Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Jack Reiss on Wilder-Fury

Although he has been a referee for over 20 years, and a damn good one at that, Jack Reiss finally had his signature moment in boxing as the third man in the ring for the Deontay Wilder-Tyson Fury fight. In the final round of a dramatic and tense affair, Wilder sent Fury crashing down to the canvas with a pulverizing right hand/left hook combination. Because of the ferocity of the combination and the way that Fury fell, most watching assumed that the fight was over. Many (perhaps most) referees would have stopped the fight at that very moment, without even issuing a ten-count. Yet there Jack was, standing over Fury, patiently administering the count, giving Fury the chance to continue.

In an unforgettable scene, Fury somehow rose to his feet. Reiss looked at the fighter and gave him a series of commands. This was another juncture where many referees could have and perhaps would have stopped the fight. But Reiss, with a background in dealing with trauma from his decades of work with the Los Angeles Fire Department, determined that Fury was able to continue. And in an almost unfathomable series of events, Fury would go on to get the best of the Wilder throughout the rest of the round.

At the end of the fight Fury raised his arms believing that he had won. Although Wilder scored two knockdowns in the match, leading to two 10-8 rounds, most ringside observers thought that Fury had done enough to win. Unfortunately for Fury, a poor 115-111 scorecard for Wilder led to the fight being declared a draw. And while that judge (Alejandro Rochin) has been criticized for his performance, the official result has not lessened the quality of the fight, Fury’s resilience or Reiss’s performance.

I spoke with Reiss a few days ago and what follows are his own words, as he recounts the unforgettable 12th round from his perspective, his preparations leading up to the fight, and the detailed and specific warnings that he gave to each fighter in the dressing room. Here’s Jack:

The following has been edited and condensed:

Reiss giving the count for Fury in the 12th round.
Photo Courtesy of Esther Lin/Showtime

THIS FIGHT WAS SO BIG and I did my research. I addressed many issues 10, 15 days out. I wrote the commission and I told my boss: There are some issues we need to address on the front end to save us from controversy. Number one: The inspector who is checking the ropes that day has to make it tight enough that 500 pounds of hard charging guys can fall against it and not go over – that the ropes will support them.

Number two: They both had a history of wearing their trunks well above their wastes, almost up to their nipples. I sent pictures of everything and I sent them the rules from the book, from the California Athletic Commission and the ABC [The Association of Boxing Commissions]. I sent pictures that were unacceptable and pictures that were acceptable.

The last thing I addressed was their beards. I said we don’t want any stupid controversies from a beard. I’m not asking them to shave it off, but they have to be neat and trim. And when we asked Tyson Fury, he shaved his whole beard off. When we asked Wilder, he trimmed it down to nothing. Their trunks weren’t an issue. The ropes weren’t an issue. And their beards weren’t an issue.

IN THE DRESSING ROOM I specifically addressed a few issues. It was give-and-take with each fighter and very respectful. I told each guy what my expectations were for the fight. I said “Look Tyson, I’m not picking on you but I’ve watched your fights before. And there are three things I don’t want you to do in that ring.” Number one, when you switch to lefty, you paw with that right jab. You end up throwing a backhand. You don’t throw a jab. You got to straighten it out and the front of your fist has to hit him. You cannot hit him with the back of your hand.

Number two, when you fought Cunningham, you pushed him and as he was falling off balance you covered the distance and took advantage of him being off balance. You spread his chin up with your forearm and then you hit him. You hit him and knocked him out. I will not allow that. You can’t do that.

Number three, with Klitschko, you hit him 25 times with rabbit punches behind the head. It is not acceptable. You’re not going to do it. I wound up going over a number of things and again, it was very respectful. He actually apologized, like I caught a kid with his hand in the cookie jar. He said that’s not going to happen. He wanted it to be clean. 

And I told Deontay things too. I said Deontay, you can’t leave your arm out and use it as a spear. You can’t steer his head, turn his face to the right and drop a right hand on it. You can’t do it. That arm has to be used as a punch or not. I went over a bunch of things with them and they didn’t do any of it. And this was all done before the fight.

I DON’T WANT TO TAKE all the credit for it, but I got to explain something...I made it very clear to both of them what I expected of them and what they could expect of me. I implored them. I told them that this is the top of the food chain in heavyweight boxing. You guys are well respected. Let’s not make it messy. Let’s not make it unfair with fouls.

First of all Deontay Wilder is a clean fighter. Four fights, I’ve never had a problem with him. Tyson said to me, “Jack, if I knock him out it’s not going to be because he’s on the ground and I hit him. I don’t want people saying I won this fight unfairly. I want this to go down on the record as fair.” 

And they fought extremely clean. Tyson only hit him behind the head once. Deontay only hit him low once. It was great. They fought clean. They did everything I asked them to do. If I said stop, they stopped.

IT WAS A CLOSE FIGHT. They were both very wary of each other, worried about overcommitting. Deontay was trying to jump in and knock him out at times, but they both respected each other’s power. Neither one of them took an exorbitant amount of damage.

In the ninth round leading up to the first knockdown, Tyson was trying to get out of the way and he was dipping at the waist. And he put his body in a place where he got hit with shots – not too clean – but he got knocked off balance. Arguably, the last one might have hit him a little bit south of the ear, but it was his fault; he put himself in that position. It wasn’t like Deontay was targeting the back of his head. So I got to call it a knockdown. It was not a devastating blow at all. It was more of an off-balance thing.

I SAID TO MYSELF GOING into the 12th round “No harm no foul.” I’m not taking any points unless it’s flagrant. It’s too good of a fight. And we’re going to let this fight go. This is great. 

I don’t want to be right. I want to do what’s right. I want to do what’s best for boxing. I’ve always been taught to count a champion out. And I always want to do what’s best. I did a baseline on the fighters and I’m watching the progressive damage and fatigue throughout the fight. They both went into the 12th round with a lot of energy. Neither one of them had taken a lot of damage throughout the fight. The first knockdown in the ninth round was more of a balance type thing for Tyson.

So when he went down in the 12th…first of all, his face was away from me. So when he went down and his head hit the ground, I got Deontay moving away. I picked up the count and I said to myself, “Let me see what I got.” So I went down on one knee, scooted in to get right over his face, figuring in my mind I was counting him out because of the way he went down. But when I got over his face, I noticed he was grimacing. So I knew there was somebody in there if you know what I mean. He wasn’t out cold. He was grimacing. And as soon as I counted “five,” he popped up like when you startle a drunk. His eyes came open very far and wide. He looked at me. He made a weird sound and then he rolled over and got up.

Then I had to assess if he was able to intelligently defend himself because that was a hard knockdown. And he was immediately telling me that he was OK. I said do you want to continue and he said “Yes, yes.” He put his arms over my shoulder but I didn’t want anyone to perceive that he was leaning on me. So I knocked his arms off and I said walk to the left and come back to me. And he showed me and everybody else that he was in full control of his body. And he was ready to go, so I let him go.

IT WAS NOT HARD FOR me at all to let Tyson continue because I had the history of the fight and I saw the way he got up. He followed every one of my commands. He was asking me to continue.

In the dressing room I told him that if you get knocked down, I want you to answer my questions and shake your head up and down. Show me you can continue. And hid did. So I felt comfortable.

On a side note, because of the power of Wilder and because they are heavyweights, I let Tyson go, but I stayed close to see what he was going to do. If he was going to stand there and fight back right away, it would have made me nervous. He tried to hold a little bit. He threw some punches and then walked away. He got back his total wherewithal and then he started fighting.

If he would have gotten in trouble, I would have been able to pull him out because I stayed close. But he didn’t so I backed the hell off and he hurt Wilder.

I TEACH FOR THE ABC, the Association of Boxing Commissions. I go around the world teaching. And I get people who disagree with me and they’re pretty vocal about it – you know, referees. The other night I practiced what I preached. I believe that I’m not there to do the easy thing. I’m there to do the right thing.

I’ve been fortunate enough to get some really good fights but this fight being that it was two heavyweights, 6’9” and 6’7”, pay per view, unscripted. It was a way for me to prove to myself that I belong. I know that sounds stupid after all these years. But it was just personally satisfying to me to get out there, do my best, practice what I preach and back up what I’ve always preached. It was really gratifying.

Adam Abramowitz is the founder and head writer of saturdaynightboxing.comHe's a member of Ring Magazine's Ring Ratings Panel and a Board Member for the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board. 
Email: saturdaynightboxing@hotmail.com.
snboxing on twitter. SN Boxing on Facebook.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Punch 2 the Face Podcast

In this week's Punch 2 the Face Podcast, Brandon and I covered Wilder-Fury from all the angles. What should the scores have been and what's next for both fighters? We praised Oleksandr Gvozdyk's performance against Adonis Stevenson. We also previewed this week's Lomachenko-Pedraza fight card, which also features the exciting Isaac Dogboe back in action.   
Click on the links below to listen.

Adam Abramowitz is the founder and head writer of saturdaynightboxing.comHe's a member of Ring Magazine's Ring Ratings Panel and a Board Member for the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board. 
snboxing on twitter. SN Boxing on Facebook.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Opinions and Observations: Wilder-Fury

Like all of you, I thought that the fight was over in the 12th. Deontay Wilder unfurls a pulverizing right hand/left hook combination. Tyson Fury crashes to the canvas. Referee Jack Reiss starts the count, but it's just a formality, right? Fighters don't get up from that type of heavyweight thunder, especially from Wilder, the boogieman: He who hath knocked out every single opponent. Fury rolls around on the canvas, his dream of reclaiming a heavyweight championship title is mere seconds away from going up in smoke. 

What kind of man gets up from such devastation? 

Photo Courtesy of Esther Lin/Showtime

After becoming heavyweight championship in 2015, Fury entered a personal abyss of depression, hard living and drugs. By his estimation he had ballooned to 400 lbs., and he wanted no part of boxing. He would lose all his titles without appearing in the ring. Furthermore, he was suspended by the British Boxing Board of Control for failing a drug test. He announced his retirement from boxing multiple times and quickly was becoming the type of cautionary tale that is seen too often in sports, and one that rarely involves a happy ending.

But something clicked earlier this year for Fury and he decided to give it another go, not just regarding boxing, but for life in general. Overcoming the crippling effects of depression, Fury rededicated himself to the sport. He made some changes with his team, replacing his uncle and longtime trainer Peter Fury with little known 26-year-old Ben Davison. In addition, he also aligned himself with promoter Frank Warren. He was aiming dead set for the top of the division. 

Prior to Saturday Fury had fought twice this year; both were against lesser opponents. His performances weren't anything special, but there were signs in his most recent bout against Francesco Pianeta that Fury the cagey boxer was resurfacing. However, there was still hard work to be done. In total, Fury lost more than 100 lbs. and perhaps even more importantly, he had to get himself into the right physical and mental shape to go 12 rounds against the hardest heavyweight puncher of his era.  

Fury's dominant performance in 2015 against Wladimir Klitschko suggested that he had the technical capability and mental fortitude to win at the highest level of the heavyweight division. But it was anyone's guess, after his years in the wilderness, as to whether he could recover his best form in the ring. 

And yet there Fury was on Saturday night, boxing beautifully, flummoxing Wilder with an array of feints, movement, jabs and solid right hands. It was as if the intervening three years had never happened. Through most of the fight Fury's defense was terrific, repeatedly slipping under Wilder's right hands and either countering with sharp shots or tying up to limit follow up punches. 

In some ways Fury was even better on Saturday than he had been against Klitschko. I thought that he was far more offensively-minded against Wilder, not merely trying to neutralize. And unlike Klitschko, Wilder winged bad-intentioned bombs all 12 rounds of the fight. Fury needed to be switched on to avoid danger throughout the match. 

Overall it was an improbable tale and an almost unbelievable site to witness. A man returns from the pits of hell to get the better of one of the best. 


Through eight rounds of the fight, things weren't going well for Wilder. Yes, it's possible that he could have nicked a round or two but he was well behind. Wilder would unload with wild haymakers, most of which missed, while Fury would control the action with expert boxing and ring generalship. 

From moment one of the fight, Fury imposed himself physically. Using his height, reach and movement, Fury gave Wilder little to hit and dictated the flow of the fight. Fury's reflexes and footwork were so superior that there was no range where Wilder had an advantage. 

Photo Courtesy of Esther Lin/Showtime

In addition to Fury's physical and technical superiority, Wilder also had to deal with Fury's constant mockery in the ring. Fury demonstrated a tour de force of psychological gamesmanship throughout the fight. Just in the first round, Fury put his hands behind his back daring Wilder to hit him, he raised his arms up like he had already been declared the winner, he stuck his tongue out, danced, feinted with every part of his body except his ass, and this pattern continued round after round. 

It's easy to understand why fighters would want to give up against Fury. He's extremely difficult to hit and he consistently tries to embarrass his opponents. And in my experience in following boxing, a fighter would rather get knocked out than be embarrassed in the ring. Almost everything Wilder tried didn't work. Although he landed here and there with a stray jab or a right hand, there was little sustained success. He was being beaten, consistently, and he knew it. 

But it takes a rare breed of fighter to keep going for the win after being rendered ineffective time after time. It almost runs counter to human nature. We're not trained to deal with failure well. Yes, Wilder has been blessed with uncommon God-given power in his right hand. But it's more than that; it's his faith that his moment will materialize and his self-belief that he can land his best, whatever the circumstances and in whatever setting.  

In the ninth round Wilder made a subtle adjustment that heralded the first significant change in the fight. Instead of (over)shooting the right hand with maximum force, he followed up the right with a sweeping left hook. This punch had been available for Wilder all fight, and in truth finishing a combination with a left hook is fairly common in the sport, but for Wilder, one shot has more often been enough throughout his career. He punches in combination sparingly. 

Wilder exploded with a four-punch combination in the ninth that featured two right hands and two left hooks, and Fury fell to the canvas. It wasn't Wilder's cleanest knockdown, but it was an equilibrium shot. More importantly, it was a sign that Fury could be dented. 

But Fury rallied. He not only survived the ninth round, he was getting the best of the action as it ended. In the 10th and 11th the previous pattern of the fight was restored: Wilder mostly failed to connect with haymakers while Fury continued to pick up points with superior boxing and movement. 

In the final round, however, it happened, or so we all thought – that one moment where Wilder would forever change the fight. He threw a perfect two-punch combination: a blistering right hand and a whipping left hook, and Fury was out (or so we all thought).


Many referees would have waved off the fight immediately. We see this every weekend in boxing where the ref doesn't even bother to go through the motions of a count and calls an end to the fight, but Jack Reiss isn't such a ref.  

Here's a quote from Reiss in an interview I did with him last year: "Everything I’m about to do I’m always asking the question, 'What’s the best thing for me to do for boxing in this situation?' Whether it’s stopping it or letting it go, whether it’s taking points or not, in every single fight my goal is the bigger picture…any time I don’t insert myself and bring controversy to boxing, to the commission or myself, that’s the goal."

Photo Courtesy of Esther Lin/Showtime

On Saturday, Reiss followed his philosophy to a T. He did what was best for boxing, which was providing the opportunity for a compelling fight to continue. But that was only one level of his exemplary work on Saturday. Not only did he administer a count that many refs wouldn't have even bothered with, but after careful examination he determined that Fury had enough of his faculties to remain competitive. Refs are human beings. Most don't like to make mistakes. The easy (and safer) way out would have been for Reiss to wave off the fight or to take a look at Fury and determine that the fight should be over. In a "cover-your-ass" world, Reiss was unafraid to put his reputation and career on the line. 

And almost immediately Fury confirmed Reiss's judgment by cracking Wilder with right hands and thwarting his aggression. By the end of the round, somehow, shockingly, it was Fury who was winning the final moments, a literal resurrection in the ring as well as a perfect metaphor for his last three years. 


With boxing preternaturally blessed with an inability to get out of its own way, of course the fight was ruled a split draw, with one judge scoring it even, one for Wilder and one for Fury. Alejandro Rochin's 115-111 tally for Wilder was indefensible. Rochin somehow had Wilder sweeping the first four rounds, a feat that would be beyond the ability of the world's best contortionist. Rochin was not watching the action at hand, and his scorecard sullied an otherwise remarkable fight. I have less of a problem with Phil Edwards's draw verdict. I scored the fight 114-112 for Fury, or eight rounds to four, with Tyson losing two additional points because of the knockdowns. I could envision a scenario where Fury won seven rounds, but it's inconceivable to me that he only took five.  

Rochin has been a professional boxing judge since 1992. He's been awarded scores of international judging assignments. Examining his record prior to Saturday's fight, I wouldn't have necessarily considered him among the best or worst of American judges, but he turned in a career-defining doozy. Yes, bad scorecards do happen, and it's not always easy, but this wasn't a fight that had half a dozen swing rounds. At the very least, Rochin demonstrated that he's no longer competent to work as a professional judge. 

But the poor scorecard doesn't diminish the fight for me. Ultimately I will remember Wilder-Fury as a thrilling encounter between two heavyweights fighting to the best of their abilities. Featuring wonderful displays of self-belief, heart, faith, boxing skills and power, Wilder-Fury was a glorious reminder that big fights can deliver the goods, and that the heavyweight division, the weight class that truly makes the world take notice, is healthy and exciting. Boxing and controversy often go together like a hand in glove, but the fans understood what they witnessed: A proper heavyweight rumble, an unforgettable event, Wilder unleashing a combination from hell and Fury miraculously rising. 

Adam Abramowitz is the founder and head writer of saturdaynightboxing.comHe's a member of Ring Magazine's Ring Ratings Panel and a Board Member for the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board. 
Email: saturdaynightboxing@hotmail.com.
snboxing on twitter. SN Boxing on Facebook.  

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Wilder-Fury: Keys to the Fight

The year's most compelling heavyweight fight takes place on Saturday between titleholder Deontay Wilder (40-0, 39 KOs) and former lineal champion Tyson Fury (27-0, 19 KOs) at Staples Center in Los Angeles. Although this matchup doesn't feature the nominal number one in the division, Anthony Joshua, Wilder-Fury has captivated boxing enthusiasts, offering a fascinating style matchup between the knockout artist (Wilder) and the versatile boxer (Fury). The stakes for Saturday's fight are substantial: The winner stands to gain tens of millions of dollars for an eventual fight with Joshua. 

Fury, on his way up through the professional ranks, was often considered more sizzle than steak. Blessed with the gift of gab, his pre-fight press conferences were can't-miss affairs, but the bouts themselves could be humdrum or even sleep-inducing. In addition, Fury's clownish antics at times carried over into the ring where he sometimes would play around with lesser opponents instead of illustrating the menace that should befit a top heavyweight. 

Perceptions of Fury changed with his decisive victory over longtime titleholder and future Hall of Famer Wladimir Klitschko in 2015. Fury dominated with switch hitting, unconventional angles and psychological gamesmanship. Klitschko wouldn't let his hands go and Fury cruised to a comfortable decision (the fight was actually less competitive than the scores would suggest). 

But that was the last time Fury would enter the ring until earlier this year. In the interim, Fury suffered from depression and drug abuse. Fights were cancelled, drug tests were failed and Fury blew up in weight, with some reports suggesting that he was well north of 350 lbs. 

Fury did return to boxing in 2018, beating lesser opponents Sefer Seferi and Francesco Pianeta. Although he may not necessarily have impressed as he worked his way back into shape, he also didn't lose a single moment of either fight. Perhaps the smart play would have been for Fury to take another tune up or two prior to fighting for a championship belt, but he jumped at the opportunity for Wilder, who was unable to finalize a unification match with Joshua. 

Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder holding court.
Photo Courtesy of Amanda Westcott/Showtime

Wilder has held a title belt since 2015 and although he has made seven defenses, only one of them, Luis Ortiz, was perceived as a real threat. Wilder was able to stop the cagey Cuban, but not before overcoming some rough moments. Ortiz was close to knocking Wilder out in the seventh round, but Wilder recovered, caught a second wind and scored a late stoppage. 

Despite possessing one of the best right hands in the sport and amassing dozens of TV-friendly knockouts, Wilder has yet to make a significant imprint in the greater American sporting landscape. Saturday's fight will be a chance for him to launch his career into a new stratosphere; however, Fury's considerable boxing skills are a serious threat to Wilder's future plans. 

So will it be the boxer or the puncher? Who will be the one with his hand raised on Saturday evening? Read below for the keys to the fight. My prediction will be at the end of the article. 

1. Composure. 

I have a feeling that the more composed fighter will win on Saturday. But what does that entail for each combatant? For Fury that means smart boxing. He needs to work each round and place his punches intelligently. In addition, he should employ effective neutralizing techniques such as stepping out of the pocket to reset the action and strategic clinching when necessary. Fury must remain consistent with his punch volume and effort. He will find it fairly easy to land on Wilder, but he will need to remain calm as he's having success. 

Fury must resist the urge to showboat or take unnecessary risks. Earlier in his career, light-punching Steve Cunningham dropped Fury with an overhand right during an exchange where Fury wasn't being defensively responsible. If Wilder lands that punch, it's unlikely that Fury would get back up. Fury will have a lot of good moments in the fight, but he can't be greedy. To use baseball parlance, singles and doubles will be enough for Fury to win; he doesn't need to go for the home run.

Wilder must let the fight come to him. Eventually he will have opportunities to land power shots, but burning a lot of energy in pursuit of Fury or missing badly with haymakers won't necessarily be the answer to breaking down his opponent. Wilder can't force the action. If Wilder is overzealous in the ring, that will play into Fury's hands. The Ortiz fight illustrated the dangers for Wilder of rushing in without composure. Like Ortiz, Fury can be a crafty counterpuncher, and Wilder can certainly be hurt by short or odd-angled shots. 

It would behoove Wilder to establish his jab in the early rounds of the fight. Landing the knockout blow isn't vital during the first third of the match. Wilder needs to flash his power shots here and there and a well-timed connection could be enough to garner Fury's respect. Wilder must remember that the fight is 12 rounds, and there will be opportunities to land his best shots if he remains patient, vigilant and composed. 

2. The Effects of Fury's Hiatus. 

There have been examples in boxing where fighters have been out of the ring for extended periods of time and have returned to succeed at the sport's top level. Muhammad Ali and Sugar Ray Leonard are two such examples. However, not every hiatus is created equal. Fury put on and subsequently took off over 100 pounds. That can take quite a toll on the body. Furthermore, it's clear that Fury wasn't in good condition psychologically during his time out of the ring.  

Fury should be commended for getting his weight under control for Saturday's fight. However, let's not assume that he has the conditioning to go 12 tough rounds against one of the top fighters in the division. Fury has yet to face serious resistance in his return bouts and there's no indication of how his mind or body will hold up under duress. This is one of the clear unknowns heading into Saturday's bout.  

3. Wilder's Other Punches. 

Wilder's right hand is one of the best weapons in contemporary boxing. Big fighters, small fighters, short fighters, tall fighters; it doesn't matter. He's knocked out every opponent that he's faced (he stopped Bermane Stiverne, the only fighter to go the distance with him, in their rematch). Despite Wilder's powerful right hand, he's truly at his best when he's mixing in his other punches. At times his jab, left hook and right uppercut have been effective, but at other points his secondary punches have remained curiously absent, rendering him predictable and one-dimensional. 

Fury's a smart fighter with good eyes and reflexes. He certainly will be planning to neutralize Wilder's right hand, whether that means remaining in the orthodox stance so the punch will be easier to see or crowding Wilder so that he won't have the proper distance to throw it. For Wilder to make inroads in the fight, he will need to land something other than his straight right to divert Fury's attention, be it jabs to the body, double jabs to the head or short left hooks at close range. Remember that Wilder scored knockdowns in the Ortiz fight with three different punches (straight right hand, left hook and right uppercut). To be at his best, he can't just load up on right crosses and think that one punch will be enough to win the fight. 

4. Ben Davison. 

It was certainly an unexpected move when Fury announced that he would be working without his uncle, Peter Fury, for his comeback. He selected little-known Ben Davison to be his cornerman. Davison hasn't amassed much of a resume as a head trainer. Thus it's unknown how effectively he runs a camp (or if he is even the one who is running it). Furthermore, Davison hasn't had big-fight experience as the lead in the corner. Does he make good tactical suggestions? Does he freeze up in crucial moments?

Wisely, Fury and Davison recruited Freddie Roach to assist them in the corner for Saturday's fight (in fact, Fury even concluded his camp at Roach's Wild Card Gym in Los Angeles). With Roach's health having declined, he's not one to yell, motivate or give the type of tough love that Peter Fury was known for. I expect Davison to have a dominant role in the corner on Saturday. He's more familiar with Fury than Roach is and can communicate advice more resolutely. Davison must be given significant credit for overseeing Fury's weight loss during their three camps together, but it's still unclear whether the trainer will be an asset in the corner. 

5. Fury's Focus. 

Fury's singular focus was a major factor that led to his victory over Klitschko. That night he put it all together. However, that performance was not necessarily the general rule for Fury, who has been known to sleepwalk through rounds and switch off at pivotal moments. Fury's chin can be gotten to as well, and it will be up to him to protect himself throughout the fight on Saturday. 

If Fury is focused, he will see shots a lot more clearly and will be in a better position to absorb them. Furthermore, when Wilder starts to unload with power shots, that's where a switched-on Fury can capitalize with counters. The Fury who beat Klitschko was certainly an elite fighter, but there have been other moments throughout his career where he has resembled far less. His lack of focus has played a significant role in his differing versions in the ring.


British boxing commentator Steve Bunce made an intriguing comment in the lead up to the bout between Bernard Hopkins and Joe Smith Jr. He said, and I'm paraphrasing, that unfortunately for Hopkins, Smith is too stupid to know any better. What he meant by that was Smith wasn't interested in the cerebral aspects of boxing. He was there to knock Hopkins out and wasn't likely to fall victim to Hopkins's mind games or psychological traps. In a fight where opinion was split leading up to the match, Bunce's analysis was spot on. Smith pounded Hopkins throughout the fight and ended matters by knocking him out through the ropes. 

For Wilder-Fury, I believe that a similar dynamic is in play. Unlike Klitschko, who loved chess and prided himself on his intellectual and cerebral attributes in the ring, Wilder is not cut from the same cloth. He's there to land his bombs and if he's losing early in a fight, so be it. He's not one to get discouraged or psychologically demoralized in the way that Klitschko was against Fury. Wilder has lost numerous rounds throughout his career. He's been down on the cards before. But he retains his self-belief throughout a fight.

I expect Fury to win almost every round on Saturday. I think Fury will do very well...until he doesn't. At some point Wilder will land his Sunday punch, and like every fighter that Wilder has been in the ring with, Fury won't be able to withstand Wilder's best. Wilder's strong finishing instincts and his understanding that he will need to score a knockout to win will hasten Fury's demise. Once Wilder has hurt Fury, I expect him to go for the kill, and I predict that he will succeed. Power will eventually be the real separator on Saturday. 

Deontay Wilder KO 11 Tyson Fury 

Adam Abramowitz is the founder and head writer of saturdaynightboxing.comHe's a member of Ring Magazine's Ring Ratings Panel and a Board Member for the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board. 
Email: saturdaynightboxing@hotmail.com.
snboxing on twitter. SN Boxing on Facebook.