Hall of Fame boxing commentator, Al Bernstein, has worked in the sport for over 30 years and is one of the most well known and knowledgeable figures in the sport. He has seen many fighters from the start of their careers to their finish and has been ringside for some of the biggest match ups in boxing history. Bernstein, who hosts his a popular podcast on YouTube called “Al Bernstein unplugged” is still with Showtime boxing, a network he has worked with for 18 years.
In Part 1 of my “On The Ropes” boxing radio interview with Al Bernstein I get his thoughts on the new fight date for Tyson Fury vs. Deontay Wilder 3 and talk to him about the rumors surrounding the postponement. Al also break down the Fury-Wilder rematch, sharing the keys to victory for both. Additionally, Bernstein talks about the rise of the Paul brothers in boxing and discusses Jake Paul’s ability in the ring. Here is what Al Bernstein had to say.
Jenna J: The new date for the rematch between Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder was announced for October 9th. What are your thoughts on the things that have been going on with this match up?
Al Bernstein: There’s been so much between the legal proceedings and now the latest developments involving Fury contracting Covid and the controversy surrounding that. You just hope that at some point it settles down and things really do happen. I think many people want to see that fight.
We were set to see Joshua against Fury but then once it got to be Wilder and Fury again, I think people were anxious to see it and probably still are. I’m hoping that it does happen and that fans get a chance to see it.
Jenna J: There has been a lot of talk from boxing fans about this postponement with some thinking that Fury wanted more time for training, others saying the ticket sales were poor for the event, what is your take on the rumors?
Al Bernstein: Yeah, Tyson Fury didn’t help his cause with the people who are looking for controversy by being so publicly out there relatively quickly after the story got out that he had Covid. It wasn’t that long that he was publicly active and that led to more conspiracy theories.
There’s so much passion about that fight and for some reason the two groups of supporters are just very passionate. I’m a relatively benign guy when it comes to writing about boxing, and I sent out a couple of tweets that I thought were relatively passive about the whole thing and I had all kinds of people trying to be combative with me about it. You can see that no matter what happens there’s going to be some passion and there’s going to be some people with reasonable and unreasonable ideas.
Jenna J: Alright, let’s take out all the stuff that is happening on the side out of the fight and look at the actual match. What do you think happens when they finally meet again in the ring?
Al Bernstein: The owness is on Wilder because Wilder was literally a second or two away from knocking Fury out in the first fight, but given that, Fury won virtually all the rounds in that fight and he dominated the second fight and won by stoppage. The owness is on Wilder to show that he can flip the script and change what is happening.
The other thing that is intriguing about this is that Fury has had two different distinct ways of doing well against Wilder. He boxed in one fight and then in the second fight, he put on a bunch of weight and bullied him. It demonstrates that Fury has a couple of ways to go about this in this fight.
Wilder has to show us that something has changed and that he can figure out a way to consistently land that right hand and make it count this time so that Fury stays down. We’ll see what happens but you have to go into the fight thinking that Fury is the favorite because of the previous performances. Can Wilder win the fight? Yes, because if he can land a great right hand, he can knock anybody down and out.
Jenna J: What are your thoughts on the recent trend of YouTube stars like Jake Paul coming to the sport of boxing and getting a lot of attention?
Al Bernstein: To parlay a social media following that you created into doing something you really want to do, I view the boxing for Jake Paul almost the same. If a YouTuber that is really famous had been working on music secretly for say 10 years and was ready to release an album or start touring and they used their YouTube fame to do that. In the case of the Paul brothers they love boxing and they have worked at it, so they’re translating one into the other. Now, how long will this go and how long will it be popular? we’ll see.
August 29th is upcoming, he continues for the most part to fight UFC fighters, he started out with a basketball player, now it’s MMA fighters and again we will see how well it goes. The interest in that match has been significant, so people are interested to be sure in these two guys. And for their part, being around them a little bit I can tell you that they are serious about their commitment to try to be better as boxers, for whatever that means.
Jenna J: When it comes to Jake Paul, he is 3-0 as a pro boxer, so far beating a YouTuber, Nate Robinson and Ben Askren, who was not known for his striking. How do you gauge Jake Paul’s boxing ability in the ring?
Al Bernstein: It’s very hard to tell how good Jake Paul is because he faced a basketball player and Ben Askren who is not a good striker and I don’t know that Ben Askren was really physically up to the challenge.
Woodley is a better striker than Askren was and even though he has lost recent matches in MMA, he still does bring a better striking ability into this fight. We may get more of a clue in this fight of how well Jake Paul can do as a boxer. At this juncture, it’s just hard to say.