By Tom Donelson / Author, Member Boxing Writers Association of America
Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury fought an entertaining fight in which most pundits viewed Fury as the winner. This was not the controversial decision everyone made it out to be. Many of the rounds were close and while Fury fought a good defensive battle, most of the rounds were decided by one punch or two. The closet to dominant rounds according to Compubox numbers for Fury was the third in which he connected on 11 punches to 4 for Wilder and the tenth in which Wilder was credited with only one punch landed to Fury’s ten punches. Contrast those rounds to Wilder dominant rounds in the ninth and twelfth round in which he sent Fury down.
Dan Rafel of ESPN had the fight in favor of Wilder 114-112 and I could easily see that decision and the 113 to 113 draw was equally reasonable since this card had Fury winning 7 rounds but when you lose two rounds by 10-8, which is negative four points for those rounds. 115 to 111 card was reasonable since that judge had Fury winning 9 rounds and that is not reach either. Could you give Wilder 7 rounds as one judge in his scorecard 115-111? Yes, you could since many of these rounds were simply too close and throughout the bout Wilder was the aggressor. There is no doubt that the two knockdowns matter since on the 113-113 card, those two knockdowns matter as the judge gave two 10-8 rounds as he should have. Those two knockdowns allowed Wilder to keep his version of the titles as if Fury had not been knockdown twice, he would have won the fight.
So let not pretend this was outrageous robbery for it was a tough fight to score but the majority of pundits had Fury winning in spite of the knockdowns. I leaned toward Dan Rafel’s card and I could easily live with any of the other cards.
There was two things that came out of this fight. One is that Fury is an underestimated boxer who limited Wilder to 17% connect rate and six punches per round just as he limited Wladimir Klitschko to 4 connects for round. His mobility is surprising for someone who is 6’9” and he slipped many punches. While he never had Wilder in trouble, he did some effective counterpunches in spot but he was not consistent in landing punches. While he landed 25% of his punches compared to Wilder 17%, he only landed 84 punches and many of his power punches were hardly devastating punches. Wilder landed the two big punches of the fight and nearly ended the fight in the final round as Fury was laid out on his back but he got up. What helped Wilder with the judges was that he was the busier fighter as he threw 430 punches to 327 punches. This doesn’t mean that judges should give a fighter credit for throwing punches if they are not effective and many rounds, Wilder threw haymakers that missed their target and his jab inaccurate. Fury’s defensive skills were impressive enough to win the fight and if he didn’t get knock down, he would have prevailed.
Wilder weakness on the other hand showed up including throwing his right hand in haymaker fashion. Many of his right hands were telegraphed and avoided by Fury. His failure to set up his right hand with an ineffective jabbing hurt him. He could not set up his right hand often but twice and those two times showed what happens when he does connect. His power was his strength but his boxing skills still needs refining. Fury at times made Wilder look amateurish and wild misses with his right hand were frequent.
Should we have a rematch (?) Yes, since Wilder as a fighter needs to defeat decisively Fury in a rematch or many fans will view Wilder as a beneficiary of a bad decision. For Fury, he came close to winning a heavyweight title and should be given a second change since there was enough controversy. Hopefully they won’t make us pay 75 dollars for the privilege.
Another bout was that got no headlines was the Oleksander Gvozdyk – Adonis Stevenson in which Gvozdyk dominated from the third round as he connected on accurate punches and put the pressure on the 41 year old Stevenson. In the eleventh round, he nailed Stevenson with combination that sent Stevenson to the ground and the referee stopped the fight. Stevenson reign as light heavyweight is over and now he clings to life as he was admitted to critical care. Last report is that he is an induced coma and hopefully he will survive and recover.
Jarrett Hurd stopped a game James Welborn with a devastating body shots. Welborn jumped on Hurd and forced him to the rope at the beginning of the fourth round before he got nailed with a counter body punch that stopped Welborn in his track. Jermell Charlo challenged Hurd for his Super Welterweight belts and who knows what will happen if Jermell Charlo wins his next bout later this month.