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Dougie’s Monday Mailbag (Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder)

Team Tyson Fury. Photo by Ryan Hafey / Premier-Boxing-Champions
24
Feb

MASTERCLASS

Sup Dougie!

Been years since I’ve written. I still love reading.

What an artistic performance by Fury. He is what a real professional fighter is all about. He made an adjustment to his approach that made many boxing pundits doubt his chance in lasting beyond the middle rounds. Wilder can learn from this but probably won’t.



Reflecting back it was a brilliant strategy and it worked the second the bell rang and Wilder was always on his back foot. This negated Wilder’s ability to wind up his right hand to full effect. It threw off his confidence. And it didn’t help in conserving energy. Fury going from his “Ali-style” to a “Lennox-style” was sublime.

Kudos to Wilder on his valiant effort and not wanting to quit but he was being manhandled. I hope he really learns from this fight. I think I would be reevaluating his team, who aside from protecting him with the stoppage, did a poor job. Not sure if Wilder coming in over 230lbs was good for his stamina, but I doubt the wrestling from Fury would have been any better at 215lbs. His corner did NOTHING between rounds to help Wilder recover from his ear injury and making any adjustments. Learning at the press conference how his corner team is set up just proves a reevaluation. This is simply more than just “land the right.”

With that said, any version of Fury will be a nightmare match-up for Joshua but still a fight to be made at Wembley Stadium in front of 1 million people if Hearn can squeeze them in. What is next for the US heavyweight scene? What’s next for Wilder to regain his form? A third fight with Fury is pointless. Could we see Wilder vs. Whyte? I wouldn’t mind Wilder vs. Ruiz if Ruiz can be fully prepared.

Where does Fury’s performance rank all-time? Nowhere trying to drive hyperbole but Fury’s strategic performance is akin to Ali’s strategy to neutralized Foreman. Thanks, Doug, and be well! – Mike from Jersey City

Thanks for the kind words and for being a loyal reader and occasional writer, Mike. I won’t go all the way back to the Muhammad Ali era to put Fury’s performance into perspective, but I think it’s the best, most decisive rematch victory scored by a British heavyweight vs. an American in a championship bout since Lennox Lewis obliterated Hasim Rahman. That was back in 2001 (and, yes, I covered that fight). So, that’s saying something. But it’s just one boxing scribe’s opinion.

Regarding Fury’s future, it’s going to be in a holding pattern for the next 30 days – the time period Team Wilder has to enforce the immediate rematch clause in the contract – so, if Deontay wants the Gypsy Smoke ASAP, that’s what the public will be “treated” to, Fury-Wilder3. The promoters, networks and casino executives won’t complain given the robust business the rematch did. Hardcore fans might be a little #salty, tho.

If Wilder wants to go in another direction, I’m sure we’ll be hearing a lot of back-and-forth between Team Fury and Team AJ about negotiations for a potential late 2020 showdown for the undisputed crown. But my guess is that both sides will milk their titles in their separate kingdoms for one or two bouts (AJ in England, Fury in Las Vegas or New York City) this year. Joshua vs. Pulev (and, man, you KNOW Bob Arum will be praying for an upset in that one) and maybe Fury vs. Oscar Rivas (to appease the WBC) or Jarrell Miller (to piss everyone off, The Bobfather likes to do that every now and then).

What an artistic performance by Fury. It wasn’t always aesthetically appealing but it was effective.

He is what a real professional fighter is all about. I agree. He is what he says he is, “A Fighting Man,” which means he’s always ready to fight whether he’s at his best mentally and/or physically or not.

Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank

He made an adjustment to his approach that made many boxing pundits doubt his chance in lasting beyond the middle rounds. I admit, even as a Fury guy, I was surprised. Once I saw that he really was 270+ pounds, I knew he’d do the grab-hold-mount thing in close, that’s an Emanuel Steward/Kronk special for big, tall, rangy heavyweights (Lewis, Klitschko), but apart from sitting down on his punches a little more, and maybe tightening up some offensive technique, I didn’t think he’d change too much strategy from the first fight. But they (Fury, SugarHill, Andy Lee, and the rest of his team) had the PERFECT game plan in taking the fight to Wilder (in intelligent fashion, Fury still had the feints and head movement as he stalked behind his jab). That flipped the script, changed the paradigm. Wilder became the hunted and didn’t know what to do in that role.

Wilder can learn from this but probably won’t. I don’t know how many times I’ve written this in the mailbag, but here goes again: He is what he is.

Fury going from his “Ali-style” to a “Lennox-style” was sublime. That’s high praise/legendary comparisons, but Fury is worthy.

Kudos to Wilder on his valiant effort and not wanting to quit but he was being manhandled. And bludgeoned. It was getting hard to stomach (even for a ghoul). What’s the point of allowing a fight to continue when one fighter can no longer command respect or protect himself?

I hope he really learns from this fight. I think I would be reevaluating his team, who aside from protecting him with the stoppage, did a poor job. We’ll see how it plays out. I really think it will be a bad look if Team Wilder jettisons Mark Breland (who had the compassion and common decency to throw in the towel).

Not sure if Wilder coming in over 230lbs was good for his stamina, but I doubt the wrestling from Fury would have been any better at 215lbs. I don’t think the added weight helped Wilder. He looked stiff in his upper-body and top heavy.

His corner did NOTHING between rounds to help Wilder recover from his ear injury and making any adjustments. If Wilder suffered a ruptured or punctured ear drum, there’s not much they could have done to help him recover from that. Regarding their strategy, come on, you KNOW that’s always been for him to land the right hand. Most fans and media thought that would be enough (as it usually is), why would they be any different?

 

DEONTAY’S LEGS

Lot of speculation about Wilder’s legs. Ring-walk outfit too heavy (his coach suggested that) something in training was off, Laws of Attraction not working…whatever.

He was hit in the head by Fury, hard, and Fury can punch a bit and weighs 274. That’s why his legs weren’t working well. – Allan

Write your own damn caption for this. I’m done.

That’s how I saw it. A couple big shots to the side and back of the head by Fury, plus having a 273-pound man lean on you and grapple with you for six-to-nine minutes will wear out any heavyweight’s legs.

But if Wilder really did wear his legs out by wearing that ridiculous Power Ranger suit into the ring, he’s an idiot and so are the people around him for allowing him to don a heavy costume prior to the biggest fight of his life.  

 

ANXIETY ATTACK?

It’s rare to watch a boxing match on TV in France for some Reason, so I was super happy when I found out that yesterday’s event was on TV here.

That was epic and worth staying up for! I noticed Wilder did not look very confident when he took that crazy mask off. I noticed anxiety in his eyes. Do you know if he did indeed have some issues before the fight? I mean I would also s__t myself facing the prospect of having to fight that bald giant, but Wilder has been there before. He mentioned something of having issues before the fight, but I fell asleep before the press conference. Any news about this?

Fury absolutely smashed Wilder and used the Klitschko-clinch to great effect. I mean that was not the only or not even the main reason that Fury won, and I have no problem with it, but it shows how Fury adapted under his new coaches. For a fighter being able to change that much is a testimony to greatness, I think. What would he need to do, in your opinion, to be HOF worthy or be named with the likes of Ali and Frazier? The stoppage was 100% ok and the ref did nothing wrong in that fight. Let’s hope Fury does not fall off a cliff now as he did after the Klitschko fight because I really need to see him fight AJ this year!

Thanks for the mailbag, looking forward to Monday’s with or without my novel in it. – Erik, France

Thanks for sharing, Erik.

I think Fury has grown and matured a lot – mentally and spiritually – since the Klitschko victory, so I don’t envision him falling off any cliffs between now and a possible induction into the International Boxing Hall of Fame. What does he need to do to clinch that induction? I think he needs to engage in a round robin with Joshua, Wilder, Dillian Whyte and maybe Aleksandr Usyk. He doesn’t have to go unbeaten in that run, but if he wins most of those encounters (or rematches), the big man is in like Flynn.

I agree that Fury’s ability to add to his style, learn from different coaches and adapt is what makes him an elite boxer – the “Klitschko-clinch” (I had forgotten about this term) is a great tool for his arsenal.

I noticed Wilder did not look very confident when he took that crazy mask off. I noticed anxiety in his eyes. Wilder’s hyper-emotional. He can get caught up in the moment and it was an incredible atmosphere inside the MGM Grand Garden Arena, as intense of a UK vs. USA crowd as I’ve witnessed since Hamed vs. Barrera or Hatton vs. Mayweather and Pacquiao. Wilder isn’t used to a bona-fide “SuperFight” experience. Fury went through that years ago in Germany when he fought Klitschko. Plus, despite his mental health issues, he’s far more relaxed before and during a fight than Wilder. He just doesn’t let things bother him.

The Joker smiles knowing he’s living rent free in Mr. KO’s head.

Do you know if he did indeed have some issues before the fight? I have not heard of any rumors of him suffering an anxiety attack, but hey, it’s only Sunday evening as I pen this column. However, I will say this: Wilder seemed tight to me at the final presser. It appeared that Fury was once again getting under his skin and praying on whatever insecurities he may have. A couple hours before I went to the arena, somebody who works with the PBC and was around Wilder all week told me that he thought that Wilder had been doing too much media and spending too much time engaging with fans via social media, essentially “burning himself out” during fight week. When I saw him pacing back and forth in his dressing room, hours before the fight, on the jumbotron screens inside the arena, I had to wonder if he was just carrying to much tension around with him. And then his ring walk… hey, don’t get me started. It was all too intense, and I think he needed to be more relaxed.

I mean I would also s__t myself facing the prospect of having to fight that bald giant, but Wilder has been there before. He has, but not at that magnitude. This was so much bigger than the first fight with Fury.

He mentioned something of having issues before the fight, but I fell asleep before the press conference. Any news about this? No, I just read something about him claiming his leg was already messed up going into this fight, but if that’s true, and it’s also true that his right arm was hurt or not fully healed from an injury going into the first bout, I have to wonder if Wilder will EVER be 100% healthy going into a Fury showdown.

 

AGAIN, WHAT CAN WILDER DO BETTER IN A THIRD FIGHT?

Hi Doug,

Hope you enjoyed the weekends fights.

Did Wilder/Fury 2 deliver? Hell yes!!

It sounds strange to say this but he, Fury, did exactly what he said he would and dished out a one-sided beating along the way. No one accept Tyson Fury predicted how one sided the fight would be. He deserves all the credit in the world. I didn’t give him his props after beating Vlad, and I’ll happily eat my words. What went wrong for Wilder? He clearly has tons of heart, but he was just out done in every department. What’s worse is when he grabbed to catch a breath, Fury just leaned on him sapping his energy further.

I don’t think he’s scared fighting anyone. But I feel his lite CV showed last night. His team and the WBC protecting him and padding out his record has meant he lacks the experience he needs at this level. Do you think the ear injury was a factor?

Naturally everyone is talking about what’s next? I was thinking and it occurs to me, do not all options lay with Wilder now?

(1) If they have a 3rd it’s up to Wilder.

(2) If Wilder was to give Eddie Hearn a call to get on AJ vs Wilder, I’m sure Eddie can arrange that for all AJ’s belts for a ton of money.

For (1) Wilder has earned the right to dictate if this happens or not. However back to my letter from last week, what can he do better? He is of course still very dangerous in that fight due to his power, but I can’t see anything but another one-sided beating loss for him unless he can reinvent himself at 34.

(2) Wilder’s team may look at AJ as an easier fight than Fury next, where he can also win back a version of the title.

Am I just over thinking this?

Lot of haters out there saying Wilder is done. Give the man a break. He’s KO’d almost everyone put in front of him and been involved in two brilliant fights with Fury. As long as he’s got that power, he’s remains a threat to anyone.

So how does Fury fair against the rest of the division?

AJ?

Whyte?

Usyk?

Where does this all leave Dillian Whyte? Really feel for the guy. He, despite both Wilder/Fury fights delivering, has earned his shot and I looks like he won’t be getting it any time soon.

MM:2015 Fury vs 2015 Wilder?

Keep up the good work. – Tabraze, London U.K.

I gotta go with Fury on points in a stinker.

Where is Whyte in the heavyweight picture? I have to imagine that he’s getting close to that WBC mandatory shot (now that he’s been reinstated after being cleared by UKAD of the “adverse finding” prior to his fight with Oscar Rivas). It’s no secret that Wilder and PBC weren’t keen on dealing with Eddie Hearn and risking their heavyweight star against Whyte, but Fury seems crazy enough to say “F__k the politics, bring it on!” Of course, if Wilder opts for the immediate third bout, Body Snatcher is going to have to continue to practice patience.

How does Fury fair against Joshua, Whyte and Usyk? Despite his improvements and dominant performance vs. Wilder, I still think he and Joshua are an even matchup, but where I used to think AJ would win a close decision in part because of his star appeal, now I think Fury can edge a close one because of his elevated status. I think Fury-Whyte could be a potential shootout, but see Fury winning a decision or late stoppage in a battle of attrition. And I think he’s just too big, quick and nimble for Usyk. Plus, the Kronk Heavyweight wrinkles of grabbing and “leaning” on a smaller man will add to his effectiveness vs. the Ukrainian stud.

What went wrong for Wilder? He allowed Fury into his head (again), he was too jacked up fight week and fight night, and he couldn’t make adjustments when Fury took the fight to him.

He clearly has tons of heart, but he was just out done in every department. Yes, he was. Fury beat him to the punch from the outside, hurt him from mid-range (including to the body), and outmuscled/grappled him on the inside.

I don’t think he’s scared fighting anyone. But I feel his lite CV showed last night. Agreed. Fury doesn’t have the deepest resume (beyond Klitschko and Wilder) but he’s gone the distance against a variety of styles, and he’s a smart guy who wants to keep learning.

Do you think the ear injury was a factor? If blood was from the inner ear and indicative of a ruptured or pierced ear drum, yes, that hurts a lot and throws off a fighter’s balance.

Naturally everyone is talking about what’s next? I was thinking and it occurs to me, do not all options lay with Wilder now?

(1) If they have a 3rd it’s up to Wilder. He’s got less than 30 days to make that choice.

(2) If Wilder was to give Eddie Hearn a call to get on AJ vs Wilder, I’m sure Eddie can arrange that for all AJ’s belts for a ton of money. Really? You think Wilder would do that? Do you think he contractually has the authority to make that decision and that move, reaching out to Sir Eddie? And do you think making that fight would be that simple given the network/platform obligations each fighter/promotional entity has?

However back to my letter from last week, what can he do better? Apparently, nothing.

He is of course still very dangerous in that fight due to his power, but I can’t see anything but another one-sided beating loss for him unless he can reinvent himself at 34. I don’t see him suddenly turning into Larry Holmes at this stage of his career, so yeah, I’d strongly favor Fury in a third match, and maybe he’d get Wilder out sooner than Round 7.

Wilder’s team may look at AJ as an easier fight than Fury next, where he can also win back a version of the title. Three versions of the title. Let’s hope so, and let’s hope they can figure out a way to get that fight done. It has the making of a Foreman-Lyle/Moorer-Cooper/Jefferson-Harris style heavyweight shootout.

Am I just over thinking this? Yes, but that’s what hardcore fans do.

Lot of haters out there saying Wilder is done. What a surprise.

Give the man a break. That ain’t happenin’… the internet and Floyd Mayweather remain undefeated.

As long as he’s got that power, he’s remains a threat to anyone. True, and he makes for great matchups, but he no longer has the mystique he garnered over the years, and it will be interesting when he takes on bold heavyweights with fast and heavy hands, such as Whyte, Andy Ruiz and Joseph Parker. 

NOT HAPPY, BUT HAPPY FOR KRONK

Hey Dougie,

I don’t like Tyson Fury and I didn’t enjoy the fight tonight. The way it was promoted left a taste in my mouth that had me planning to avoid it but family pulled me into it anyway.

The build up started to take on a Holmes-Cooney feel and I didn’t trust Wilder’s talent and resolve like I did Larry Holmes.

Sure enough my worst fears came true. Fury devoured the smaller man, leaned on him, pushed on him and beat him up. Honestly, I don’t doubt Wilder’s heart but he doesn’t have the tools to make this right. Fury has the formula and though he’s likely the only person with the savvy to carry out the plan I think he has Wilder’s number forever. Deontay will never beat him.

Though I hate the result I was happy to see Kronk get some international attention. Manny Steward and Kronk are part of the fabric of Detroit. Top Rank tried to rebrand J. Hill as Sugar Hill Steward to play the Manny angle but at the end of the day it worked. Coming forward behind the jab and following up with everything (letting them hands go) is textbook Kronk. Fury’s demeanor in the ring was Kronk. Good for them.

I guess we have to go back to the UK to see champs again. Count me out of that one. – Mike Howza

Why? Yeah, the world heavyweight championship is split between two popular, charismatic Brits, but so what? As long as they defend their titles against the top contenders (including Wilder and Whyte) and eventually engage in a showdown for the undisputed crown, why wouldn’t you want to witness that? I don’t believe you’ll ignore the sport’s glamor division. I think you will tune-in. I was also pleased to see Fury adopt the style and tactics that the late, great Emanuel Steward instilled into both Lewis and Klitschko when he rehabilitated them following devastating losses. The legendary, iconic Kronk style, mentality and brand lives on, but I don’t think Top Rank had anything to do with Javal Hill changing his name to SugarHill Steward, he did that long before he took on Fury as a client.

don’t like Tyson Fury and I didn’t enjoy the fight tonight. You didn’t bet a grip on Wilder, did you? I know a lot of dudes – fans and media – that lost their money on Saturday.

 The way it was promoted left a taste in my mouth that had me planning to avoid it but family pulled me into it anyway. Bro, you sound like Al Pacino in Godfather 3. What was it about the promotion that left a bad taste in your mouth?

The build up started to take on a Holmes-Cooney feel and I didn’t trust Wilder’s talent and resolve like I did Larry Holmes. Trust me, I remember the build-up to Holmes-Cooney back in 1982, this promotion was NOTHING like that, the vibe in Las Vegas was NOTHING like that. There was very little beef or racial tentsion between Fury and Wilder fans. And many of Wilder’s fans were white Americans, by the way. Fury had his share of African-America boosters/believers in the MGM Grand. It was a very successful promotion in terms of the marketing/media push that network powerhouses ESPN and FOX gave it (treating the championship the way they would the NBA finals or the damn SuperBowl) and how well the promoters got along right up to fight night.

Sure enough my worst fears came true. Fury devoured the smaller man, leaned on him, pushed on him and beat him up. That’s pretty much the fight in a nutshell. Sorry your guy got his ass handed to him.

Honestly, I don’t doubt Wilder’s heart but he doesn’t have the tools to make this right. No, he doesn’t. His tool box fairly empty.

Fury has the formula and though he’s likely the only person with the savvy to carry out the plan I think he has Wilder’s number forever. Deontay will never beat him. You’re probably right, but we’ll see if Wilder can raise his game in Bout No. 3 if and when it happens.

WILDER’S WEIGHT

Doug –

Do you think Wilder’s highest weight ever played any part in his performance? – Kevin Key, Duluth, MN

I don’t think it helped Wilder. He looked top heavy and appeared stiff in his upper body. I’ll leave it that.

FURY DID WHAT HE SAID HE WOULD DO

Hey Doug,

The fight has just ended as I write this. In a word, the undercard was forgettable. The less said the better. It was pins and needles though

waiting for the main event. Truth to tell, I wanted Deontay Wilder to stretch Tyson Fury… because I wanted to ultimately see Wilder vs

Anthony Joshua but from the opening bell it was clear this was NOT round 13 of the first fight. Fury came out and right off the bat (like he said he would) backed Wilder up and completely upset his game. It was clear early on that Wilder was confused and the look on his face was one of uncertainty. Fans have long been saying that Wilder lacked craft and on this night he was finally totally exposed on those claims.

He seemed to have no answers to what was happening. His big equalizer never materialized. He didn’t launch the right hand (even wildly out of  desperation) as things went south. He just seemed to stand there absorbing shots and not throwing back. His legs were gone a few rounds before the fight was actually stopped. It was an impressive performance by Tyson Fury as he delivered a savage beatdown on Deontay Wilder who was never in it. Wilder took a lot of punishment. Let’s be honest, he got his bell rung and I think the blood on his ears was from those large piercings he has being torn by some of the rough house headlocks Fury put him in several times.

The question I have now is how this devastating loss will affect him physiologically (remember Floyd Patterson?…. I know you do). There are other examples. Some guys are never the same. How will Deontay recover from this, if at all since his tough guy destroyer image took such a hit.

The sky is the limit for Tyson Fury. I think a third fight with Wilder would be pointless (and result in another beat down for Wilder) but an

Anthony Joshua fight at Wembley would break all records, in fact that venue might not be big enough.

The aftermath of this fight, from the things I discussed here to what might come next for Fury will take some time to manifest themselves. I

look forward to seeing how it all plays out. Love to hear your take. – David, Nashville

I have no idea what comes next. This is the Tyson Fury Show going forward and one of the Gypsy King’s biggest strengths is unpredictability. That’s one of the things that stressed out and threw off poor Deontay.

I’m OK with an immediate third bout if that’s what Wilder wants. I think the promoters, networks and casino properties involved in the rematch would fully support a rubber match due to the financial success of the return bout. It’s a high-risk move for Team Wilder, but they have a lot of pride and they might want to “one-up” the gamble Fury took by taking the fight to feared KO Artist. We’ll see if they enact the contract clause as trainer Jay Deas and advisor Shelly Finkel hinted at during the post-fight press conference.

Fury vs. Joshua is no doubt the biggest UK fight in history, and one of the biggest heavyweight championship bouts ever, but I have a feeling the two sides are gonna haggle over percentages for at least a year. The business end of boxing sucks but we have no sport without it. It’s prize fighting and the PRIZE comes before the FIGHTING.

Truth to tell, I wanted Deontay Wilder to stretch Tyson Fury… because I wanted to ultimately see Wilder vs Anthony Joshua but from the opening bell it was clear this was NOT round 13 of the first fight. In a way it was, David, because I think Fury learned in Round 12 of bout No. 1 that (even when buzzed out of his mind and not in top fighting shape) he could hurt Wilder when he took the fight to him.

Fury came out and right off the bat (like he said he would) backed Wilder up and completely upset his game. I think he upset Wilder, period, I’m talking emotionally, even before the fight began.

It was clear early on that Wilder was confused and the look on his face was one of uncertainty. It was clear that he lacked confidence after the second round.

Fans have long been saying that Wilder lacked craft and on this night he was finally totally exposed on those claims. Yes, but it took a very special heavyweight to fully expose all of those technical flaws and foundational deficiencies.

He seemed to have no answers to what was happening. His big equalizer never materialized. Wilder’s vaunted power failed to materialize until the middle to later rounds in a few fights. Fury wondered what would happen if somebody put it on Wilder in the early rounds. The world witnessed what happens when a bigger, smarter boxer takes the center of the ring away from Wilder.

He just seemed to stand there absorbing shots and not throwing back. He didn’t “seem” to stand there, that’s what happened. It’s why his face was a mess and his ear bled by the fourth round.

His legs were gone a few rounds before the fight was actually stopped. He was on roller skates after Round 3.

Wilder took a lot of punishment. Let’s be honest, he got his bell rung and I think the blood on his ears was from those large piercings he has being torn by some of the rough house headlocks Fury put him in several times. Maybe, or maybe his ear drum got busted as many are speculating. If that’s the truth, kudos to Wilder for remaining upright for as long as he did.

The question I have now is how this devastating loss will affect him physiologically (remember Floyd Patterson?…. I know you do). My guess is that he’ll handle it better than Patterson, who was a painfully shy individual by nature. It will still be very hard on Wilder, who is very proud and used to winning in spectacular fashion, but my hunch is that he will eventually take the loss in stride.

Some guys are never the same. How will Deontay recover from this, if at all since his tough guy destroyer image took such a hit. The-Invincible-Greatest-Puncher-of-All-Time aura is probably gone but Wilder can recover and still be a major force in the division. Only time will tell.

FURY IS THE DEVIL

Fury licking Wilder’s bloody shoulder reminds me of when I heard that Ali would tell his banged up foes, while punching them in the head “I’m Jesus Christ” … he’s the devil in Boxing Trunks, and I’m a ghoul. Seriously, the psychological assault is off the chain!!! Who do you got? Fury of today vs a Prime, Iron Mike. – Alex

I think “old” Mike Tyson would admit that even in his prime, the version of Fury that was witnessed against Wilder on Saturday would be all wrong for him.

 

 

Email Fischer at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter and IG at @dougiefischer, and join him and Coach Schwartz and friends on Periscope every Sunday from SMC track.  

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