Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder Fight to a Controversial DrawBy now, you probably know all about Tyson Fury’s controversial draw with Deontay Wilder, in which Wilder knocked down Fury twice and came within a second of knocking him out in the 12th round. So, to not repeat facts, a few quick thoughts.
In 2018, memes are a strangely good way to tell what impact a fight had on mainstream culture. So, in a night where the sports world was already buzzing about NCAA football conference championship games it was good to see how much Twitter was talking about the fight. Wilder’s mask choice initially had people talking, with people comparing it to everything from Dragonball Z to Master Shredder. “Cosmo’s Glam Squad,” a fashion boutique out of LA, is taking credit for creating the mask on twitter, so it was apparently high fashion. From there, people started complaining about the fight not being exciting, until Wilder’s 12th round near-knockout produced all sorts of Twitter reactions.
The GIF of the Undertaker rising from the dead was a prominent comparison, while others preferred to leave the knockdown alone, but insert clever labels comparing times when they had no desire to get up but then something led them to immediately spring to their feet. Unfortunately, the most common social media reaction was to scream “robbery.”
This seems unwarranted. For Deontay Wilder to have won a 12-round fight with two knockdowns, he would have to win three of the rounds where he didn’t put Fury down. That’s not a hugely difficult thing to find, and it should be noted that Dan Rafael, Claressa Shields, and George Foreman all thought Fury should have won. So, call it a controversial draw, or a questionable decision, but let’s save “robbery” for really special occasions.
Olekdanr Gvozdyk’s Knockout Leaves Adonis Stevenson in Medically Induced ComaOleksandr Gvozdyk knocked out Adonis Stevenson in the 11th round of their fight in Stevenson’s hometown of Quebec City on Saturday night. It was Stevenson’s first loss in eight years, and only his second career defeat. It made Gvozdyk the WBC Light Heavyweight Champion of the world, brought him to 16-0 with 13 knockouts, and came at a time when he was down on two of the three judge's scorecards. It made Gvozdyk the third professional champion from the 2012 Ukranian Olympic team, alongside Vasyl Lomachenko and Oleksandr Usyk. And on Sunday morning, none of that mattered.
After the fight, Adonis Stevenson was placed in a medically induced coma, and was considered in “critical condition” for hours before being upgraded to "stable" condition. While that is a relatively good sign, there is still no certainty what will happen to the 41-year old fighter, and even if Stevenson survives there’s no certainty what kind of damage he may be dealing with. It’s hard not to think of Gerald McLellan’s mental abilities following his knockout loss to Nigel Benn when reading about Stevenson’s condition.
There’s an oft-repeated line attributed to all sorts of different people that you “play” other sports, but you don’t “play” boxing. I always hated that line; it sounded like something that belonged on the back of an “AND 1” shirt or a cheesy movie tagline, while smart-alecks could point out that you don’t really “play” gymnastics or swimming either. The truth is a bit more morbid. You don’t die from baseball, you don’t die from basketball, and even in a sport like car racing, deaths mean somebody made a mistake. Boxing is the only sport where doing exactly what you’re supposed to do leads to people dying.
Benny Paret died in the ring. Deuk Koo-Kim died in the ring. Tim Hague died in the ring last year, and the man who we all hoped Stevenson would face for years, Sergey Kovalev, killed a man in the ring when Roman Simakov died in 2011. So, while we whine about bad decisions, mismatches and skyrocketing PPV prices, we must also maintain perspective. Boxers enter the ring knowing they face the very real possibility of being beaten to death, and it would be nice if we acknowledged that sometime other than in the aftermath of a tragedy.
Jeff Horn Stops a Shot Anthony Mundine in One RoundDespite all his bravado and racially-based trash talk, at the end of the day, at 43 and having fought 56 times as a professional, Anthony Mundine was too old and too shot to put up a fight against Jeff “The Hornet” Horn in their all-Australian battle. Not known as an especially devastating puncher and fighting at a 156-pound catchweight after campaigning as a welterweight, Horn knocked out Mundine with just one left hook, sending Mundine into retirement.
After the fight, Horn’s people expressed a desire for a fight against a big name in Australia, citing a Terence Crawford rematch as his top priority. That won’t happen -- Crawford’s too big a star to come to Australia and nobody wants to see that rematch -- but after this impressive win it wouldn’t be shocking to see him get a fight against a mid-level welterweight if the Australian fans show up for him and the money is there to be made.
Jarrett Hurd Beats Jason Welborn Then Confronts Jermell CharloFor their fight, Jarrett Hurd was paid $1 million and Jason Welborn was paid $30,000. If that wasn’t enough evidence that Hurd was a far superior fighter to Welborn, the ease with which he stopped Welborn in the fourth round was. Hurd took the fight because he knew Welborn would be exciting, and perfect for him to work on some stuff following a shoulder injury. That’s pretty much what Hurd did for three rounds, before in the fourth he had enough practice and opted to knock Welborn out by stepping up his aggression.
After the fight, Hurd was confronted by Jermell Charlo in the ring who expressed a desire for that fight. Both parties seemed willing to make that happen, however, Hurd said that fight will happen this summer, after he faces a “top-flight” fighter in preparation for Charlo this spring. So, more waiting.
Luis Ortiz Cruises Past American Travis KauffmanWith YouTube star Jake Paul inexplicably in his corner, Luis Ortiz knocked out American Travis Kauffman in the 10th round of a fight like he was supposed to, after dominating throughout. Ortiz dropped Kaufman -- who once pleaded guilty to raping a 12-year-old girl but was later acquitted -- three times before the fight was stopped.
After the fight, Ortiz said that he wanted the winner of the Wilder-Fury matchup, but that’s highly unlikely given the result of that fight and the money a fight against Anthony Joshua would provide for either of those fighters. Watch for him to learn from Jake Paul and start some fake beefs with other fighters or do something intentionally offensive to get his name in the headlines.
Robert Guerrero, “J Rock,” Arreola and Deontay Wilder’s Brother Pick up Easy Undercard WinsThe good news is, Deontay Wilder’s brother Marsellos moved to 3-0 with two knockouts. The bad news is, his opponents have a combined record of 1-10-3. Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero also stopped his opponent in the second round of his big comeback bout with 28-12 Hungarian and terrible tattoo haver Aron Mate, and Julian “J Rock” Williams stopped Mexico’s Francisco Javier Castro who was 1-4 in his last five fights. Chris Arreola stopped 20-10 heavyweight and Tiger Woods lookalike Maurenzo Smith as well. Compelling matchups, all of them.
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