Showtime’s veteran boxing broadcaster, Al Bernstein, was beyond impressed with Tyson Fury’s performance in last month’s world title fight with WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder.
The contest, which took place at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, ended in a controversial twelve round draw.
Fury put on one of his finest career performances and survived two vicious knockdowns. The majority of observers believed the lineal champion had done enough to beat Wilder.
What impressed most observers, was Fury’s ability to get back in top form – in only his third fight since June 2018 – after being inactive since November of 2015 and ballooning to nearly 400-pounds during the layoff.
“I mentioned during the fight that I’ve only seen two fighters who were off for that kind of layoff in which they suffered personal decline, one was Johnny Tapia who was out of the ring for several years with terrible drug abuse problems and he came back and he was better than he was before he left. I can say the same thing for Tyson Fury, who of course suffered drug addiction issues, mental health problems, and he came back and honestly he looked better than he did before,” Bernstein told On The Ropes Boxing Radio.
“Deontay Wilder hung in there and registered those two knockdowns, the second of which looked for all the world like it was going to end the fight. It was an extraordinary night, and obviously there was much debate over the draw.”
Bernstein, like many others, felt the fight was over in the twelfth and final round – when Fury was knocked down hard and was laying motionless on the canvas.
In what some felt was a miracle, Fury was able to beat the count. There have been some accusations over Fury receiving too much time to recover from that knockdown – a claim that Bernstein does not agree with.
While Wilder was a huge favorite to win the fight – based on the outcome of first contest Bernstein expects the rematch to be viewed as a 50-50 bout.
“Yeah, in my brain I thought, ‘Oh my god, he’s not getting up from this.’ But like Lazarus rising from the dead, he did. Afterwards with Paulie Malignaggi, we re-timed the knockdown, and I know some people are saying it was a long count, but I don’t think it really was. From the time the referee went to count on him, which wasn’t long after he got knocked down, we put a stopwatch to it and it was 9.5 seconds when he got up. I don’t really think he got a long count. I know some people think he did but it didn’t appear that way,” Bernstein said.
“[Wilder] made the point that Fury had to be perfect for twelve rounds and he only had to be perfect for one second. That actually didn’t turn out to be true because he was perfect for two seconds when he scored those knockdowns and he couldn’t finish Tyson Fury. I think the rematch will go off as a 50-50 proposition.”