Lewis-Holyfield I: The Fight That Put Boxing Down (And Almost Out)
By: Sean Crose
People were mad for a long time. A very long time.
If it’s true that history is simply a matter of perspective, then perhaps my perspective on the notorious Holyfield-Lewis I fight, which went down twenty years ago today, is as good as any. A 27 year old, I had been a lifetime fan of boxing and loyal a fan of heavyweight king Evander Holyfield for some time. Indeed, my teenage self proclaimed long before Tyson went to jail that Holyfield would have his number when the two inevitably met. I was proven right, of course, and I still to this day argue that Holyfield would have beaten Tyson had the two met when Tyson was in his prime (let’s not forget that Iron Mike’s best days were long behind him when they fought in 96 and 97).
Fandom, however, does not always relate to clear thinking. Therefore, I felt Holyfield’s showdown with Lennox Lewis on March 13th of 1999 would be end up merely being another notch in the great Holyfield’s belt as he moved along the post-Tyson chapter of his sterling career. Although I might not have felt completely in agreement with the reporter for a reputed national magazine who claimed Lewis had a big punch and nothing much else in his arsenal, I was certainly a person of my time and place – a young man in the dial up era who couldn’t get access to the plethora of fight news that’s available today. Lewis, after all, had essentially been absent from the truly bright lights during much of the 90s. He was a decorated fighter, true, but the biggest names – Holyfield, Tyson, Foreman, and Bowe – hadn’t had a thing to do with him. Why wouldn’t I assume the pure warrior Holyfield wouldn’t walk away with a win? Because Lewis had been left out of the elite heavyweight club for a reason, that’s why.
Although I wasn’t aware of it at the time, Lewis was looked on as poison. There’s a reason it was almost the new millennium before the man truly got a crack at a premiere fighter of his day. For Lewis was not only a big heavyweight for the era, he was a big heavyweight who could actually fight. And, back then, such men were a rarity. Towering fighters like Jess Willard, Primo Carnera, Gerry Cooney and the like never seemed to be able to let their huge frames lead them to greatness. Lewis, however, was the exception. In a sense, the man was a pioneer, the individual who rang in the big man era of today’s heavyweight division.
Looking back on it all now, it’s no surprise the battle played out like it did. Holyfield had predicted a third round knockout beforehand, and, although he didn’t get the KO, he certainly did very well in the third. Lewis, however, had dominated the first two rounds. The fourth was close, but Lewis hurt his man in the fifth. “Right now,” HBO’s Larry Merchant said at the end of the round, “Evander Holyfield looks like an old fighter.” By the end of the sixth, Lewis was cockily walking about the ring with his hands at his sides. What’s more, Lewis simply beat his man up in the seventh. Holyfield performed better in the eighth. Lewis, however, set the tempo in the ninth by simply letting Holyfield come to him, blocking off shots, and employing his jab. Holyfield seemed to have Lewis hurt early in the tenth, but Lewis’ jab simply seemed as if it might tell the story of the fight.
Lewis went on to dominate the 11th, then landed clean through the 12th. After the final bell, Lewis was understandably in a state of jubilation, clearly feeling he had won the match. “No questions,” said HBO’s Harold Lederman, “no doubt about it, Lennox Lewis wins the fight. The better jab, the cleaner punching, the harder right hands.” HBOs Jim Lampley also weighed in. “If the judges see fit to ignore this kind of numerical dominance,” he claimed, upon looking at the punch stats.“you would wonder how.” Needles to say, the judges scored it a draw: 115-113 for Holyfield, 116-113 for Lewis, and 115-115. “That’s a travesty,” said Lampley. Judging from the chorus of boos, the fans at Madison Square Garden agreed. What’s more, the world appeared to agree.
Back to my 27 year old self. After that weekend, I noticed things had changed in regards to boxing. Once complaints about the decision in and out of the media started to fade, I ceased to hear people around me talking about boxing much anymore. Whereas throughout the 90s, boxing discussions could be found in the media, in the workplace, at social occasions, and on the street, talk of the sweet science simply seemed to dry up, save for among a few hardcore fans. And the drought went on for years, as even big fights remained well out of the mainstream. When a rare major event, like Lewis-Tyson in 2002, or Mayweather-De La Hoya in 2007, went down, general interest couldn’t be maintained for long. I well remember the Floyd-Oscar bout being referred to as the “last” major boxing match.
It wasn’t until recently – and I mean very recently – that I started to feel that boxing might be beginning to regain wide cultural acceptance. And, to be sure, the sport appears to once again be in a healthy state. A word to the wise, however: most sport fans might only take so much of the kind of garbage we boxing nuts endure on a regular basis. That’s something worth keeping in mind the next time an outrageous score is read live on national television.
More Boxing History
Deontay Wilder: “Fury Did Not Want To Fight Me”
By: Sean Crose
“We knew Fury wasn’t gonna take this fight,” so said WBC heavyweight champ Deontay Wilder on Gerry Cooney and Randy Gordon’s Sirius XM show. “You know,” he continued, “we got to a certain point in time when they were stalling about signing the contract that was already set a week ago. When he was stalling from signing that, we knew something was wrong. We knew it was the problem where Frank (Frank Warren, Fury’s promoter) wasn’t answering his phone anymore. You know it wasn’t no reason for him not to answer. We knew something was up.”
With those words, the undefeated power puncher from Alabama gave his take on “the fight that wasn’t” – a highly anticipated rematch between himself and Tyson Fury, which was widely expected to go down this spring. The first Wilder-Fury battle, which occurred in December and ended in a controversial draw, left fans wanting more, in no small part because Fury went down – then got up, from a ferocious Wilder shot in the 12th and final round. Fury, however, surprised the fight world recently by aligning with promoter Bob Arum and ESPN, a move which arguably put him directly at odds with Wilder, and Al Haymon, who acts as Wilder’s adviser.
The fact that Fury’s decision was announced around the time fans and analysts were expecting word of a Wilder rematch only added to the shock factor. “You know nothing was wrong with the contract,” said Wilder, “that everything was good. But Fury did not want to fight me. Fury signed the ESPN deal to run away from me. You can’t go nowhere. Well, where he gonna go? He’s not a champion. He didn’t win the fight.” Fury, of course, has his own take on things (it’s doubtful he’d even say he didn’t want a rematch with Wilder). The fighter known as The Bronze Bomber admitted that team Fury made him an offer – but it wasn’t the kind of offer he’d be willing to take.
According to Wilder, team Fury was eager to capitalize on the fact that Wilder had admitted he was a “free agent,” which essentially meant Wilder could fight on any network, including ESPN. “That’s where everything went crazy,” Wilder said. “We got a lot of deals on the table. But yeah. They (team Fury) went to four fights or whatever.” In other words, Wilder claimed team Fury wanted Wilder to sign a four fight contract with ESPN before agreeing to a rematch.
WBC: Wilder-Fury II “Not Happening Next”
By: Sean Crose
“BREAKING NEWS: @BronzeBomber vs @Tyson_Fury is officially not happening next. The @WBCBoxing has received communications as our process and while Wilder confirmed its willingness to fight the rematch, Fury will take on another fight with expectations to do rematch at a later date.”
With the above awkwardly worded tweet, the World Boxing Council essentially let the world know on Tuesday that the much anticipated heavyweight title rematch between Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury will not be happening – at least not for the time being. Although obviously disappointing for many fans, Tuesday’s news came as no surprise. For Fury signed up with Bob Arum’s Top Rank Promotions last week, politicizing the chance of a second go with Wilder (Wilder is aligned with competitor Al Haymon).
“You sorry muthafucka,” Wilder tweeted at Fury Tuesday afternoon. “We knew you only said this (a previous tweet where Fury claimed he would fight anyone) because you knew you wasn’t fighting me next. #CloutChaser you requested a warm-up fight first I don’t blame you tho, I probably would too if I saw my brains splashed all over the canvas. #Timberrr #Bih #RunHoeRun #NoSmokeWanted”
Fury, of course, had his own ready response for Wilder.
“Get your self a bit more well known in America first kid & then I’ll give you another chance.!,” the Englishman tweeted. “I already beat you & the world knows it & so do you must be hard for you that a British fighter has taken over the USA watch me whippppp #ONLYINAMERICA @espn.” In truth, an announcement of a rematch was expected until Fury teamed up with Arum. Now the 27-0-1 fighter will have his fights broadcast by ESPN while the 40-0-1 Wilder’s fight’s will most likely be aired on Showtime or Fox, which works with Haymon.
The first fight between the two men went down in California last December. Fury, who was returning to a heavyweight championship fight for the first time since stunning Wladimir Klitschko in 2015, boxed masterfully while champion Wilder spent much of the fight in hot pursuit. The biggest moment in the bout, however, came when Wilder dropped Fury with a thunderous shot in the 12th and final round. To the shock of many, however, Fury got up and finished the round. The fight was ultimately ruled a draw. The WBC demanded that Fury and Wilder express their intentions by midweek this week, as a rematch was supposedly in the works.
As things stand, Team Fury argues that their fighter will engage in a fight this spring before moving on to challenge Wilder again in the autumn.
Frank Warren’s Press Conference Notes
By: Oliver McManus
In front of a convened press pack at the BT headquarters in London, Frank Warren held an hour long press conference on Monday to discuss the forthcoming plans for his promotional stable. We take a look at the key announcements and what they could mean.
Tyson Fury signing a co-promotional deal with Top Rank came as the headline announcement and, indeed, the most surprising. The deal, worth a reported £16million per fight, is a multi-year arrangement that will see him continue his working relationship with Warren whilst putting him in a prime position for a Stateside splash. Set for three fights throughout 2019, just one of those bouts will be on home soil with the remaining two set to be headlining ESPN cards.
The agreement is one that you can’t criticise Fury for taking, the money, opportunities and exposure afforded to him as a result are clear to see but what does mean is that, as with Anthony Joshua, another great heavyweight is off to conquer the American market. Furthermore what with Matchroom’s relationship with DAZN and that of Deontay Wilder with Showtime, the egg-shell nature of the heavyweight love triangle just became even more fragile.
That being said the key quintuplet of Warren, Fury, Wilder, Arum and Shelly Finkel all seem convinced that this new agreement shouldn’t be seen as a stumbling block in any negotiations and, rather, could make talks even easier. For that we’ll have to wait and see. What we do know, however, is that The Gypsy King is moving on over to America to play with the big boys.
Following on from that there was news that Nicola Adams had been forced out of her world title challenge to Arely Mucinio – scheduled for International Women’s Day – due to an injury obtained whilst training. The bout will be rescheduled for later in the year. This, combined with the cancellation of February 23rd’s show, saw a change to the makeup of that Royal Albert Hall card. Principally was the fact Anthony Yarde’s bout against Travis Reeves now finds itself taking place on March 8th.
Despite the repeated claims of Warren at the conference, Anthony Yarde is neither ranked #1 nor the mandatory challenger to, WBO champion, Sergey Kovalev with the unbeaten prospect slotting in at #2. The imperious physique of Yarde has seen him amass a record of 17 wins, 16 via knockout, without defeat but the opponents en route have been more than questionable. Tony Averlant, Dariusz Sek and Walter Sequeira are the trio of opponents to step into the ring with Yarde throughout 2018.
Reeves, then, is seen as a step up by way of the fact he fought, former European Champion, Karo Murat in the early stages of last year but this is another fight in which Yarde should find himself unrivalled.
With Yarde off the Leicester card, rescheduled for March 23rd, that bill will now be headlined by Sam Bowen’s maiden British title defense. The super featherweight has been slated to defend against Ronnie Clark on two occasions but both times the fight has been kiboshed owing to a Clark injury. It is believed Warren initially tried to get Craig Evans brought in as a replacement but the lightweight, WBO European champion, didn’t get the all clear from the British Boxing Board of Control. Ryan Wheeler was then approved for a shot at the title but, as of publishing, no opponent has been confirmed for the new date.
Sam Maxwell will contest his first title on the show when he faces Kelvin Dotel for the WBO European Super Lightweight title. Maxwell, a former GB Lionhearts representative in the World Series of Boxing, has made an impressive start to life in the pro ranks with ten emphatic victories. Nathan Gorman continues to be touted for a prospect-vs-prospect fight with Daniel Dubois and he’ll kick off 2019 in Leicester looking to be build an appetite for that particular fight.
The final announcement regarded the future of Billy Joe Saunders with the WBOs 160lbs mandatory challenger opting to step up in weight and contest the vacant super-middleweight title. That title became vacant when Gilberto Ramirez opted to step up to 175lbs, in doing so dethroning Yarde at the top of the rankings, although the Mexican has subsequently claimed he did not step away from the belt.
Nonetheless, as it stands, Saunders will be up against Shefat Isufi – a 29 year old German resident – who is the organization’s Intercontinental champion. Looking at his record won’t fill you with much optimism as to his ability – opponent after opponent littered with losses – and nor will watching any footage of his fights. I don’t think anyone is expecting anything but an easy night of work for Saunders.
Rather ironically the contest is taking place at Wembley Arena on April 13th which makes it 1-0 to Warren on delivering “big fights” at Wembley in 2019.
Wilder Reacts to Fury’s Top Rank Deal
By: Michael Kane
The boxing world was expecting the rematch between Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury to be sealed this week. Negotiations have taken a twist it would seem after the announcement that Tyson Fury has signed a co promotion deal with Top Rank.
The general feeling is that negotiations will prove difficult with Top Rank aligned to ESPN and Wilder being represented by Al Haymon who runs PBC. With the last fight being shown on Showtime, there was an expectation that the rematch would be shown on Showtime too.
However, that may not be the case as Wilder told ThaBoxingVoice: “If anything, it makes the fight better, it don’t hurt the fight.
“If anything it hurts the other competition with Joshua, that Fury’s signing with ESPN. He [Joshua] is with DAZN, it don’t really affect me.
“At the end of the day, if he wants to fight, then he’s gonna fight. If not, then we’ll move onto the next one. We have enough guys in the stable that we can fight for the next two years.
“When it comes to America, there’s only one American that’s dominant and that’s Deontay Wilder.”
Despite being represented by Al Haymon, Wilder claims he doesn’t have any deals specifically with PBC, Showtime or FOX.
When asked if he would fight on ESPN, Wilder replied, “Of course, it’s always where the money is, is gonna be right.
“I’m a free agent, I can fight anyone, I don’t necessarily have to fight on the networks that I’m on, I can fight anywhere.
“The rematch is still on the table for him if he wants it. If he don’t may God be with him.”
In the event the rematch doesn’t take place on the rumored date of May 18th, Wilder is still aiming to fight on that date.
Wilder stated: “We’re doing our own thing, we’re still gonna have that date. Who knows who it’s gonna be?
“It could be [Dominic] Breazeale, it could be [Adam] Kownacki, it could be [Dillian] Whyte.”
Top Rank supremo Bob Arum believes Fury now has a better negotiation stance than he did last week. The WBC ordered a 60-40 split in favor of their champ Deontay Wilder and even if Top Rank win the purse bid, Wilder will earn more.
Speaking with BoxingScene.com Arum said, “(the purse bid) doesn’t factor into it at all, the WBC wants the fight to happen. Good luck to them but we don’t need them to tell us how the purses should be. That’ll come with reasonable negotiations.”
Arum also distanced himself from the rumored May 18th date at the Barclays Centre in Brooklyn which seemed set to be announced only days ago.
“Well, there’s no magic in May 18th,” Arum said. “That’s just one day of the year. When it comes time to pick a date for the fight, as long as the fight happen, what difference does it make if it’s in June? Or where it is. I mean, obviously, Las Vegas would be a good place for it and there are other good places for it. But, I mean, that’s to be decided when the time comes.”
Tyson Fury and the Heavyweight Alliances
By: Hans Themistode
When news broke of Tyson Fury’s (27-0-1, 19 KOs) mega deal with Top Rank worth 80 million dollars over his next five fights it sent the boxing in a frenzy. Reason being is that it was so unexpected.
Fury, who is the Lineal Heavyweight champion was thought to be in deep discussion with WBC champion Deontay Wilder (40-0-1, 39 KOs) for a rematch of their 2018, December showdown. That contest saw two knockdowns and plenty of back and forth action. The match would ultimately end in a highly debated draw which had the fans wanting to see them jump back in the ring against each other once again. News of this new deal complicates matters to a certain degree.
Photo Credit: Tyson Fury Twitter Account
Deontay Wilder, Tyson Fury and current unified champion Anthony Joshua (22-0, 21 KOs) are the very best in the Heavyweight division. All three fighters are also affiliated with three separate networks that don’t exactly play nice with one another.
Wilder is associated with Al Haymon and Premier Boxing Champions, Joshua is aligned with Eddie Hearn and DAZN while Fury is now apart of Bob Arum and ESPN.
The news of Fury’s deal is even more perplexing to fans when you consider that Top Rank has no big name Heavyweights that can truly challenge him. Wilder has Dominic Breazeale, Luis Ortiz, the undefeated Adam Kownacki and several others who can provide fun entertaining matchups for the fans. Joshua has quite a few interesting dance partners as well. Dereck Chisora, Jarrell Miller (whom he is fighting June 1st) former unified Cruiserweight champion Oleksandr Usyk, a rematch with Dillian Whyte and plenty of others can provide a stiff test for Joshua.
Fury on the other hand has a considerably shorter list. In fact it is non existent. One time title challenger Bryant Jennings would represent the best challenge to Fury from the Top Rank stable. With all due respect to Jennings but he fails to move the needle as a true title contender.
Deontay Wilder is a proven knockout artist with a ton of charisma. Anthony Joshua also has a penchant for knockouts but he also has major drawing power as well. Tyson Fury possesses all of those traits and more. He is must see television. Furys deal with Top Rank and ESPN should be applauded as he has seemingly set his family up financially for years to come but the bottom line is that fans want to see him take on the best that the division has to offer.
Both Fury and his new promoter Bob Arum have assured the public that this new alliance will not do away with their plans of hammering out a deal with Wilder to secure their much anticipated rematch. Let’s all hope that these words ring true.
If all three of these networks can somehow work together then fans can finally get there long awaited question answered.
Just who is the king of the Heavyweight division?
Fury Catches Fight World By Surprise, Aligns With Top Rank Promotions
By: Sean Crose
In a move that has clearly taken the boxing world by surprise, Tyson Fury, the man many still consider to be the lineal heavyweight champion of the world, has signed on with Bob Arum’s Top Rank Promotions. What makes this decision by Fury particularly surprising is the fact that discussions for a rematch between he and WBC heavyweight titlist Deontay Wilder, who Fury fought to a wild draw last December, have reportedly been going quite well. Now that Fury has aligned himself with Arum, who arguably is the arch rival of Wilder adviser Al Haymon, the rematch situation appears cloudy – at least for now. Also curious is the fact that Arum has no other top heavyweight in his stable.
“Tyson Fury, one of the world’s most dynamic and popular heavyweight boxers, and Hall of Fame promoter Frank Warren are joining forces with Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum’s Top Rank,” ESPN claimed in a press release. “The agreement will mean that Fury will be a headline part of the boxing lineup under the historic, long-termTop Rank on ESPN relationship.” Fury’s management company, Mack the Knife, or MTK as it’s more commonly known, also weighed in on the matter. “After intense negotiations between MTK Global, Queensberry Promotions, Top Rank and ESPN,” the company claimed, “Fury’s future fights will be co-promoted across BT Sports in the UK and ESPN networks and ESPN+ after landmark agreement was penned by Top Rank and Queensberry Promotions.”
Fury, an enormous, colorful Englishman, has stunned the fight world before. At the end of 2015, he bested long standing champion Wladimir Klitshcko in Germany, to wrest the heavyweight crown off the Ukranian’s head. It was a fight few felt Fury could win, but his awkward, frustrating style clearly baffled Kltischko and ended up carrying the day the for the outspoken contender. After his great victory, however, Fury delved into a world of booze, drugs, food, and depression…only to finally emerge after two years and two tuneup fights to face the hard hitting American, Wilder. Even in the Wilder fight, Fury managed to stun people. He was dropped by a thunderous shot in the final round…only to get up off the mat and to close the bout in competitive fashion.
With this latest news dropping, Fury once again has fans and analysts scratching their collective heads. Top Rank, however, is an esteemed, and powerful promotional outlet, helmed by the iconic, controversial, and wildly successful Arum, so it’s not as if Fury has gone off and signed with an obscure entity. Time will tell the tale.
WBC Orders Wilder-Fury Rematch
By: Sean Crose
As expected, the World Boxing Council is ordering a rematch between it’s heavyweight champion, Deontay Wilder, and Tyson Fury, the man he fought to a draw last December in what is already being considered a classic bout. Per the WBC:
“Consistent with the WBC Board of governors voting regarding the direct rematch between WBC champion Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury, the WBC is hereby notifying both camps that the free negotiation period is opened and if there is no agreement between the parties a purse bid will be conducted by the WBC on Tuesday February 5th .
The WBC has modified the 70-30 split and has confirmed a 60-40 split in favor of the champion Wilder considering the market value of Fury.”
The announcement, which arrived on Thursday, came as little surprise to the fight world. In fact, talks between the two camps are already reported to have begun. The first battle between the two undefeated giants was truly a contest of skill and will, as the slippery Fury was able to avoid the hard hitting Wilder for large portions of the fight – until being dropped twice. The second knockdown, which occurred in the last round, say Fury flat on his back, seemingly done. Somehow, however, the enormous Englishman was able to get back on his feet and finish the round strongly.
The fight, of course, ended up being a draw, with many – though certainly not all – feeling that Fury had done enough to win. The controversy, coupled with the wild knockdown and recovery of Fury after over half an hour of the two fighters essentially playing cat and mouse, almost begged for a rematch. To make things even more enticing, the two larger than life heavyweights, who stand between six and a half and seven feet tall, have personalities to match their statures.
Lost in all of this is heavyweight multi-titlist Anthony Joshua, who, like Fury, is an undefeated Englishman. A staggeringly huge draw in his native country, Joshua has yet to fight in America, where the second Wilder-Fury fight, if it comes to fruition, may likely take place. Although Joshua holds most of the major titles in the division, Wilder’s WBC belt is arguably the most well regarded and well known. On top of that, Fury has a claim to the lineal championship due to the fact that he bested long reigning heavyweight king Wladimir Klitshcko in 2015, making Fury “the man who beat the man.” In other words, there’s no undisputed ruler of the heavyweights at the moment, which makes the once bland weight category more intriguing and interesting than it has been in perhaps a generation.
Boxing’s Hard Problem: Observations from the Wilder Fury Fight
By: Rahat Haque
Any new fan who becomes interested in boxing learns quickly that the sport is immensely subjective in nature, and that judges take a lot of heat regularly for controversial decisions. It makes sense then, to score every fight, as you would want a basis of comparison in case there was public outrage over a decision. Learning the art of scoring and then practicing it via judging fights gives the viewer a certain weight of expert authority compared to the fan who does not partake in judging. However, it does not address the root cause of controversial decisions, which arise because of varied opinions between judges and fans alike. It does not address the issues of subjectivity, which permeates the sport. As long as there is boxing, there will be subjectivity.
One should try to be a human compubox, keeping a mental tab of punch count. But no one ever gives you straight answer on how to assign weightage to the quality of punches. Should a light jab be worth ¼ of a more thudding power shot such as a hook or cross? Should a cleanly landed punch be worth twice than that of a punch landed half landed and half absorbed the glove? We do not have such conversations in boxing, that is, the quantifying of something that is supposedly subjective. But without a quantitative framework, we cannot continue to act as if there is a right or wrong score. This is a real problem of boxing which never is discussed, as it exposes the sweet science’s lack of scientific rigor when it comes to assessing performance. When scoring fights, one should also consider the three other main factors in scoring, namely: aggression, ring generalship and defense. But again, it is absolutely shocking how certain media personalities will simply say that judges favor one over another, when in reality, they are supposed to take all three into account! One can even hear Max Kellerman say, that the way to score a round is to assess “who would you rather be in that round”. It is as subjective a criterion as there could be! It is madness.
Let us turn our attention to the fight that took place on Dec 1st. Deontay Wilder vs Tyson Fury. I scored it 114-112 for Wilder. Does that shock you? Well, if you did not score the fight, and 99% of the viewers do not profess to have any method which they use to score, then you must forfeit your right to be shocked. In a round by round sport, it is critical that one assesses a winner for every round. If one do not participate in this process, then they check in their right to be shocked at another scorecard at the door. If one did score the fight, then the next logical question arises: what was the criteria of scoring? To which, there is no universal agreement.
I gave rounds 1, 2, 4,9,11 and 12 to Wilder. Rounds 9 and 12 of course were 10-8 rounds because of the knockdowns. Hence, my score was 114-112 to The Bronze Bomber Deontay Wilder. I thought I would find some commonality with my scoresheet and Alejandro Rochin’s scoresheet, the only judge who had it for Wilder. While he gave all first four rounds to Wilder, to my surprise, he gave rounds 8 and 9 to Wilder as well! This is not the first such case either where a judge who scored it the same as me had different rounds for different fighters. This demonstrates the subjectivity that exists even amongst judges who have the same result.
As long as we have the three judge panel, we will continue to have decisions that people will disagree with. Whether it is a classified a robbery or not depends the percentage of people who did not agree with the decision. What this also means is that there are “robberies” every weekend in the perspective of those who are in the less popular cohort of a decision. The solution to all this, if there needs to be one, is another matter. Perhaps I will write a piece in the future about how to reduce the subjectivity in scores in boxing, thus ensuring a more accepted and trusted method agreed upon by all. However, let us assume for a minute that nothing is going to change. What is the best scenario in such a case? If things continue the way they are now, one hopes that every fan embraces the subjectivity of the score and takes it upon themselves to score the fight. Is that what is happening now? No. Does the media play a role in swaying the fans one way or another? Yes, most vehemently!
The boxing media despite being in the same ecosystem as everyone other stakeholder of the sport, seem to think that they are beyond subjectivity. We can argue about our scorecards, if you also happened to score the fight. Like with the Wilder-Fury fight, we can go back and forth as to why scored a certain round for a certain fighter. But to say that one party is somehow committing a grave sin if they do not agree with another is unacceptable! Yet, that is precisely what the Showtime commentators did for the whole fight. They all seemed to be in unison over Fury’s success, which is all right. But to then impose their own subjectivity to the whole world as the real McCoy was not right. It surely swayed many fans who might have been otherwise on the fence. Many of those fans then surely parroted what they heard on their TV screens, thus enhancing the drumbeat of the robbery narrative. The Wilder Fury fight was only one example of course. This will continue to happen unless we all first address the hard problem of boxing, the subjectivity of scoring.
© Roey Haque
Better Chance of Joshua Fighting Fury than Wilder According to Hearn
By: Michael Kane
According to Matchroom supremo, Eddie Hearn, there is more chance of Anthony Joshua fighting Tyson Fury at Wembley in April than a fight against WBC champ Deontay Wilder.
It would seem tentative negotiations are taking place between all the interested parties, with a match up between any two of the three likely to be welcomed by fans.
As it stands the most likely fight to take place is a rematch between Wilder and Fury, with Las Vegas or New York appearing to be the favoured locations, disappointing the UK fans who had hoped for the rematch in one of the UK’s football stadiums.
Hearn however has said both Wilder and Fury have been offered the fight with Joshua.
“Well, to say Deontay Wilder’s camp has gone quiet, that’s saying it lightly,” Hearn told Sky Sports News. “Probably up to six unanswered emails now.
“In fact, I sent one a couple of days ago, saying I just want to check these haven’t gone into your Spam items.
“It is frustrating because you walk out there on the street ‘When’s he going to fight Deontay Wilder?’ It’s like, whenever they want it, but sometimes the public want to believe a fighter on Instagram all day.
“If they wanted the fight, they would talk to me. They’re not even talking to us. We’ve made offers, we’ve made percentage splits. Everything we can do, to try and make that fight.
“I think right now, there’s more chance of fighting Tyson Fury. There’s a man that knows he can have this fight, if he wants it. I’ve spoken to him. He knows if he wants to fight Joshua, it can happen April 13.”
Dillian Whyte and Jarrell Miller are two other names that have been mentioned to face Joshua, it appears Whyte wasn’t happy with the deal offered. There has also been rumours that Anthony Joshua may not appear at Wembley in April but instead make a debut in America, most likely against Miller.
“There’s Dillian Whyte, there’s Jarrell Miller, but Joshua is back from holiday, he’s started training now, he wants to know,” said Hearn. “We’ve probably got 10 days to two weeks before we officially have to pull the trigger.
“All those guys that I’ve mentioned, particularly Wilder, Fury and Whyte – that fight is there for them.
“What I can tell you is, Dillian, I was with him this morning. He wants a great deal to fight Joshua. I don’t blame him for that. He’s been through a hard road to get where he is to No 1.
“He can wait and become mandatory at some point, but if Dillian Whyte wants to fight for the world heavyweight title on April 13, there is the opportunity for him to do so, right now.
“It’s almost like a race against time, particularly for those three, Wilder, Fury and Whyte. They’ve all had offers, they could all sign now today, and get the fight. But do they want the fight? I believe the offers, some have been made, some are about to be improved, it’s put up or shut up time.
“You want to win these four title belts, you believe you can beat Anthony Joshua, then let’s go, but everyone wants to negotiate, and rightly so.”
Will We See Anthony Joshua Take on Tyson Fury?
By: Michael Kane
Will we see Anthony Joshua take on Tyson Fury this year? Both fighters are with different promoters and different UK PPV channels so trying to put the fight together could prove problematic.
Fury’s promoter, Frank Warren has suggested that both Sky and BT Sport could show the fight as a PPV.
“In the UK. You could go to Cardiff, they have a roof on the stadium. That should be summer, outdoors at a football stadium and would sell it out 10 times over,” Warren told the BBC recently.
“It would grip the country – one of those events that transcends the back pages. Everybody would be talking about it.
“It will be a pay-per-view event because the fighters will want to maximise their income, you can understand that. It’s very easy (to make) this fight (if it’s 50-50).
“When I say 50/50, let Sky and BT Sport Box Office both have it. Take all the obstacles away like they do in the States. The fans want the fight.
“If both TV channels are showing it, that means the boxers’ incomes are going to be more. It’s a no-brainer.”
However an other obstacle is the rivalry between Warren and Joshua’s promoters, father and son team, Barry and Eddie Hearn who run Matchroom Boxing.
Warren continues, “Anthony Joshua is a business. He makes money. It doesn’t matter who he fights, they can fill up Wembley.
“They (Matchroom Boxing) have a seven year business plan, which is filling up Wembley twice a year and it’s a cash cow. I get that! Barry (Hearn) is an accountant by trade. That’s not what the fans want!”
There is no doubt that UK fans would love an all British clash between the two heavyweights however as always politics may stop the fight from ever happening.
With an April date already booked by Matchroom Boxing for Wembley, it’s unlikely we will see Joshua take on either Deontay Wilder or Tyson Fury. In fact we might not even see Joshua appearing at Wembley, with reports now suggesting a fight with Jarrell Miller will take place Stateside to introduce Joshua to the U.S market.
This could leave a Wilder – Fury 2 fight to take place and once again overshadow Anthony Joshua who has been the beacon for British and Heavyweight boxing in recent years.
Tyson Fury to Donate Purse to Homeless and Poor
By: Michael Kane
Tyson Fury has been in some big fights over the years, none more so than his fight with mental health issues including depression and suicidal thoughts.
His mental health battles have made him determined to help other people who suffer from mental health issues and also to help the homeless. He has told the Irish Mirror that he will be donating his purse from Saturday’s bout against Deontay Wilder, a reported £8 million.
Fury may not have got the result he wanted in Saturday after his fight was scored a draw with Wilder however it seems he has a bigger picture of what he wants to do with his life and money.
“I’m going to give it to the poor and I’m going to build homes for the homeless,” Fury said. “I don’t really have much use for it, I’m not interested in becoming a millionaire or a billionaire. I’m a boxer not a businessman and I’ll probably go down the same route as every other boxer — skint at the end of it all. You can’t take it with you so I might as well do something with it and help out people who can’t help themselves.”
He continued, “When I go home I’m going to build some homes for the homeless and set up some funds for drug addicts and alcoholics.
“I was always going to do it but being here (in California) gives me that extra push to go and do it even more.
“It has really opened my eyes to a lot of things and I’m leaving as a better person.
“There are a lot of homeless people on the streets here, more than I’ve ever seen ever in my life. I’m staying in downtown LA but if you go five minutes down the road there’s like – I don’t know- thousands of homeless people.
“I’m just an outsider with an opinion buy it’s a situation that is happening all over the world, especially in the UK as well.”
Fury also wants his kids to have to earn their money the same way he had to graft for his.
“I believe all kids should make their own money in life because if they don’t, they won’t appreciate it,” Fury said.
“It’s easy to spend someone else’s money and the money I’ve earned is practically blood money. My kids have to make their own living and make their own way in life; they won’t be living off my name or reputation because that’s too easy a route,” he continued. “You see many of these rich people’s kids doing nothing because they had it too easy. I never had it easy, I had to work for whatever I got. I was working from very young, everything I wanted in life I had to work for.”
Winners and Losers From a Wild and Furious Weekend
By: Kirk Jackson
A legendary late, great trainer informed the public six years ago about the greatness awaiting the heavyweight division.
Before his untimely passing in 2012, Emanuel Steward spoke highly of two rising heavyweights geared to take over the division once Wladimir Klitsckho’s reign ended.
“There’s one kid in America no one speaks of and that’s Deontay Wilder. He was on the Olympic Team (United States) he lost but he’s a big kid,” said Steward.
“I’ve had the fortune of; he has trained with me before, he’s a big kid too, bigger than Wladimir (Klitschko) and he’s got good speed and power and best talent… and best talent is going to be Tyson (Fury) and Deontay Wilder.”
This past weekend exhibited the rare instance in which the main event matched or arguably exceeded the pre-fight hype building over the course of several months.
The WBC heavyweight champion Wilder 40-0-1 (39 KO’s) battled the Lineal heavyweight champion Fury 27-0-1(17 KO’s) over the course of 12 exhilarating rounds.
Although the bout ended in a draw, there were winners and losers for this event. We’ll start with the losers.
— SHOWTIME Boxing (@ShowtimeBoxing) December 2, 2018
It’s hard to be considered a loser when you’re the unified champion of the division, holding three of the coveted world titles and undefeated. But for Joshua, who wasn’t in attendance due to business obligations, appears to be an afterthought amidst the excitement and controversy stemming from the past weekend’s event.
The perception amongst many boxing circles suggests Joshua or his team is avoided possible unification with Wilder for quite some time now. These very same circles of people may possibly add Fury to the list for Joshua.
Fury spoke his piece on the potential of facing Joshua in the near future post-fight with Wilder.
“That’s me and Joshua, everybody wants it and the only people who don’t seem to be his team,” said Fury. “We are the two best heavyweights in the world right now. I am No. 1 and he (Wilder) is No 2. We had the balls to put it all on the line.”
Now for the winners. The first obvious choice is the Gypsy King.
Battling depression, ballooning up to 400 lbs., over two year lay-off, battling substance abuse, Fury’s struggles are well recognized at this point.
“I think it’s all been well documented. But it didn’t get me. I found a way. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, more determined. My story has got more pain in it now. I believe that rain has passed and the sun is shining brightly,” said Fury about his struggles and comeback.
For anybody who’s ever been knocked down in life, that was for you. You can get up too! #andstill lineal heavyweight champion of the world
— TYSON FURY (@Tyson_Fury) December 3, 2018
Realistically, Fury entered this situation as a win-win opportunity. Some of us within the boxing community believed in Fury’s boxing ability and mental capacity to come back and defy the odds – in which he did successfully.
If he were to lose, the narrative casted was he supposed to be destroyed by the knock-out artist Wilder and there would be no shame in losing.
Contrary to Showtime commentary, Skysports commentary and other observers, Wilder is the winner because he walks away with his title.
“I think, with the two knockdowns, I definitely won the fight,” Wilder said after the bout.“We poured our hearts out tonight. We both were warriors. We both went hand to hand. But, with those two drops, I feel like I won the fight. I don’t think he had control of the fight. I wasn’t hurt. I came out slow. I rushed my punches.”
We must remember, rounds are scored subjectively and judges do not have access to punch stats. While analyzing the punch stats, cumulatively and round-by-round, Fury has the edge regarding accuracy and efficiency, but the statistics are closer than you would think and Wilder was the aggressor.
Kevin Iole from YahooSports.com, scoring the fight 113-113, provided excellent analysis of the fight:
“I thought Fury was clearly the better boxer, but he wasn’t active enough. And while I vehemently disagree that Wilder won the first four rounds, I also disagree with the contention I’ve heard that Fury dominated those rounds. There wasn’t a lot to pick from in a lot of rounds.”
Either way, there’s a compelling case for a rematch.
Ultimately, the fans won Saturday night as well. No matter the result of the fight, it was highly entertaining.
The walk-out introductions for each fighter was captivating, with Fury walking out to a mixture of three songs and capturing the support and adoration of the United Kingdom contingent travelling to U.S. soil to support their fighter.
The pitch-black setting for Wilder, walking out to large bombastic sounds and accompanied by budding Hip-hop star Jay Rock, performing his popular song “Win.” The fitted golden mask/crown was a nice touch as well.
Each fighter throughout the course of the event whether it was the walkout entrance, post-fight interviews and most important through-out the course of the fight exhibited their showmanship as fighters and displayed their contrasting, unique personalities.
How often do we get to see large, stylistically awkward, elite level fighters? They’re mirror images of each other regarding uniqueness, but obviously their styles and stories are different.
But when blended together the equation is pure entertainment. The ultimate winner was the sport of boxing.
Fury vs. Wilder: A Tale of Skill vs. Power
By: Daniel Smith
Fury’s proficient boxing skills should’ve earned the victory, while Wilder’s power was his saving grace that grabbed the draw.
Last night’s Fury vs. Wilder fight was like a clash from the classic exhilarating days of heavyweight boxing. The thunderous blood-pumping adrenaline that whammed and thrummed throughout the rip-roaring crowd. The sheer electricity and enthralment that speared through the arena like lightning bolts as the two heavyweight giants danced, jabbed and salted one-another with steely shots for twelve wonderful rounds of professional boxing.
From the announcement back in August, throughout the build-up to the fight itself; this match had everything all classic bouts should possess. The story of a lineal champion struggling with issues relating to mental health and a return to the sport that defied the odds.
Return for title contention:
Fury was the underdog in this fight, with nearly three years on the couch and a 250lb ballooning. Not many envisioned he could actually present as a worthy opponent and possibly beat the wrecking-ball knockout merchant that is, WBC heavyweight champion, Wilder.
Boxer vs. Brawler:
Pugilsitc intelligence vs. raw, brutal strength – what or who prevails? A clear example of the sweet science against power and barbaric scrapping.
The lineal heavyweight champion proved he’s still the slick and hybrid-style boxer he always was, as he schooled the champ for ten of the twelve rounds, despite opinions that Wilder would blast him out of the square jungle by round 6.
After having his face speared with solid jabs, Wilder puts Fury on the canvass with a beefy right in round 9 and briefly unconscious in 12 with a monsterous right and brass-knuckled left.
Off the canvass to battle some more:
Fury, clearly ahead on points until a chilling five second knockout in 12, somehow manages to hurl himself to his feet before dishing out some more thudding jabs and a further schooling to Deontay Wilder.
The final bell clangs and a split decision is the call without too much complaining from both fighting men. A respectful embrace closes the bout as the boxing world salivates with the juicy prospect of yet another thrilling fight between Tyson ‘the gypsy king’ Fury and Deontay ‘the bronze bomber wilder’.
Here’s to the REMATCH in 2019.
Wilder-Fury And The Continued Heavyweight Resurgence
By Jake Donovan
Even without a winner being produced in the memorable heavyweight title fight showdown between Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury, or going 12 more months without Wilder and Anthony Joshua colliding in the ring, 2018 will still go down as a year that saw restoration in
the sport’s most storied division.
That’s a very good thing for boxing.
It wasn’t a year where Wilder and Joshua challenged each other—at least where it matters—but where both faced serious challenges and manage to persevere in the face of adversity.
Photo Credit: Showtime Boxing Twitter Account
Some 17 months after recovering from the lone knockdown of his career to knock out former World champion Wladimir Klitschko in their 2017 Fight of the Year, Joshua found himself in a tough assignment versus Alexander Povetkin this past September at Wembley Stadium in London, England.
The official scores had Joshua ahead through six rounds, but even many among the partisan crowd of 80,00 in attendance along with those watching live via Sky Sports or DAZN saw the unbeaten, unified champ having a difficult time keeping the former titlist at bay while fighting through the sight of his own blood. It changed in a hurry, thanks to a pair of knockdowns in round seven putting away Povetkin for good.
It was a far more memorable night at the office than was his unification clash versus New Zealand’s Joseph Parker earlier in the year. The fight itself turned out to be a disappointment, especially when playing to the backdrop of a unification bout between unbeaten titlists coming in front of 78,000 in attendance.
The threat of a war never quite broke out, as Joshua was content to box his way to victory in going the distance for the first time in his pro career. The feat came four weeks after Wilder would stare down adversity for the first of two times in 2018, rallying from early struggles versus Luis Ortiz to put away the previously unbeaten Cuban southpaw in the 10th round of a terrific heavyweight battle worthy of Fight of the Year consideration.
The feat was far more definitive—and considerably less controversial—than his relying upon a pair of knockdowns and suspect scoring to escape with a 12-round draw in Saturday’s instant classic versus Fury at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, Calif. Most had Fury winning, but the unbeaten 6’9” Brit was also forced to rise from adversity—literally, as he twice peeled himself off the canvas following hard knockdowns in delivering arguably the best performance of his wild career.
That Fury survived the 12th and final round simply should’ve been enough to give him the win and Wilder’s alphabet title along with it. Only one judge saw it that way, with Robert Tapper scoring the contest 114-112 for the former unified heavyweight champion.
Mexico’s Alejandro Rochin lived down to every negative stereotype heaped upon the sport, disgracefully turning in a 115-111 card in favor of Wilder, including his inexplicably scoring the first four rounds for the defending titles. England’s Phil Edwards ruled the bout 113-112 to produce a stalemate—and the possibility of a rematch during the first half of 2019.
Of the four aforementioned bouts, only Joshua-Povetkin didn’t feature unbeaten heavyweights on both sides of the marquee. It’s not at all a bad exception, considering that Povetkin had only lost once in his pro career prior to his September showdown versus Joshua—that defeat coming five years prior in an Oct. ’13 points loss to Klitschko.
It’s always a letdown when we can’t get a fight between the two best boxers in the division particularly when they are both unbeaten and in their respective primes. But at least we were given the next best thing throughout 2018—a steady stream of heavyweight fights worth caring about and not even limited to the very top level.
On the heels of his first pro defeat, Parker was eager to remain in the mix and claw his way back toward the too of the divisional heap. In doing so, he agreed to yet another away game in England, his third straight. He’d only go 1-2 on his road trip, having outpointed Hughie Fury in 2017 prior to his loss to Joshua, only to suffer a second straight loss in falling short versus top contender Dillian Whyte this past July.
The win was enough to keep Whyte in the title hunt, as the UK-based heavyweight is the frontrunner to land a coveted showdown versus Joshua next April. Such a bout would give Whyte a shot at avenging the lone loss of his career, having suffered a 7th round knockout in Dec. ’15, Joshua’s final fight as a contender before blasting out Charles Martin in two rounds for his first title win four months later.
Even with the lure of a lucrative rematch, Whyte decided there was plenty of room to make at least one more statement. Rapidly approaching is a December 22 rematch with Dereck Chisora, whom he barely edged in their 12-round thriller in Dec. ’16.
If the sequel is even half as good as the original, then the clash will serve as a fitting close to what was a fantastic year for the heavyweight division. Even better, the final month of the year will figure to set the stage for two more big bouts right out the gate in 2019 in Joshua-Whyte II and Wilder-Fury II.
Given Joshua’s massive drawing power in the United Kingdom and the instant buzz that came with Saturday’s thriller between Wilder and Fury in Los Angeles, the upcoming calendar year will boast two true super fights in what has once again become the sport’s glamour division. That’s what happens when the best in the world consistently square off, even if it stops short of a promised pairing between the very best.