Dougie’s Friday mailbag (final Fury feedback and heavyweight forecast)
WHERE OH WHERE WILL THE HEAVYWEIGHTS GO?
Really enjoyed your Monday Mailbag.
I still think the one judges score card in the Fury/Wilder fight should be thrown out (the 115/110 card, of course, it’s just too ridiculous)! My main concern is that after reality sets in Fury doesn’t let this robbery get in his head and set him back!
So, where do they go from here????? Do you think there will be any major heavyweight fight before the Joshua fight scheduled for April? Who will he fight in April? How about a Fury/Wilder rematch before then? I think it should be made mandatory under the circumstances within 90 days or less. As of now, I think Fury beats both Wilder & Joshua.
BUT, I have changed my mind on the Joshua/Wilder match – I think Joshua wins it. I would love to see Fury get either Teddy Atlas or Abel Sanchez for his lead trainer – he is just getting better and either one of them could bring him to his peak! Who wins these possible matchups:
- Fury/Wilder Rematch
Let us all hope that Stevenson recovers fully. He has been a good champion. Keep up the good work. I look forward to each of your mailbags. – Mike
Thanks for the kind words, Mike, and for the well wishes for Stevenson. He’s got a long, hard road ahead of him.
- I favor Fury on points in a rematch with Wilder (but I wouldn’t put a lot of money on that prediction if I were a betting man – if the Bronze Bomber proved one thing this year, it’s that he’s dangerous for every minute of every round)
- Joshua by mid-rounds stoppage in a shootout
- Joshua by close (maybe controversial) decision
- Wilder by late-rounds stoppage
I still think the one judges score card in the Fury/Wilder fight should be thrown out (the 115/110 card, of course, it’s just too ridiculous)! It’s pretty much been dismissed in the court of popular opinion.
My main concern is that after reality sets in Fury doesn’t let this robbery get in his head and set him back! I believe that’s Fury’s biggest challenge – not to fall back into bad habits while taking his “moral victory” lap over the holidays.
So, where do they go from here????? A rematch I reckon, unless an all-British showdown between Joshua and Fury can be made for April (and there are promotional and network conflicts which could prevent that monster event).
Do you think there will be any major heavyweight fight before the Joshua fight scheduled for April? No, I don’t.
Who will he fight in April? Probably Dillian Whyte (if the contender defeats Derek Chisora in their rematch), or maybe Jarrell Miller.
How about a Fury/Wilder rematch before then? Nah, that’s too soon.
I think it should be made mandatory under the circumstances within 90 days or less. As of now, I think Fury beats both Wilder & Joshua. On a good night, he can. On a good night Wilder KOs both Brits. On a good night, Joshua reigns supreme.
I would love to see Fury get either Teddy Atlas or Abel Sanchez for his lead trainer – he is just getting better and either one of them could bring him to his peak! I think Ben Davidson is doing a great job by himself.
TIME FOR A HEAVYWEIGHT CHANGE?
So first up it seems as if very few of us can see the future, & this sport can continually surprise us (except Tom Gray apparently)! That’s the side of it that gets us hooked and why we love it I guess, & let’s take that positivity from the weekend.
As much as I wanted a Fury victory, I just never saw it, & even up to the first bell I saw him simply being there at all as a victory in itself. Plus, I’ve always doubted his ‘elite’ status.
Man, am I happy to be proved wrong! He had Wilder swinging at giant shadows!
Granted I’ll never classify Wilder as elite either, but he has that undeniable game-changing ‘one-hitter-quitter’, which, though arguably shouldn’t have, saved him in the end. How Fury came back in the 12th the way he did is almost ‘comeback of the year’ just by itself even though it ultimately cost him the win.
The heavyweight division now seems a bit more alive, though interestingly it leaves Joshua in a bit of an odd place for the first time.
I found it really interesting to hear Shelly Finkel go straight into saying they’d negotiate with Joshua now as long as it’s not via the media. Do you think he sees his big payday disappearing faster than Fury’s waistline & will now go for the big April date?
Or will they roll the dice on a rematch with Fury knowing what they’ve seen, with a W giving him a good bargaining position, but a L would cost him serious $?
If they go at it again, what of AJ? Whyte is the obvious one, but say he loses to Chisora? Could happen, though I’m doubtful.
Let’s face it, AJ will make a fortune from a Wembley sell-out regardless, but who against? Someone like Miller is high risk low reward when his next bout could then make history.
As for Saturday & the furor around judging, & their ‘perspective’: this may sound controversial, but in this day & age, do we actually need ringside judges anymore?? They sit close but also low down, & only see one angle. With a mass of camera angles, including up close and overhead, now available, is it time to use them? Maybe even have judges isolated backstage where they aren’t swayed by crowd noise – or is that a bit too sterile or maybe takes away some of the interest in controversy?
And sadly after another negative from the weekend, I’m wishing Adonis Stevenson a full recovery & a happy retirement with his family. Like him or loathe either as both a boxer or a character, boxing is still a sport & entertainment, & one that has rescued many people from bleaker lives. No one deserves permanent harm from it, nor the impact on his family, & it’s disappointing to see so many comments posted online to the contrary.
Sorry that was longer than planned! All the best. – Neil
I’ve got nothing but sympathy for Stevenson and empathy for his family, friends and loved ones. I’m sure there are more than a few cold hearts out there in the realms of social media and comment sections due to Stevenson’s criminal past, but those people should understand that now is not the time for that kind of judgement.
Regarding the official judges, I don’t think we need to get rid of them or the system we have in place. We just need the best (and most trust-worthy) officials for the biggest and most significant fights. Having said that, I do believe that the three official judges and the referee should have access to a monitor between rounds for replays of questionable punches, knockdowns, etc., if need be.
The heavyweight division now seems a bit more alive, though interestingly it leaves Joshua in a bit of an odd place for the first time. I don’t think AJ is in an odd place. He’s in position to fight the eventual winner of the Wilder-Fury rematch. This year began with four unbeaten claimants to the heavyweight throne (Joshua, Wilder, Joseph Parker and Fury). Now there are three. Maybe by the end of 2019 there will only be two.
I found it really interesting to hear Shelly Finkel go straight into saying they’d negotiate with Joshua now as long as it’s not via the media. That sounds like a good idea.
Do you think he sees his big payday disappearing faster than Fury’s waistline & will now go for the big April date? I doubt it. The U.S. network alliances (Joshua with DAZN and Wilder with Showtime) ensures that particular heavyweight showdown will not be made quickly.
Or will they roll the dice on a rematch with Fury knowing what they’ve seen, with a W giving him a good bargaining position, but a L would cost him serious $? I think they will pursue the Fury rematch because the PPV numbers for the first bout were solid, the drama of Dec. 1 will push the promotion for the rematch, and the network alliances that bar Joshua-Wilder don’t exist with Fury, who isn’t exclusive to one network or platform in the U.S.
If they go at it again, what of AJ? Whyte is the obvious one, but say he loses to Chisora? Could happen, though I’m doubtful. If Whyte loses to Chisora, maybe Chisora gets the shot at Joshua. Maybe Team Joshua makes an offer to Aleksandr Usyk. Or the get rid of the IBF mandatory against Kubrat Pulev. Joshua has options.
Let’s face it, AJ will make a fortune from a Wembley sell-out regardless, but who against? Someone like Miller is high risk low reward when his next bout could then make history. Yeah, but Big Baby is available and there are no promotional or network barriers to that matchups.
SATURDAY’S FIGHTS, REFS, ATLAS
Hope this finds you and the family well. Monday’s mailbag was superb, just like sitting around with some people chewing the fat on the great fights last Saturday. I can’t thank you enough.
I had to think a bit about the Fury-Wilder draw; had to see the round-by-round scores before deciding if Rochin’s score was a total turd. He gave the first 4 rounds to Wilder, so he’s fecal all the way. What was he watching? All three judges scored the 1st for Wilder, which combined with the knockdowns is how he saved his belt. I had it like you did, 114-112 for Fury, but one round the other way makes it 113-113 so I can’t argue. Maybe it’s just my childhood memories, but watching the fight Wilder reminded me of Sonny Liston. Wilder doesn’t have Liston’s jab, but the way he was looking for the one power shot was a throw-back to the old days.
What a difference in referees between Jack Reiss and Michael Griffin in the Stevenson-Gvozdyk fight. Reiss didn’t wave the fight after Fury was caught by those powerful shots in the 12th. No one would fault him if he did, but he saw something that allowed Fury to continue and effectively fight on. Up in Canada, Griffin let Stevenson take a couple of more shots, the last one devastating, before stepping in. A real contrast, also demonstrates how difficult the job is. I also don’t understand how Griffin missed the knockdown of Stevenson in the third round. Had it gone to the scorecards, that would have been huge. Am I unfair to question his competence? There’s been little information as to how Stevenson is doing. Anything you can share with us?
And Teddy Atlas! His game plan was spot-on. I loved his honest commentaries when he broadcast and how he explained the positives and negatives of fighters’ moves. It was great to see him put his ideas into action. Can I nominate him for Trainer-of-the -Year?
From me and mine to you and yours, have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. – Ken Kozberg, Oakham, MA
Thanks for the kind words about Monday’s mailbag column and the holiday wishes, Ken. If you wanna nominate Atlas as Trainer of the Year, be my guest. He worked very well with Gvozdyk. I really hope Stevenson’s situation doesn’t take a mental/psychological/spiritual toll on the newly crowned WBC beltholder, but it’s understandable if it does. I can’t imagine what he must be going through. I can’t imagine what Stevenson and his family are going through. I haven’t heard anything beyond what has been formally announced about Stevenson’s condition. He’s had the operation and remains in a medically induced coma (or under heavy sedation). There was serious brain trauma. There will likely be long-term physical and mental challenges for Stevenson as the result of this injury.
I had to think a bit about the Fury-Wilder draw; had to see the round-by-round scores before deciding if Rochin’s score was a total turd. Check you out with the scorecard investigation before you go public with your opinion. Woodward and Bernstein got nuthin’ on you.
He gave the first 4 rounds to Wilder, so he’s fecal all the way. What was he watching? Wilder. He was paying very close attention to Deontay Wilder. Tyson Fury? Not so much.
All three judges scored the 1st for Wilder, which combined with the knockdowns is how he saved his belt. I don’t think either fighter swept the first four rounds, but I scored the opening round for Fury. He got his jab and nailed Wilder late in the round.
I had it like you did, 114-112 for Fury, but one round the other way makes it 113-113 so I can’t argue. Yeah, I basically Tweeted that after the fight, which incurred the wrath of Fury’s Faithful.
Maybe it’s just my childhood memories, but watching the fight Wilder reminded me of Sonny Liston. Wilder doesn’t have Liston’s jab, but the way he was looking for the one power shot was a throw-back to the old days. Wilder doesn’t remind me of any former heavyweight standout I’ve ever seen – even pure punchers like Ernie Shavers – because his footwork and balance seem so f__ked up.
What a difference in referees between Jack Reiss and Michael Griffin in the Stevenson-Gvozdyk fight. What happened with Griffin could have happened with Reiss. It can happen to any referee, even the most cautious of officials.
Reiss didn’t wave the fight after Fury was caught by those powerful shots in the 12th. Jack is a pro’s pro. He seldom gets overwhelmed or carried away in the moment.
No one would fault him if he did, but he saw something that allowed Fury to continue and effectively fight on. He was looking into Fury’s eyes and observing the big man’s body language the moment he got to his feet.
Up in Canada, Griffin let Stevenson take a couple of more shots, the last one devastating, before stepping in. A salvo like the one Gvozdyk unleashed on a reeling Stevenson happens in the blink of an eye. We can all see how devastating the final punch was during the slow-motion replay but it’s a completely different experience in real time in the ring.
A real contrast, also demonstrates how difficult the job is. Arguably the toughest job, apart from the fighters, of course.
HOW ABOUT ‘THE RING SCORECARD’?
I hope you have enjoyed this great year of boxing. A momentous one for you, as the new top dog at the magazine.
2017 was a comeback year for the sport (at least it felt that way for me).
And 2018 has been even better in terms of match ups, I reckon. But I think I would be speaking for a lot of fans in voicing a real displeasure – and distaste – for what feels like more ‘pre-decided’ judging than ever before. I don’t say ‘rigged’ but ‘pre-decided’ or ‘influenced’ feels about right to me. I know it’s always been a bone of contention. But doesn’t seem to have tipped into a rotten ‘golden era’ of decisions that stink?
I think there have been too many high profile fights ending in decisions that the vast majority or press, pros and fans are left disappointed by. We all know which fights they are. Whether you agree or not, I have an idea: The Ring Scorecard!
Why not set up a team of Ring-trusted ‘judges’ to score title fights? Yourself, Tom Gray, Steve Kim, etc., maybe including youtube-style videographers and analysts (i.e., like Lee Wylie or Boxing Legends). And me, of course J
The Ring has clout and the respect of a lot of fans and it would make a real statement to offer the sport alternative but respected scorecards. I think it would put pressure on official judges not to look as f***ing ridiculous and suspicious as they do now. I assume that would make Ring rankings a lot easier too in these days of screwed up scorecards – ignoring the dodgy decisions and deferring to your own ‘Ring scorecards’ as the official outcome.
Anyway, that was an idle thought, probably full of flaws and bad thinking.
Two mythical match-ups before I go:
Duran v Golovkin at 160
Hurd v Margarito at 154
Take it easy. – Giuseppe
I’ll go with GGG and Margarito by close, maybe majority decisions.
“The Ring Scorecard” is an interesting idea as a periodic feature on the site (or maybe as a magazine sidebar to a feature story on the controversial fight or Ratings Update), or perhaps as a podcast or video roundtable discussion.
I appreciate your flattering praise of the magazine’s credibility but we’re far from the ultimate authority on professional scoring. Sometimes there is no “correct” score to a close prize fight. The Panel was in agreement with its opinion on the Wilder-Fury fight (everyone thought Fury deserved the victory), but there is often disagreement with other controversial decisions. For example, there were members of the Panel and Editorial Board that thought Canelo Alvarez and Andre Ward legitimately beat Gennady Golovkin and Sergey Kovalev in their controversial first bouts (whereas the majority of media and fans believed GGG and Krusher deserved the nods).
Thanks for your twice weekly mailbags. I always look forward to them and enjoy them at the beginning and end of each work week.
I’m curious what time you finish them as you are on the West Coast, and I am on the East Coast of the US and usually see them around 7am or so.
I just wanted to quickly comment that I think of any figure in boxing today, Tyson Fury is the guy who can “transcend the sport” as they say. He is such a charismatic and entertaining guy. He has a great wit which seems spontaneous and unrehearsed, he is not afraid to break into song, he was total class in the post-fight press conference, and he’s got a great personal comeback story which many people can relate to and be inspired by.
The way he told the story about how he had to get up off the canvas in the 12th round for all the people who suffer in the world seemed genuine. Hopefully he can keep himself away from any emotional setbacks in the future because he is great for the sport of boxing. – Karl
I agree, Karl. And I can also see him transcending the sport in a way we haven’t seen from a heavyweight star since Mike Tyson or even the great Muhammad Ali, but in order to fulfill that potential Fury will need to keep the momentum from the Wilder performance going by remaining active (fighting at least three times a year) and by fighting quality opponents. Time will tell if he’s able to do this.
Thanks for your twice weekly mailbags. I always look forward to them and enjoy them at the beginning and end of each work week. Thanks for sharing your appreciation for this 17½-year-old weekly column. I’ll keep the mailbag going for as long as fans like you continue to read and enjoy it.
I’m curious what time you finish them as you are on the West Coast, and I am on the East Coast of the US and usually see them around 7am or so. I generally post them between 3:00 and 4:00 a.m. Pacific Time.
HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPS AND THEIR MANDATORIES
First time writer but avid reader and supporter of your work over the years.
All the hype surrounding a Wilder/Fury/Joshua fight next is well deserved, but will it happen? Is it not a formality that both Wilder and Joshua will have to fight mandatories next?
The WBO already announced before the Joshua/Povetkin fight that they are enforcing their mandatory….and that Povetkin is therefore not their mandatory. Their ratings give Dylian Whyte that right, but he is also Wilder’s mandatory for the WBC strap. It makes sense for Eddy Hearn to not put his 2 fighters against each other, rather trying to have 2 belt holders in his stable? Wilder/Whyte will make a good fight though.
If this happens, will the WBO pardon Joshua? If so, will the IBF then enforce their mandatory (Pulev). Would also make for a brilliant fight.
That will leave Fury! Could fight Charr to ensure he becomes Joshua’s mandatory for the WBA? Or simply hang on until he gets a mega fight with either Wilder or Joshua? Maybe Fury can take on Miller or Kownacki while he waits?
Can’t wait for next year to see what happens. Regards. – Gavin, East London, South Africa
Same here, Gavin.
You’re correct that the alphabet beltholders have to be concerned with mandatory challengers. However, given the success and controversial nature of Wilder-Fury I, I can see the WBC ordering an immediate rematch or at the very least holding off on pushing Wilder’s mandatory challenge to allow for the two teams to negotiate a return bout.
Whyte is the WBC’s and WBO’s No. 1 contender, but if he beats Chisora on Dec. 22, I think he’ll go for the WBO strap held by familiar foe and promotional stablemate, Mr. Anthony Joshua. Eddie Hearn’s got to deliver for his broadcast partners, DAZN and Sky Sports, and those platforms would not be happy if allowed Whyte to cross the street to Showtime to challenge Wilder.
(I agree that Wilder-Whyte would be a good scrap, though, as well as a pretty lively promotional build-up.)
Pulev could get his shot at Joshua this year. I heard he signed with Top Rank, which might want to get him some ESPN exposure against one of their heavyweights before pushing for his mandatory title shot (or pushing whoever beats him).
I am tired of hearing about Tyson Fury being the “linear champ.” There has to be a way for a championship to be stripped for inactivity and that’s just what happened to Fury. If he had won the decision against Wilder he would be WBC champion but that’s all.
Having said that, I must add that I am astonished by what Fury achieved, which I saw as a rough equivalent to Sugar Ray Leonard coming back and beating Marvelous Marvin Hagler. For a fighter who had been in such bad mental and physical condition so recently, coming back with so little preparation and giving us a performance like that was just unreal. I had picked Wilder and rooted for him but Fury made a believer out of me. I will gladly pay to see a rematch, but if Fury
fights AJ next I’ll probably see it as part of my DAZN subscription, with which I am completely satisfied. – Leslie Gerber, Woodstock, NY
If Joshua-Fury is made, the winner of that showdown would be The Ring champ, now that The Gypsy King has advanced to No. 2 in our rankings. It’s up to the individual fan to decide if Fury or the winner of that all-British scrap should be considered the LINEAL champ (not “linear” – although I’ve made that mistake numerous times in articles and during broadcasts).
Personally, I continue to view Fury as the lineal champ despite all that time he spent outside of the ring dealing with law suits and personal demons. Ali was out of the ring for a longer period of time (1967-’70) during his legal battle with the U.S. government and most of the public and sports media continued to recognize him as the lineal champ.
Email Fischer at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter and IG at @dougiefischer