Friday’s heavyweight-sized Wilder-Fury mailbag – The Ring

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WILDER-FURY CRAZINESS/INOUE’S GRACE

Hi Doug,

I hope you and the family are good leading up to an interesting December.

Probably too late for the Friday Mailbag, but just wanted your thoughts on the Wilder-Fury situation after the recent pressers.

As much as I’d love a Tyson Fury win, I’ve always seen a Deontay Wilder mid-round KO as it’s too much too soon for the Gypsy King, who I’ve never considered the cream of the crop anyway. BUT I found this week’s antics interesting & reminded me a bit of the Klitschko fight. Fury seemed poised until the bit of showmanship at the end, & Wilder seemed agitated and angry. Even during post-presser interviews Wilder was angry whilst Fury was calm.

So far, I still see a Wilder KO, but how far do you think Fury is getting into his head? Still 2 days until fight night & another face-to-face, & that emotional energy spent could take a toll. It did for WK, who is levels above DW! How do you see it?

Another quick thing. I’ve vaguely followed Naoya Inoue merely through progress as we don’t get his fights much here in the U.K., & I admit apathy for the very low weight classes. So, I YouTubed him recently, & now I get why he’s The Monster!

What immediately struck me (albeit from highlights) was not only speed, but his punch placement seems always spot on. And the biggest thing to strike me that I think will carry him up through the weight classes is his balance & punch leverage. He clearly has speed and skill, and also natural power. However, what struck me was that his foot and body placement always meant his power was maximised & his punches flowed through from his feet, which were always in perfect position. For someone so inexperienced I think that’s frightening for many, & will transcend more weight classes as he grows.

I will now look on with more interest. How high do you think he’ll rise? I have a feeling only size will outdo him.

Kind of MMs:

2015 Fury Vs 2018 Joshua

Inoue Vs Prime Tapia

Thanks for the Mailbag as always. A great way to start and end the week! Cheers. – Neil

Thanks for the kind words for the mailbag, Neil. I’ll go with 2018 A.J. to narrowly (perhaps controversially) outpoint 2015 Fury, and Tapia over Inoue on points at 115 pounds, but The Monster over Mi Vida Loca on points at 118.

Regarding your newfound admiration for Inoue, better late than never. We’re obviously quite high on the Japanese phenom here at The Ring and couldn’t be prouder to feature him on the cover of the upcoming February 2019 issue of the magazine.

Your observations of the boxing foundation and technique behind his fearsome punching prowess are spot on. As an old-timer (former light heavyweight contender of the 1950s and ‘60s, Paul Andrews) once told me about Joe Louis (who had managed Andrews and even trained the Buffalo, N.Y. native for short time) – “He knew how to punch, when to punch and where to punch.” That’s Inoue.

Associate Editor Tom Gray spoke to Inoue and veteran trainer Rudy Hernandez about the source of that dynamite in his fists and while I won’t spoil the cover story for you, I’ll give this one tidbit away – Inoue doesn’t believe that he’s a “natural puncher.”

As much as I’d love a Tyson Fury win, I’ve always seen a Deontay Wilder mid-round KO as it’s too much too soon for the Gypsy King, who I’ve never considered the cream of the crop anyway. I did consider Fury to be the cream of the crop at one time, and still view the lineal champ as a legit heavyweight contender, but I also favor Wilder by stoppage (mid-to-late rounds).

BUT I found this week’s antics interesting & reminded me a bit of the Klitschko fight. This week’s antics were supposed pique our interest, that’s why promoters stage fight-week presser and media events (especially with loud and emotional personalities like Wilder and Fury), but keep in mind that Wilder-Fury is a different style matchup from Klitschko-Fury, and Fury is not the same guy he was in 2015.

Fury seemed poised until the bit of showmanship at the end, & Wilder seemed agitated and angry. Fury and Wilder are natural showmen, and Wilder is fueled by emotion. I think both acted natural given the magnitude of this event and the stakes of tomorrow’s showdown.

Even during post-presser interviews Wilder was angry whilst Fury was calm. It’s probably good for Wilder to be angry and to carry a chip on his shoulder into the ring, and it’s also probably good for Fury to be cool and confident.

So far, I still see a Wilder KO, but how far do you think Fury is getting into his head? Still 2 days until fight night & another face-to-face, & that emotional energy spent could take a toll. I’m not going to read too much into their demeanor and actions at the final presser or into today’s weigh-in. I thought people did too much of that with the Canelo-Golovkin rematch, believing (or wanting to believe) that GGG was in Canelo’s head or that Canelo was nervous or too heated or whatever because of the way he charged at Golovkin on the stage after stepping off the scale. But he was obviously just fine (regardless of how you may have scored the bout).

It did for WK, who is levels above DW! Klitschko is levels above Wilder in terms of technique, but he was also older and WAY more battle-worn than the American, who is still in his prime.

How do you see it? Same as you and many others, so if we’re wrong at least we’re all in good company.

 

MYTH OR LEGEND?

Hi Doug,

So the fight that many thought wouldn’t happen (myself included) is finally here! Congratulations to The Gypsy King for an exceptional turnaround in his fortunes. Just to be back in the ring and in shape – let alone fighting for a version of the World Heavyweight championship in arguably one of the biggest fights of the year. Can he really pull it off?

My first instincts when this match was initially mooted three or four months ago was that Wilder was looking for a soft touch against a faded, troubled ex-champ who was a long way from his fighting peak, past or future. As the fight has got nearer I, like many others, have been warming to Fury’s chances. He has many attributes that Wilder has not really come across before, advantages in height, reach, speed of hand of foot – not to mention his effective awkward style, boxing brain, defensive reflexes and apparent self belief. But are some of us being swayed by the Fury hype and bluster? Being sucked in by Tyson’s mind games? Will Wilder fall prey to this also and be unable to carry out the game plan?

For a reality check, I rewatched both fighter’s most recent contest. It was quite sobering. I have no doubt that The Bronze Bomber who stopped Ortiz will be too dangerous for the Gypsy King who outpointed Pianeta. Is it really likely that Fury can improve enough in 2-3 months to gain the victory? Possible… but not likely. The best I can hope for is that we get a fight deserving of the Heavyweight Championship of the World. Boxing needs this. Enjoy the weekend. Regards. – Jeremy, UK

I will, Jeremy, even though I’ll be working my ass off as an editor. And, like you, I’m just hoping for a good heavyweight clash, which boxing ALWAYS needs.

Can (Fury) really pull it off? Of course, he can. Wilder’s a card carrying badass but he’s not invincible. He’s struggled with lesser fighters than Fury (Gerald Washington and Artur Szpilka come to mind), but he also knocked those dudes the f__k out.

My first instincts when this match was initially mooted three or four months ago was that Wilder was looking for a soft touch against a faded, troubled ex-champ who was a long way from his fighting peak, past or future. I think Team Wilder was merely looking for the BIGGEST fight possible while waiting for a shot at Anthony Joshua.

As the fight has got nearer I, like many others, have been warming to Fury’s chances. Same here, just not enough to pick him, but I’m pleased that he appears to have had a great camp.

He has many attributes that Wilder has not really come across before, advantages in height, reach, speed of hand of foot – not to mention his effective awkward style, boxing brain, defensive reflexes and apparent self belief. True. But it’s also true that Fury’s never faced an opponent with Wilder’s attributes.

But are some of us being swayed by the Fury hype and bluster? YES! Fury is extremely charismatic. That’s what charisma does us average everyday saps. Most of us are powerless in the bold face of The Gypsy King’s charm!

Being sucked in by Tyson’s mind games? Who? The media? Yes. The fans? Many, but not all.

Will Wilder fall prey to this also and be unable to carry out the game plan? That remains to be seen.

For a reality check, I rewatched both fighters’ most recent contest. It was quite sobering. Watching boxing sober? How sad.

I have no doubt that The Bronze Bomber who stopped Ortiz will be too dangerous for the Gypsy King who outpointed Pianeta. Same here, but Wilder will not be facing the version of Fury that outpointed Pianeta.

Is it really likely that Fury can improve enough in 2-3 months to gain the victory? He absolutely can and probably has improved. We won’t know if it’s enough to get the ‘W’ until tomorrow night.

Possible… but not likely. That’s how most of average everyday saps that follow boxing closely see it. However, Fury isn’t an average everyday sap. He’s The Gypsy King, and he’s still the lineal champ until somebody whups him in the ring.

 

FURY’S GOT THIS

Hi Dougie,

Haven’t written in a while but thank you for your mailbags, still love to read them after all these years.

A few thoughts on Wilder v Fury. The more I’ve thought about it, the more I struggle to see anything but a Fury win on Saturday. Why?

Wilder is crude, his technique is sloppy and he is wild so makes too many mistakes. Fury is a boxing man through and through, solid fundamentals and technique along with being elusive. If Wlad can’t get to Fury, I don’t give Wilder much of a chance (of course, he has a puncher’s chance but that is it in my opinion) and it could be very one sided down the stretch.

If Fury’s stamina holds up (he looks in good shape, I don’t buy into the inactivity argument), I see a total boxing lesson where Fury wins comfortably on points or he grinds Wilder down to a late stoppage. I’ve put my money where my mouth is too!

You seemed to be leaning towards Wilder initially but maybe changing your mind? – CJ, UK

I definitely give Fury more of shot of winning than I did when this fight was initially made. When it was first announced, I wasn’t confident that Fury could even make it through a serious, hard camp for a major fight or deal with press and pressure, but he’s done it, and here we are, the day before big show. Fury’s obviously conquered his demons. We’ll see if he can conquer Wilder.

I still favor the puncher over the boxer on Saturday, but I’ve been wrong before when going with power and athleticism over skill and ring generalship, and I could be wrong again.

The more I’ve thought about it, the more I struggle to see anything but a Fury win on Saturday. Fair enough, but maybe you’re over-thinking it.

Wilder is crude, his technique is sloppy and he is wild so makes too many mistakes.

Deontay Wilder (right) drops a bomb on Luis Ortiz. Photo by Amanda Westcott/SHOWTIME

Wilder drops a bomb on Luis Ortiz. Photo by Amanda Westcott/SHOWTIME

Yeah, we know this. His bread and butter is raw, explosive power. He’s a bona-fide puncher. And punchers are often vulnerable. The best pure puncher of my lifetime, Julian Jackson, could be outboxed and he could be knocked out, but how many fighters were able to do that when he was still in his prime? A great puncher can be getting totally schooled by a superior boxer and still end the fight a single punch. He can be on the brink of getting KTFO and still turn the fight around with the proverbial “eraser.”

Fury is a boxing man through and through, solid fundamentals and technique along with being elusive. He moves well for such a big man, and he knows his way around the ring, but he can be sloppy at times. He’s not a textbook technician (although his unorthodoxy usually serves him well).

If Wlad can’t get to Fury, I don’t give Wilder much of a chance (of course, he has a puncher’s chance but that is it in my opinion) and it could be very one sided down the stretch. The Klitschko-Wilder comparisons don’t make much sense to me. Klitschko was a classic stand-up boxer-puncher with traditional fundamentals. The Klitschko-Fury matchup was technical boxer-puncher vs. unorthodox ring general. Wilder-Fury is a different style matchup. Wilder has some technique, but he generally prevails with his blend of speed, power and heart. He’s an intuitive FIGHTER with world-class athleticism and power. Fury is the boxer of the matchup, as we all know. We’ll see which style and attributes ultimately rule the ring tomorrow night.

If Fury’s stamina holds up (he looks in good shape, I don’t buy into the inactivity argument), I see a total boxing lesson where Fury wins comfortably on points or he grinds Wilder down to a late stoppage. I’ve put my money where my mouth is too! Hey, good luck to Fury and to you. He can do it, but 12 rounds is a long time to steer clear of Wilder’s bombs.

 

SATURDAY NIGHT ACTION

Hey Dougie,

Saturday is right around the corner & I’m fired up! Didn’t see your pick on the prediction article posted recently—who do you like in the heavyweight fight & how do you see it unfolding? I’ve gone back & forth a bunch during the lead up, but I’m settling on Wilder in a close/somewhat controversial decision. I envision Fury getting off to an early lead, giving different looks & making Wilder think rounds 1-6. I don’t see Wilder getting discouraged though, and could see him getting a knockdown & wobbling Fury a couple times for a few 10-8 rounds in the 2nd half of the fight. I think Fury has the survival instincts to see it to the end, but he can’t afford to have any mental lapses whatsoever. Am I nuts to think Wilder can get it done on the scorecards rather than the popular KO pick? Would love to hear your thoughts.

How can you not be a fan of Hurd?? Seems like he’s just a good humble dude & genuinely wants all the smoke at 154. Do you think the Charlo fight happens next assuming they both win? Hurd’s building a sneaky good resume—would you peg him as the favorite in that matchup?

Lastly, do you think this the fight where Stevenson gets pushed off the proverbial cliff? He’s no spring chicken at 41 and I have to imagine that Jack fight took a lot out of him.

What’s it look like:

Naseem Hamed vs Azumah Nelson (@126), JMM vs Arguello (@126), Oscar vs Pryor @140

-DJ

I’ll go with Nelson (late 1984-through-’85 featherweight version) by close decision or late stoppage; Arguello and Pryor by close but unanimous decision.

I think Stevenson is ready to be pushed off the proverbial cliff but he’s still very dangerous. Like Wilder, Stevenson is an athletic puncher, he instantly turn a fight with a single shot. Gvozdyk will need an answer for Stevenson’s excellent jab, debilitating body work, and, of course, that lightning bolt

The Nail’s got a good right hand. Photo: Twitter @trboxing

straight left. But I like The Nail’s chances. Badou Jack almost dethroned Stevenson, and Gvozdyk’s style and strengths are a lot like the veteran. The Nail is a strong technician like Jack but the 31-year-old Ukrainian is fresher, has better footwork and is more accurate with his right hand and uppercuts. He doesn’t pressure as well as Jack or go to the body as well as the former super middleweight titleholder, and we won’t know if he can take Stevenson’s power as well as Jack did until the fight is on.

How can you not be a fan of Hurd?? Only the squeamish are turned off by Hurd.

Seems like he’s just a good humble dude & genuinely wants all the smoke at 154. Yep, and maybe some smoke at 160, too.

Do you think the Charlo fight happens next assuming they both win? I certainly hope so! Hurd and Charlo are 28. They’re in their primes right now, and there’s no bigger fight that can be made in the 154-pound division.

Hurd’s building a sneaky good resume—would you peg him as the favorite in that matchup? No, I think it’s an even-money fight, but I lean toward Charlo. I think tall, rangy boxer can stick and move his way to a narrow (and entertaining) points win.

I’ve gone back & forth a bunch during the lead up, but I’m settling on Wilder in a close/somewhat controversial decision. That’s possible. I think Wilder will the benefit of the doubt from the official judges in the close rounds.

I envision Fury getting off to an early lead, giving different looks & making Wilder think rounds 1-6. I can see that too. Here’s a question: What happens if Fury is able to hurt Wilder during the first half of the fight? Does that change things?

I don’t see Wilder getting discouraged though, and could see him getting a knockdown & wobbling Fury a couple times for a few 10-8 rounds in the 2nd half of the fight. Me too.

I think Fury has the survival instincts to see it to the end, but he can’t afford to have any mental lapses whatsoever. No doubt about it.

Am I nuts to think Wilder can get it done on the scorecards rather than the popular KO pick? Not at all, but a stoppage victory seems more probable. Fury’s going to be hard to outpoint, round after round, due to his reach and movement.

 

TOO EXCITED/EMOTIONAL

Hey Doug,

Greetings from Oxford, UK. I hope you and your family are well. This is my first email to the mailbag, even though I have been reading every one for the last few years. But I’ve finally plucked up the courage. I’ve been anticipating the upcoming Fury v Wilder fight and I realised I am tense in a way that has only happened a handful of times. I think, in this case, it’s because both men have bigged themselves up so much that it’s hard to see how someone can lose with their credibility intact. Occasionally a fight gets to me like this, and I wondered if you have the same experience.

For me, the fights were:

– Bruno vs McCall – my Dad and I watched this on holiday on the south coast of England. We were so desperate for Bruno to win, but had watched him fall short so many times. The last minute of round 12 was agonising.

– Froch vs Groves II – I had a horrible feeling the Cobra would get crushed, and I never wanted to see that. Thankfully it was not to be.

– Mayweather vs Pacquiao – I’m a big Pacquiao fan, and was so shocked by the Marquez KO (which I’d not watched live), that I’d lost my confidence in his chin. Instead it turned out to be the letdown of the century (why was I surprised?).

– Haye vs Bellew II – I don’t know why this is, but the first fight was so dramatic, and the ego’s were huge. This fight didn’t disappoint, or fail to shock me.  Are there any bouts that have caused your emotions to get the better of you?

Thanks again for the awesome mailbag – keep it going! Enjoy this weekend’s fights! – Adam

I will, and I’ll keep the mailbag going at least until it’s 20th birthday (which won’t be until 2021).

I don’t think I’ve been over-emotional in regard to a boxing match since I was a kid or teenager. I know that I was very sensitive about Muhammad Ali when I was a boy. I couldn’t tolerate anyone saying he was “old”/washed up or would lose an upcoming fight or had deserved to lose a previous fight. But I knew that he was near the end of a very long career, so I wasn’t totally heart broken when he lost to Leon Spinks and Larry Holmes (although I wasn’t able to watch those fights live and purposely avoided watching them once I learned of the results – and, no, I haven’t seen those fights in their entirety to this day; I’m weird like that). Sugar Ray Leonard, on the other hand, I truly believed was invincible. So, I was crushed when I learned of his first loss to Roberto Duran (who I knew nothing about). Even after he beat Hands of Stone in their immediate rematch, I worried about his tough fights going forward because I realized that even a once-in-a-lifetime talent in his prime could lose if he challenges himself against the best of his era. So, I was beyond nervous for my idol going into his first fight against Thomas Hearns. I was saying prayers for Ray and everything. Six years later, during my junior year in high school, I was overcome with a mix of excitement and fear during the long build-up to his comeback fight against Marvin Hagler. I read every general sports and boxing magazine that previewed the Super Fight that I could get my hands on, as well as every newspaper article and sports-pages column in the country that covered it (via my public library – hey, this was pre-internet), but I was nervous to talk about the middleweight championship with my friends and school mates because I knew everyone that had an opinion on the matchup thought Leonard was going to get his ass kicked. Boxing wasn’t popular in southern Missouri but most of the kids who went to my school preferred the hardnosed blue-collar Hagler over “glamor boy” Leonard, especially the jocks that were among the few to casually follow the sport. The subject of the fight would often come up in the boys locker room, and I recall most of the football players and older members of the track team were Hagler guys (one senior sprinter, Bobby Janke, had a Fu-Manchu mustache/goatee like the Marvelous One). Even the dudes that liked Leonard thought he was gonna be brutally KO’d and maybe even blinded (due to his previous retina injury). I didn’t argue with anyone because even though I didn’t like Hagler, I respected him. I just hoped my guy could get through the fight without serious injury and with his dignity.

 

BOXER VS. PUNCHER

Dear Dougie,

It seems like the common theme in every boxer vs puncher analysis is that the boxer will eventually have to earn the puncher’s respect by landing something that warrants respect.

I’ve been reading the breakdowns for Wilder vs Fury and no one seems to be saying that for Fury. They all seem to say that he has great boxing ability, great movement and a high boxing IQ. Those who are picking him say he will frustrate Wilder and do enough to win on points. Why doesn’t the old adage of gaining respect apply here?

I don’t see Wilder coming out flat and being hesitant like Klitschko in this fight. He’s simply too hungry.

Do you think Fury can win this fight without gaining Wilder’s respect? Please give us your final breakdown. Thanks. – Gilbert

I think Fury has come a long way since his self-imposed exile and downward spiral, and because of this he’s become the feel-good boxing story of 2018 (so far). He’s also genuine character and showman, and boxing doesn’t have many of those. So, the media has embraced and encouraged him and let him tell his inspirational story on his terms. Nobody’s really challenged him or asked the hard questions in interviews, so his confidence has grown as he’s gotten his body into fighting shape. It’s all been good for the promotion of the fight, but when Fury steps into the ring tomorrow night, Wilder WILL ask him the tough questions with his fists. Fury will be challenged, and then and only then will we see how strong his recovery is. I think Wilder will gradually chip away at Fury’s confidence and strike when the lineal champ begins the feel the burn of fatigue.

It seems like the common theme in every boxer vs puncher analysis is that the boxer will eventually have to earn the puncher’s respect by landing something that warrants respect. I agree with this theory.

I’ve been reading the breakdowns for Wilder vs Fury and no one seems to be saying that for Fury. Wishful thinking?

Those who are picking him say he will frustrate Wilder and do enough to win on points. Why doesn’t the old adage of gaining respect apply here? Well, I can’t speak for them, but maybe they believe that Fury will earn respect through his frustrating tactics.

I don’t see Wilder coming out flat and being hesitant like Klitschko in this fight. He’s simply too hungry. I agree. His career and legacy hinges on this fight.

Do you think Fury can win this fight without gaining Wilder’s respect? No, but I think he can hurt Wilder, so I do expect him to gain at least some respect.

 

BOXING WINS

Hi Doug,

Hope you, the family and the team are all well. Right, it’s on! I’m sure you have a million e-mails with fight picks so I’ll come at it from a slightly different point of view. It really doesn’t matter who wins. Whatever the outcome, boxing wins. If we get, and I feel we will, a great fight out of it, then even better! Also, this fight is great for the heavyweight division. The winner will walk away and can say he’s the lineal heavyweight champion of the world, with the most prestigious WBC belt.

Don’t misunderstand me, I like AJ and Hearn, but for a while now it seemed like he was having all the manful fights while picking up all the belts. While Wilder, through no fault of his own, was doing his version of “bum of the month” and Fury was out of the picture. This is great. Fury and Wilder can put two fingers up at AJ and Eddie and really mix up the division. If the fight is a classic, then a rematch between the two keeps this interesting and we’d all still like to see AJ eventually fight the winner and loser of Saturdays night fight.

When or if we eventually get an undisputed heavyweight champion, these types of fights make it more meaningful, as opposed to beating, with no disrespect, a bunch of guys who are a level below the top three.

With regards to Fury and Wilder I like them both. Let’s not forget that as good of a job AJ and Hearn have done to put the heavyweight division back on the map, it was Fury who shook up the division. He’s outspoken and not everyone’s cup of tea, but you can’t not admire or respect what he’s done to get himself fit, both mentally and physically and into a position to be fighting for the heavyweight championship of the world.

Wilder too is a nice guy. The motivation to get into boxing to help his daughter is clearly still there and an example too all.

My 2 cents: I’ll be shouting for Fury as he’s my country man, but I feel he’s never experienced anyone like Wilder. Wilder will take risks and go for him. Yes, Wilder might get caught on the way in, but he’s shown against Ortiz, even with a little help from the ref, that he can recover from getting hurt and come back and finish the job. Fury hasn’t shown that yet and yes you can say he’s been too good to let that happen to him, but I don’t think he’s been in with anyone who has gone for him like that also. If the Haye fight would have happened of if Vlad had taken a few more risks we know more. Therefore I think Wilder KO in 7.

Have a great weekend, and look forward to hearing your views on the fight and the Heavyweight landscape on Monday. – Tabraze, London, UK

There will be much to talk about, Tabraze. As you noted, regardless of who wins, the best case scenario is if we get an entertaining and dramatic fight (where neither man is seriously hurt). Nothing injects the sport with enthusiasm and excitement as much as thrilling heavyweight title bout. Joshua-Klitschko was a huge shot in the arm for boxing. I know you credit Fury for shaking up the heavyweight division, and he did with his upset of Klistchko, but I think AJ vs. WK elevated the entire sport.

I agree with your pick (although I think it might take Wilder longer to finish Fury) and I agree that a good scrap on Saturday probably leads to a rematch before it does a showdown between the winner and Joshua.

However, I believe we will eventually get an undisputed heavyweight champion – if not in the fall or winter of 2019 then definitely in 2020.

 

Email Fischer at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter at @dougiefischer and on Persicope.

 

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