The most significant heavyweight bout of 2018, and one of the more dramatic big-man clashes in recent years, ended in a controversial draw, however, most observers – including every member of The Ring’s Ratings Panel – believed Tyson Fury outclassed Deontay Wilder over the distance despite having to get up from two knockdowns (almost miraculously from the second one in Round 12).
Panelists Anson Wainwright and Mike Coppinger were in favor of having Fury (27-0-1, 19 knockouts), the lineal champion and former Ring Magazine champ, advance from No. 7 to No. 3 in the heavyweight rankings, while keeping unified beltholder Anthony Joshua and Wilder (40-0-1, 39 KOs), the WBC titleholder, at Nos. 1 and 2.
Associate Editor Tom Gray disagreed with that opinion, proposing that Fury move to the No. 2 spot (and as some of you are aware, he isn’t shy about sharing his point of view when he feels strongly about something).
“Fury, by overwhelming consensus, won that fight,” said Gray. “I do not have the monopoly on the truth, but I have encountered ‘three’ people who felt differently. Forget subjective scoring. Forget the usual drivel that gets spouted on social media in an attempt to avoid the obvious – Wilder lost and poll averages I’ve seen favor Fury 75/25. By not acknowledging who ‘won’ the draw, we effectively endorse the 115-111 card that was submitted by an inept judge who had the temerity to give Wilder the first four rounds. That is absolutely ‘disgusting.’
“Fury has a better resume and he won the fight. Why should Wilder be above him because Christmas came early? Our decision should be based on who we thought won that fight on points.
“To put it another way, if Joshua-Wilder gets announced next week (that’s never happening), would you be okay with The Ring title being at stake? I certainly wouldn’t. Wilder was exposed, outclassed and saved by blind mice. If I sound pissed, then it’s because I am. And patriotism (and please remember I’m Scottish) doesn’t have a damn thing to do with it. One, I should have seen the draw coming, just like I did with Canelo-GGG, and won some money. Two, we should be celebrating a ‘brilliant’ comeback performance. This debate should not even be happening.”
Wainwright and Coppinger saw Gray’s points.
“Again, I’m from the U.K., not patriotic, often find myself rooting for the non-British fighter,” Wainwright said. “I’m good with Tom’s well thought out points.”
Coppinger still favored keeping Wilder at No. 2 but wasn’t against Fury at No. 2.
“Even though I thought Fury won, I think it makes sense to keep Wilder at No. 2, but no problem with the reverse order,” said Coppinger, who scored 10 rounds for Fury from press row.
Panelists Michael Montero and Diego Morilla believed Fury won the fight but didn’t seem comfortable with upgrading “The Gypsy King” to No. 2.
“I didn’t watch the fight live, so I was already biased by the general opinion that Fury won by the time I watched it later on Sunday, and it’s hard to be 100% isolated from other opinions when you watch a fight later,” shared Morilla. “Having said that, I do agree that Fury had at least three or four points on Wilder even with the knockdowns, but in my view we have to go with the usual maxim of ‘a result is a result is a result,’ unless it’s a brutal, extraordinarily obvious robbery, which it wasn’t in this case. So, I stand with my opinion, even if it’s more like Joshua 1, Wilder 1.1 and Fury 1.2 instead of a more clear-cut 1-2-3.
“Wilder and Fury are interchangeable at No. 2 and No. 3 in my opinion. I can see it in either order. Wilder was No. 2 before the Fury bout and technically it was scored a draw so it’s hard to move him down. I can see where some readers may take issue with that. Then again, most readers probably had Fury winning. How did we handle this after the first Canelo-Golovkin and Ward-Kovalev fights? We should probably keep it consistent.
“I had Fury edging it out, but all the talk of ‘robbery’ is hyperbole. Considering the two knockdowns, I was cool with the draw. Although Alejandro Rochin’s scorecard was atrocious.”
Montero brought up the first Canelo-Golovkin and Kovalev-Ward bouts. Alvarez was The Ring middleweight champ at the time, so he retained his title and position, while Golovkin remained in the No. 1 spot. Ward advanced from No. 5 to No. 1 in the light heavyweight rankings with his razor-thin unanimous decision over Kovalev, who dropped to the No. 2 spot. However, with both controversial bouts there were members of the Panel and Editorial Board who believed Alvarez and Ward legitimately won, most notably former Editor-In-Chief Michael Rosenthal.
The current Editor-In-Chief saw a close (114-112) but clear victory for Fury, and thus gave his backing to Gray’s passionate proposal.
RING RATINGS UPDATES (November 16 through Dec. 1):
Heavyweight – Fury advances to No. 2. Wilder drops to No. 3. Jarrell Miller advances one spot, from No. 9 to No. 8, after stopping unrated Bogdan Dinu in four rounds on Nov. 17.
Light heavyweight – Oleksandr Gvozdyk advances from No. 6 to No. 2 after stopping Adonis Stevenson in the 11th-round of their ill-fated WBC title bout on Dec. 1. Stevenson, who suffered a career-ending brain injury, can no longer be ranked. Veteran Karo Murat re-enters at No. 10. The members of the Panel are still keeping Stevenson, and his family, in their thoughts and prayers.
“Let me be the first to wish Adonis Stevenson and his family my thoughts and prayers,” said Gray. “Devastating news this.”
Wainwright added: “I also wish Adonis all the best. I met him (at the WBC annual convention) in Kiev and he seemed a nice guy. It always brings things further into context when you have met the person. I only just heard and hope he’s OK. Sometimes we forget how brutal the sport we love is.”
Junior welterweight – Unbeaten WBO titleholder Maurice Hooker advances two spots, from No. 7 to No. 5, with his up-from-the-canvas stoppage of unbeaten contender Alex Saucedo on Nov. 16.
Junior lightweight – Troubled former WBA titleholder Jezreel Corrales has been dropped for inactivity. Unbeaten Washington, D.C. native Lamont Roach Jr. (17-0-1, 7 KOs) enters at No. 10.
Bantamweight – Liborio Solis, who is not campaigning at junior featherweight, exists the rankings. Former junior bantamweight titleholder Carlos Cuadras, who is now campaigning at 118 pounds, enters the rankings at No. 10.
Junior flyweight – Ganigan Lopez, who is now campaigning at flyweight, exists the rankings. Former WBA title challenger Reiya Konishi (17-1, 7 KOs), of Kobe, Japan, enters the rankings at No. 10.
Strawweight – Knockout CP Freshmart advances from No. 2 to No. 1 after outpointing No. 3-contender Byron Rojas via unanimous decision to retain his WBA title. Rojas drops to No. 5. Unreated Carlos Licona won a split decision over Mark Anthony Barriga to win the vacant IBF title On Dec. 1. Barriga exists the rankings and Licona enters at No. 8.
Email Fischer at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter and IG at @dougiefischer
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