous guy so soon into his comeback showed that Fury is serious about being an active fighter. Had his comeback fight been announced just a few months sooner, the title would have still been his anyway.

Finally, and most importantly, the title hasn’t been filled since Fury was stripped. It’d be hard to justify reinstating Fury if Joshua and Wilder fought before the Fury comeback and they had filled the vacancy. But they didn’t, and the title remained open this whole time. Fury proved his comeback is legitimate, so it’s hard to call anyone else the champion without them seeing Fury first.

To be clear, I’m not saying that Fury getting a draw is a title-winning effort on its own. We all know that a draw isn’t a win. But what I am saying is that Fury proved on Saturday that his title-winning effort against Wladimir Klitschko wasn’t a fluke, and since no other man has emerged to take The Ring title, Fury should be re-installed to what he earned three years ago in Germany. The lineage, top form, activity, and lack of a new “champion” to separate himself from the mere titlists show Fury should still be viewed as the man to beat, and therefore The Ring champion.

Best regards. – Homer, Washington, DC

Thanks for writing in and sharing your opinions after all these years, Homer.

Tyson Fury was stripped of The Ring heavyweight title on February 1 of this year after being out of the ring since winning the prestigious championship in November 2015. He fought two unrated opponents in June and August, which was enough to get him back in The Ring rankings (at No. 7) but not within range to compete for the vacant Ring title. He would have had to rise to either No. 3 or No. 2 and fight our No. 1-rated heavyweight, unified beltholder Anthony Joshua, to once again compete for The Ring title.

Now, after his dramatic performance against Wilder, he will no doubt advance into the top three of our heavyweight rankings. If his next fight is against Joshua, there’s a very good chance that The Ring championship will be on the line.

However, I must note that the lineal championship and The Ring title are not the same thing. It’s great when they are unified but that’s not always possible. And we don’t reinstate former Ring champions who have been stripped of the title. The only way to regain The Ring belt is to meet our championship criteria or fight the No. 1-rated fighter in one’s division and gain the blessing of the Ratings Panel (as Canelo Alvarez did going into his rematch with Gennady Golovkin – and I think the Panel mainly backed that decision in order to give GGG the opportunity to fight for the magazine’s vacant middleweight championship).

Tyson Fury has certainly proved that he’s worthy to challenge for it (more so than when he did against Klitschko three years ago). Hopefully, he, Joshua, Eddie Hearn and Frank Warren can work out a deal to make that all-UK showdown a reality next year.

 

STEVENSON-GVOZDYK & THE JUDGES

What’s up Doug? Hope you’re well. What a weekend of boxing!!

I thought Oleksandr Gvozdyk put on a near perfect performance Saturday staying away from Adonis Stevenson’s left, punching in combos, lots of straight shots and movement…to quote showtime ‘it was turning into a clinic’ before the tenth which was Stevenson’s last stand and the 11th was just brutal and I hope Stevenson ok…another stark reminder of how dangerous boxing is and why these fighters deserve so much respect. How did you score it before the stoppage? I only gave Stevenson 1, 2 and 10. I thought Atlas gave a solid game plan and advice throughout and his call out of the scorecards in the post fight presser were spot on.

I view Gvozdyk as the man now just slightly ahead of Alvarez…better chin and intangibles then Beterbiev and more power than Bivol.

Where does he go next and who do you view as the man?

Also, how did you score the big one and will this shitty scoring ever stop? All the best, Dougie. – David, Dublin

I scored the big one for the big man, Tyson Fury, eight rounds to four, so I had it 114-112 with the point deductions for the two knockdowns he suffered. So, I had it close, close enough not to complain about the controversial split-draw verdict on social media, which has set off Fury’s legion of loyal fans on Twitter. Whatever. I made it clear to anyone whose head isn’t in his or her rectum that the 115-111 card for Wilder is AWFUL, just as unforgivable as Adalaide Byrd’s 118-110 tally for Canelo in the first GGG fight. However, I realize where the fight took place and who was the lead promoter (or adviser in this case). The fight didn’t take place in the UK or neutral territory and Team Fury knew the deal coming in. I’m not saying it’s right or just, but we all know that if Wilder traveled to the UK, the odds would likely be stacked against him there. That’s the way boxing’s been since… well, forever. So, no I don’t expect the shitty scoring to stop, but that doesn’t mean fans and industry folks shouldn’t aim outrage and discontent at the commissions that appoint unprofessional and unworthy officials.

I thought Oleksandr Gvozdyk put on a near perfect performance Saturday staying away from Adonis Stevenson’s left, punching in combos, lots of straight shots and movement… I thought The Nail did a good job of neutralizing Stevenson’s vaunted power-left with his lateral movement, but he seemed a bit skittish or tight in the early rounds and more vulnerable than he should’ve been once began to open up offensively in the late rounds.

…to quote Showtime ‘it was turning into a clinic’ before the tenth which was Stevenson’s last stand and the 11th was just brutal and I hope Stevenson ok… another stark reminder of how dangerous boxing is and why these fighters deserve so much respect. Yeah, that was a brutal stoppage, and the sobering news of Stevenson being in critical condition on Sunday morning put all the Wilder-Fury debating and arguing into perspective. I’ve read that Stevenson’s condition has slightly improved and that he’s now in stable condition but he’s not out of the woods yet, and, God willing, if he pulls through, he will have a long road to recovery ahead of him. My thoughts and prayers are with him and his family.

How did you score it before the stoppage? I only gave Stevenson 1, 2 and 10. I saw it closer than you did. I scored rounds 1, 2, 9 and 10 for Stevenson, and I had Round 7 even, so I had Gvozdyk ahead 5-4-1 in rounds after Round 10.

I thought Atlas gave a solid game plan and advice throughout and his call out of the scorecards in the post fight presser were spot on. Atlas is back. I think I like seeing him in the trainer role more so than the commentary role.

I view Gvozdyk as the man now just slightly ahead of Alvarez…better chin and intangibles then Beterbiev and more power than Bivol. I rate Gvozdyk ahead of Beterbiev (who I think is a tad overrated), but not ahead of Alvarez yet. I’ve got Alvarez, Gvozdyk and Bivol as the top three 175 pounders. Light heavyweight is a deep division.

Where does he go next and who do you view as the man? I don’t think “the man” exists at light heavy. These top 175 pounders have to fight each other for us to learn who the man is. I hope Gvozdyk aims for the Alvarez-Kovalev rematch winner, Bivol or the Jack-Browne winner.

 

DISGUSTING ROBBERY

Hi Doug,

I don’t know any way to put this other than; I’m pissed! Fury was robbed last night! Score should have been Fury 114/112 or better.

I want to ask you one thing; Why can’t the score of the judge who scored it 115/110 for Wilder be overturned????? Anyone who watched the fight knows that was BS. The judge was either drunk, high or paid off! He should never be allowed to work in the business ever again. Why have ‘CompuBox’ if it isn’t used! One thing I do know – I don’t think I’ll ever pay to watch another fight knowing this can happen. It was like GGG/Canelo #1 only 10 times worse.

OK, after last night who wins Fury/Joshua if the scoring is fair? I think Fury unless Tyson lets last night get in his head and send him down a dark path. He showed Wilder to be a one trick pony and made him look like an amateur most of the night. – Mike

Yes, he did, but Joshua doesn’t appear to be a one-trick pony or amateurish, so I think The Gypsy King would have his hands full with his fellow Brit. I can see Fury outmaneuvering Joshua, but I also envision the unified beltholder setting and keeping a harder pace than Wilder was able to on Saturday. I don’t think Joshua can hit Fury as hard as Wilder did, but he can probably land more than the American did (including more body shots). It’s an even matchup for a variety of reasons but my pick would probably be Joshua by close decision.

I don’t know any way to put this other than; I’m pissed! You’re not alone.

Fury was robbed last night! Score should have been Fury 114/112 or better. I had it 114-112. Apart from the knockdown rounds, I scored Rounds 2 and 5 for Wilder (although I noted that both rounds were close). So, I’m not going to call a draw a robbery, but like the first Canelo-GGG fight, the official verdict was marred by one really bad scorecard.

I want to ask you one thing; Why can’t the score of the judge who scored it 115/110 for Wilder be overturned????? The only way a controversial scorecard would be overturned is if it could be proven that the judge was on the take. But the simple, frustrating truth is that people – even veteran judges, longtime fans, experienced industry observers and boss media scribes – see different things and outcomes with the same fight. I scored it 114-112 for Fury but I was watching from my living room sofa. Lance Pugmire (of the L.A. Times) and ESPN’s Dan Rafael scored the fight 114-112 for Wilder from where they were sitting – front and center along press row inside Staples Center. Yahoo! Sports’ Kevin Iole, who was also ringside, scored it a draw (113-113) like judge Phil Edwards.

He should never be allowed to work in the business ever again. Alejandro Rochin should have to explain his score to the California commission, which should think twice about allowing him judge another high-profile bout for awhile. (Rochin was one of two judges that scored the Danny Garcia-Mauricio Herrera fight 116-112 for Garcia.) He needs to be watched closely like so many other judges.

Why have ‘CompuBox’ if it isn’t used! CompuBox is just punch stats. It’s a good gauge or analysis tool but it can’t take the place of a good judge in a professional boxing match. Boxing’s not just about punches landed in the pro ranks, power counts (that’s why a fighter who is knocked down loses the round and an extra point under the 10-pound must system).

One thing I do know – I don’t think I’ll ever pay to watch another fight knowing this can happen. You’ll be back.

It was like GGG/Canelo #1 only 10 times worse. Nah, it was about the same – a really good fight that featured two top fighters in their division doing what they do best that ended in a split-draw (which the majority of observers scored for the “non-house fighter”), had one egregious scorecard, and sparked weeks and months of hardcore head squabbles on social media.  

 

BE CAREFUL WHAT WE WISH FOR

Hi Dougie,

Last time I wrote in was after the Wilder vs Ortiz fight and you kinda schooled me on my reaction, so hoping I’m more on point this time! 🙂

My biggest take away from Wilder v Fury, is thank fuck the fight with AJ didn’t get made. In the middle of this year, I was DESPERATE to see AJ vs Wilder and really disappointed when it didn’t happen. But if this weekend’s fight had been between them and there’d been a conclusive winner, I think it would have really cooled off a heavyweight division that is now ready to blow – especially for a lot of casual fans. Just look at the cruiserweight division since Usyk unified, or the Holmes / Klitschko lulls.

Instead, we have 4 ‘champions’ in the division that I think could be as exciting as the 90’s legends. We have the dangerous knockout artist (Tyson/Wilder), the undisputed cruiserweight champion (Holyfield/Usyk), the big but athletic boxer puncher (Lewis/AJ) and Tyson Fury – who, is so unorthodox I don’t know who to compare him to. Maybe Riddick Bowe, surprisingly technical for such a big fighter, with an up and down commitment to the sport?

Any of those 4 against one another is a fight I’d love to watch, that’s 12 potentially awesome heavyweight fights between credible opponents! (Apart from maybe Usyk vs Fury, which might be more of a fight for the purists). On top of that, there are a group of ‘challengers’ who are also exciting fighters who’d make great match-ups – Whyte, Ortiz, Parker, Chisora & Miller. I’d watch any of them fight one another, or any of the ‘champions’.

If I was matchmaking the division, the next fights would be Fury vs AJ, Wilder vs Whyte, Usyk vs Parker and Chisora vs Ortiz.  But if I learned anything from this weekend, the only thing better than getting the fights I’m hoping for in Heavyweight boxing is getting the fights I’m not hoping for.

I’m sure all the Wilder vs AJ hype will be starting again soon, but we should all be careful what we wish for! – Lewis

Thanks for sharing your thoughts Lewis. I’m not sure I agree that Joshua-Wilder happening this year would have “cooled off” the heavyweight division (in the event of a conclusive winner). The undisputed heavyweight championship (including the vacant Ring title) would have been on the line and the attention of the sports world would have been on that showdown. It would have been a mega-event had it taken place in the U.K. where AJ is a bona-fide superstar. I think Joshua-Wilder would be a tit-for-tat shootout, but even if there was a dominant winner that undisputed champ would still have had to take on lineal champ, Fury, so fans would look forward to that, along with title defenses against contenders, such as Luis Ortiz, Jarrell Miller and Dillian Whyte

However, the way things have panned out is fine, too. With Wilder and Fury battling to a dramatic stalemate (and most observers viewing Fury as the winner), the lineal champ now advances into the top three with AJ and the Bronze Bomber. So the potential is there for a round robin between the Dynamic Three and maybe one or two other heavyweights (including the Usyk, as you noted, who we all expect to invade the division soon).

 

Email Fischer at dougie@boxingmailbag.com. Follow him on Twitter and IG at @dougiefischer and on Persicope.

The post Dougie’s heavyweight-sized Wilder-Fury Monday mailbag appeared first on The Ring.

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