Ring Magazine moves Fury to #2, Wilder #3 in heavyweight rankings
By Scott Gilfoid: Ring Magazine has demoted WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder from #2 to #3 in their new rankings for the heavyweight division, behind #1 Anthony Joshua and #2 Tyson Fury. For the most part, the Ring Magazine panelists saw the lineal champion Fury (27-0-1, 19 KOs) as the true winner of his fight last Saturday night against the unbeaten Wilder (40-0-1, 39 KOs) on December 1 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. However, the judges scored it as a draw at 115-111 for Wilder, 114-112 for Fury and 113-113.
The British judge Phil Edwards scored it 113-113. Boxing News 24 had Wilder winning by a 114-112 score. He dropped Fury twice in the 9th and 12th, and arguably deserved a knockout in the final round. That was the round in which the referee Jack Reiss stood over an unconscious looking Fury gave a count, which many fans thought was highly unusual for the referee to do. Fights are stopped nowadays on the spot when a fighter is laying motionless on the canvas with both eyes closed after they’re knocked down. This fight wasn’t stopped, and the fans wonder why. Although Fury got back to his feet to make it out of the round, it was Wilder that finished strong in landing monstrous shots that he somehow took by staying on his back foot to survive.
Here are the new Ring Magazine ratings:
1. Anthony Joshua
2. Tyson Fury
3. Deontay Wilder
4. Luis Ortiz
5. Dillian Whyte
6. Alexander Povetkin
7. Joseph Parker
8. Jarrell Miller
9. Adam Kownacki
10. Kubrat Pulev
It seems odd that the Ring Magazine is giving Fury a higher rating than the unbeaten World Boxing Council heavyweight champion Wilder based on their belief that he should have won the fight last Saturday night. The judges are the ones that pick winners and losers in the fights, not a group of panelists. As such, Ring Magazine should go along with the outcome and keep their ratings for the top 3 spots frozen as they were with Joshua at #1, Wilder #2 and Luis Ortiz at #3. Fury, with his wins over lesser opposition in Sefer Seferi and Francesco Pianeta, and his 12 round draw against Wilder, should have remained at the #7 spot in the Ring Magazine rankings. Fury’s two wins against Seferi and Pianeta and his draw against Wilder shouldn’t be enough for him to surpass Deontay in the ratings. Wilder has faced better opposition in his last three fights in beating Luis Ortiz and Bermane Stiverne, and fighting to a draw against Fury. Based on Wilder’s superior resume in his last three fights, he should still be at #2 in the Ring’s ratings at heavyweight.
The Ring Magazine ratings are subjective, of course, selected by a tiny group of panelists that give their thoughts on who they feel is the best fighter in a division. Given that Fury failed to beat the champion, and was knocked down twice in the later rounds, it makes you wonder if the Ring panelists bent to public pressure in elevating Tyson over Wilder. To beat the champion, you must show within a shadow of the doubt that you deserved the win. Fury clearly failed to do that. Getting knocked down TWICE in the championship rounds is NOT the way to beat a world champion. It did look good for Fury going into the home stretch. This was like a 200 meter sprint in which Fury had a slight lead over Wilder in the first 150 meters.
Things went bad in the last 50 meters of the sprint with gassing out, stumbling and allowing Wilder to catch up to him. Fury didn’t win the race, but it appears that some boxing fans made up their mind three-fourths of the way through that Fury had won, and they started celebrating too soon. Wilder showing huge talent to come back and drop Fury twice in the championship rounds has failed to change the minds of some fans that thought the win was already in the bag for the 6’9″ for unified champion. That’s the thing about boxing. It’s never over until it’s over.
One gets the sense that some fans walked out after the 8th round, thinking that Fury had already won it. What they missed was Wilder coming back strong, knocking Fury down twice and just barely missing getting a knockout in the 12th. The referee gave Fury a HUGE break by giving a count to him while he appeared to be knocked out on the canvas with his eyes closed. That fight could have easily been stopped by a different referee. In looking at Anthony Joshua’s premature stoppage win over Carlos Takam last October in which the referee stopped the fight quickly after the challenger was slightly buzzed while on his feet, would that same referee have stopped the Wilder vs. Fury fight in the 12th round? It’s very hard to imagine the referee not stopping it. You hate to say it, but Fury getting a draw is a mistake in this writer’s opinion. It wasn’t meant to be, but it happened because the referee failed to do what many other referees would have done in doing the logical thing in stopping the contest when Fury appeared to be out cold on the canvas in the 12th.
Ring Magazine giving their own spin on what should have happened in terms of the final results of the Wilder-Fury fight last Saturday seems out of place with this writer. If Ring Magazine is going to go to that level, then they should still have Gennady Golovkin as the #1 middleweight in their rankings due to the controversy surrounding the Golden Boy promoted Saul Canelo Alvarez’s 12 round majority decision and 12 round draw against him in their two fights. Many boxing fans still believe GGG was robbed in both fights against Canelo, both of which took place at the same venue and the same city at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. If the Ring Magazine panelists are going to invalidate the judges’ results for the Wilder vs. Fury fight, then they might as well do the same for the Canelo vs. GGG fight. They shouldn’t stop there though. If you look back at Joshua’s fight against Takam, that performance by AJ was poor, and his opponent arguably shouldn’t have been stopped in that fight by the referee. Does Joshua deserve to be demoted from #1 to #3 in the Ring’s ratings because a lot of boxing fans thought he looked poor on the night? When fans and panelists seemingly invalidate the results from the assigned judges for a particular fight, then it takes boxing into anarchy where the majority rules. That’s not how things are in the sport. The fans don’t get to choose the winners and the losers of the fights. If this was the NFL, the fans don’t get to come out on the field and throw flags for penalties and waive off plays. The assigned officials do that.
Fury gave it his best shot against Wilder, but he failed to get the ‘W’ after getting tired in the last four rounds and dropped twice. It was a nice comeback story up until then for Fury, but the fact of the matter is he failed to get the job done. For the Ring Magazine panelists to give their own interpretation on who won the Wilder-Fury fight and then reflect that with their rankings, it seems bizarre. It would have been a nice comeback story if Fury had gotten the win, but it didn’t happen. Fury got a draw, and if anything, you can question why the referee didn’t stop the fight. If you want to go off into out space and question the results, you have to ask why the referee didn’t stop the contest in the 12th to give Wilder a KO victory over a badly hurt Fury. Wilder was the better man at the end, he knocked Fury down twice, and he appeared to win five of the twelve rounds in the eyes of many boxing fans. That should have been enough for him to win the fight.