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NOTES FROM THE BOXING UNDERGROUND: WHY WILDER-FURY WAS NO ROBBERY

By Paul Magno | December 03, 2018
NOTES FROM THE BOXING UNDERGROUND: WHY WILDER-FURY WAS NO ROBBERY

I guess we have to clarify for the slow folks again—when the fighter you like and favor doesn’t get a decision, it’s not necessarily a "robbery".

Saturday night at Staples Center in Los Angeles, Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury had to settle on a draw after twelve messy, off-kilter, but interesting rounds. And, of course, as the online Universo Pugilistico is wont to do, it exploded in a mushy mess of uninformed outrage and fake angst over the sanctity of the game. 

In some eyes, Fury won every round except for the ninth and twelfth, where he suffered knockdowns. To them, it was a masterful boxing exhibition from “The Gypsy King,” one where he not only pushed back his inner demons of mental illness and substance abuse, but also crossed the Atlantic Ocean to best the heavy-handed American WBC champ. 

The story drove many scorecards, I’m afraid. Because, at the end of the day, the draw wasn’t all that bad of a decision. 

My personal scorecard had Fury out ahead 114-112 after the final bell, giving Fury 8 rounds to Wilder’s 4. Take away the two points for the knockdowns and we get at my final tally. And that 114-112 score easily becomes 113-113 if Wilder gets the benefit of the doubt in any of the 2 or 3 close rounds early on in the contest.

The 115-111 Wilder score from judge Alejandro Rochin was the Adalaide Byrd Canelo-GGG scapegoat of this fight. It was a shitty scorecard in a reasonable decision, pointed to as proof positive of skulduggery from the outraged. 115-111 from the Mexican judge meant that he gave Wilder every benefit of every doubt in every remotely close round—an action no less ridiculous than those who gave Fury every benefit of every doubt in every remotely close round, proudly posting 116-110 cards in Fury’s favor. 

The other two judges on Saturday delivered reasonable scorecards in 114-112 for Fury from Canadian judge Robert Tapper and 113-113 from British judge Phil Edwards. The Rochin card was off, but the decision wasn’t. Any way you look at things, this was a 114-112 or 113-113 fight. Of course, that’s if you’re looking at things with an objective eye, not wielding an agenda, or cheering on “your guy.”

Fury’s story of personal redemption and his underdog/visitor status against a defending champ who is not beloved among large chunks of hardcore boxing fandom made the Fury win a sentimental necessity. Fury just HAD to win and his fans and sympathizers scored each round accordingly. 

Make no mistake about it, Fury’s performance on Saturday WAS a triumphant moment. Battling back from inner turmoil, boxing the way he did against a bomb-throwing aggressor, and rising from the canvas twice—all of that showed Fury as a man with true character and supreme mental toughness. He deserves all the accolades in the world for what he battled through to get where he’s at. 

But he wasn’t robbed last Saturday night. 

A Wilder-Fury bout going to the scorecards, though, was probably destined to play out this way. 

Fury is smart enough and skilled enough to nullify much of Wilder’s aggression, but Wilder is tenacious enough and is a big enough puncher to win some skirmishes and score a knockdown or two. The fight was going to be close if one side didn’t get knocked silly and stopped early. Hearing those scorecards read aloud was like a slow motion intro to an upcoming mass hissy fit. Things were going to be predictably ugly.

And, yeah, fans vented all Saturday night…and they’re still venting. 

The problem is that just about everything these days produces crybaby tears and conspiracy theories. So, when true robberies and controversies happen, they get swept under the carpet easier, brushed off as just another case of angry, partisan fans upset because “their” guy didn’t win. 

A bout that could’ve been scored a draw being scored a draw should not be controversial, at least not to the degree Wilder-Fury seems to be. 

The draw was alright. Let’s do this one again and let’s see both fighters go above and beyond to prevent another tight decision. It’s really that easy.

Quick (S)hits:

-- Jarrett Hurd vs. Jermell Charlo? Oh yeah. Hurd will take Charlo places he’s never been before and make him answer questions we’ve been dying to see him answer. Get this one done soon. Oh yeah, and Jason Welborn, who fell to Hurd in the fourth round Saturday night after a hellacious body shot, deserves some screen time in the future as well. He was giving Hurd a nice little scrap before getting his gut scrambled. Welborn-Jaime Munguia, for example, would be nice. 

Got something for Magno? Send it here: paulmagno@theboxingtribune.com

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