Deontay Wilder vs. Tyson Fury was a big money marquee fight, and it delivered in almost every way. It was a great, fascinating fight, with Fury using his unique movement to nullify Wilder’s game for much of the fight. Wilder dropped Fury in round 9, though Fury seemed to recover from it pretty quickly. Then came round 12, which is one for the ages. Wilder seemed to knock Fury out cold, but as referee Jack Rees counted (and all credit in the world to him for giving it a count), Fury somehow magically popped up at round 9 like a character out of Punch Out. Fury managed to stay in it through those final minutes, creating one of the most dramatic final rounds you will see.
So, if it was so great, why did it only deliver in “almost” every way? Because it’s boxing. And at the end of the day, boxing will always let us down. And here, that letdown came from, as ususal, the judges. One scorecard of 115-111 Deontay Wilder and one 113-113 means it’s a split draw. No one wins, except the promoters who now get to hype and sell Wilder vs. Fury 2.
I had it 115-111 Fury. Mookie had the same. Tyson Fury won that fight. But boxing gonna boxing. Always.
Thoughts on the rest of the card...
- Jarrett Hurd vs. Jason Welborn turned out to be a pretty great little fight. Hurd came in the massive favorite, but this was his return from shoulder surgery, he’s a notoriously slow starter, and Welborn came in to this fight to win. Add that up and the result is some very entertaining opening rounds, with Welborn outperforming expectations. And he was looking good right up until Hurd landed a gorgeous body shot in the 4th that dropped Welborn and put him down and out. This was a needed tune-up for Hurd and a good win, but big kudos to Welborn for his performance.
- Luis Ortiz beat the absolute snot out of Travis Kauffman over the course of 10 rounds. The heavy hitting Ortiz moved well and just landed punch after punch. He had two clean, hard shots that resulted in knockdowns in the fight, and it’s a testament to Kauffman that he got up from both of those. Then in round 10, Ortiz dropped Kauffman yet again, then seemed to just decide he was done, stringing together a series of punches and giving the referee no choice but to end it. Good performance from Ortiz, who is now 2-0 since his March loss to Wilder.
- In the PPV opener, Joy Joyce came in with a lot of hype behind him and did exactly what you need to do in that situation - win early and win big. Joyce took less than a round to KO Joe Hanks. This doesn’t really tell us anything about the now 7-0 Joyce, but it was a chance for him to gain exposure and impress in front of a large audience, and, well, mission accomplished.
- Though not actually a part of the Wilder vs. Fury card, Showtime did present Adonis Stevenson vs, Oleksandr Gvozdyk as a sort of split-site prelim. And that fight delivered, with Gvozdyk defeating Stevenson via KO in round 11 to become the WBC Light Heavyweight champion. After a long reign that saw Stevenson duck opponents constantly, this was an extremely satisfying result. Not a perfect performance from Gvozdyk, but he got the job done, and it’s a good thing he did because one judge had Stevenson up 98-92 at the time of the KO. Oh boxing.
- Man that Ukraine Olympic team is really taking this sport over.
- Also, Dmitry Bivol, Eleider Alvarez, Artur Beterbiev, and now Oleksandr Gvozdyk as champions? Badou Jack, Sergey Kovalev, Marcus Browne ready to challenge? Light Heavyweight is one of the sport’s most exciting divisions right now.