Roach critical of Tyson Fury’s trainer Ben Davison
By Tim Royner: Trainer Freddie Roach says he was disappointed with lineal heavyweight champion Tyson Fury’s lead trainer Ben Davison’s job in his corner earlier this month for his fight against WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder on December 1 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.
Roach worked the fight as Fury’s cut-man, so he wasn’t the one that was talking to him in between rounds. It was the much younger Davison that worked the fight, and was giving Fury instructions along the way. Roach says that earlier in the card, Davison had told a featherweight fighter the same things that he later told Fury during his fight. Roach remarked that he had asked Davison why he was saying the same things to different fighters. He didn’t understand why Davison was repeating himself.
Fury (27-0-1, 19 KOs) came up empty in his world title against against the unbeaten Wilder (40-0-1, 39 KOs) in having to settle for a 12 round split draw by the scores 115-111 for Wilder, 114-112 for Fury and 113-113.
“Yes, [Fury could have knocked Wilder out,” Roach said to Krsitine Leahy at FS1. “The thing is, he did hurt him a couple of times, but he didn’t get a chance to finish him. It was funny. We had a fight earlier in the night. Ben [Davison] gave the exact same instructions to the 126 pound fighter gave the heavyweight [Fury] fighter. I said, ‘Why did you say the same thing? Why are you treating these people the same?’ These fighters know each other. They’re not the same. His instructions were the same, and [he] choreographed both guys. So, I was a little disappointed,” Roach said.
It sounds like Roach wasn’t too impressed with the way Davison worked in the corner for the Wilder-Fury fight. But in looking at how Fury fought, he seemed to be on cruise control during the rounds, doing what he wanted to do, and not really following the instructions.
It was surprising that Roach ever agreed in the first place with him just being the cut-man for Fury. It’s hard to imagine a famous trainer from the past working as a cut-man after years of training great fighters. It would be a waste. It’s obviously Fury’s fault. He should have realized that it was a waste of Roach’s talent as a trainer to have him mute in the corner, just standing by in case of a cut.
“I told Tyson that maybe I could help him along the way, because he did a good job with the conditioning, and the weight loss and all that,” Roach said. “He’s [Ben Davison] only a 26-years-old kid. If Tyson had won, I don’t think I would have been the youngest trainer to have a world champion anymore. He’s [Davison] a year younger than me when I had my first world title. I was 27,” Roach said.
For the Wilder vs. Fury rematch, if there is one, Roach needs to make it clear to Tyson that he wants to be the one that speaks in the corner in between rounds. If Roach isn’t content to be just the cut-man, then he’ll need to let Fury know that ahead of time so that he can make a decision which he wants to go. If Fury chooses to be loyal to Davison, then Roach might have to move on unless he wants to be seen as a cut-man by different fighters. That’s probably not a good look for him.
The shots that Wilder was hitting Fury with in the last quarter of the fight was punches that he was not going to be able to take no matter what was being told to him in the corner. Fury was dodging everything that Wilder threw, but he wasn’t going to ever be able to get out of the way of 100 percent of the shots that was being thrown at him. Once Wilder stopped being tentative, it was only a matter of time before he connected with one of his shots to put Fury down. It was a stroke of luck on Fury’s part that referee Jack Reiss was working the fight instead of someone else. Reiss gave Fury a tremendous break when he chose not to stop the fight after he was knocked down by Wilder in the 12th. Fury’s eyes were closed, and he looked badly hurt when he was down on his back. It looked to most boxing fans like Fury was unconscious. Reiss gave Fury a count anyway, and it looked comical. Fury woke at some point during Reiss’ count, and he was able to get back to his feet right at the count of 10. It’s rare for a fighter to be allowed to continue fighting when they’re in that kind of condition.
“Possibly,” Roach said when asked if he should be the guy that talks to Fury in his corner for a rematch with Deontay Wilder. “The thing is, me and Tyson and his brother spoke about it, and we said let’s go home and enjoy Christmas, and we’ll have a meeting here or in the UK with each other. We left it at that,” Roach said.
It’ll be a pure mess if Fury has both Roach and Davison talking to him in the corner for the rematch with Wilder. The last thing Fury needs is for Roach and Davison to be canceling themselves out by saying different things in between rounds. It would also look bad if Roach and Davison were to start arguing. What could would that do Fury? It would look like pure chaos going on in the Fury corner. With facing the biggest puncher in the heavyweight division in Wilder, he needs a level head in his corner, and preferably someone with experience that knows what he’s talking about. Fury tried to beat Wilder with Davison as his trainer, but it didn’t work. Whether Fury wants to stay with Davison for another go round with Wilder is the important question. It didn’t work last time, and it might not workout in the rematch either.