Why the Wilder/Fury Draw Was Correct

If you missed the Tyson Wilder/Deontay Fury fight last Saturday, boy, did you miss a great one. Fury dodged, dodged, and dodged with feints that would make Baryshnikov jealous. What's more, he somehow rose from a knockdown that looked for all the world that he was out cold from in the first five seconds of the count. "Lazarus" was what the everyone in the boxing press was calling him afterwards.

Wilder looked silly a lot with his Sam Horn-esque swings and misses, but we all sort of knew what would happen if he did connect — Fury would be on the canvas. And he was. Twice. I can't do justice to how gripping this fight was.

In the end, one judge had it for Fury, one had it for Wilder, and one had it even. So a draw it was.

Lots of people are up in arms about the draw, but I had it scored 114-144 myself, and people acting like this is a conspiratorial robbery of Fury are way off-base.

It would have been well and good had Fury won, and if you look at the round-by-round numbers, they do favor Fury.

But look again at those numbers. In fully eight rounds, they were within two landed punches of each other. That's close! That makes it a close round that can go either way! One of those close rounds, the seventh, favored Wilder. If you give Wilder that round, and his two 10-8 rounds where he knocked Fury down, then one would only need to score two of the remaining seven close rounds for Wilder and you have a draw. Fury landing a one single more punch than Wilder in three rounds. Remember, landing a higher percentage of your punches is not a part of judging criteria, and every round exists in a vacuum, judging-wise.

So what is judging criteria? Let's take a look.

First, there's effective aggression. Wilder was quite ineffective in his aggression, but here's the thing: Fury wasn't aggressive at all, and was missing plenty in his own right. This criterion absolutely goes to Wilder, and could very easily swing close rounds to Wilder, because someone who is barely effective in their aggression is still getting the nod here over a guy who never attempts to be aggressive.

Then, there's ring generalship. This one is hard to quantify and is obviously pretty subjective. I'd be inclined to give Fury more credit here if his highly-effective defense was part of a rope-a-dope strategy, but instead it was Wilder who saved his best for last.

Third, there's defense. Obviously, this is what Fury hangs his hat on, and it's really a once-in-a-lifetime thing to see from a guy of Fury's size. He's like if Gheorghe Muresan was a heralded figure skater.

But Wilder's defense wasn't too shabby, either, and Fury himself only connected on 25.7% of his punches, and when Wilder did connect flush, Fury went down.

Finally, there are hard and clean punches. We will defer to Compubox on this one, and we already went over that.

So no, in a sport chock-full of grievous robberies, this was not one of them. What it was was a ridiculously entertaining, very unique fight, and a strong advertisement for why boxing is great. Let's hope the cynics are wrong and a rematch happens.

If it does, my money's on Wilder.

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