Showtime boxing announcer, Al Bernstein, is one of the most recognizable commentators in the sport, having called some of the biggest fights in the history of boxing. Bernstein had worked for ESPN for 23 years before moving to Showtime championship boxing in 2003.
In part 1 of my “On The Ropes” boxing radio interview with Al Bernstein, I discuss with him the Wilder vs. Fury bout he called ringside, getting his views on the event. Berstein also talks about twelfth round knockdown and breaks down how he thinks a rematch might play out. Here is what Al Bernstein had to say.
Jenna J: The last fight you called ringside was Deontay Wilder vs. Tyson Fury and you have had a few weeks to reflect on it, what were your thoughts on the bout?
Al Bernstein: It was a pretty extraordinary atmosphere and the fight itself turned out to be very exciting with Tyson Fury boxing superbly — better than most people even thought he could possibly do.
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.
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.
Jenna J: The one moment people still talk about when it comes to this fight is when Tyson Fury looked like he was knocked out cold in the twelfth and somehow got up. Did you think he was done when that happened?
Al Bernstein: 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.
Jenna J: With all the buzz after the fight, there is a lot of talk about a rematch. If a rematch does happen who would you be favoring now based on what you saw from each of them?
Al Bernstein: The fight probably ended up being in the black because I think they were shooting for about 250,000 for their break even point, from what I’ve been told. So it was successful in that regard. They had a huge crowd in Los Angeles for the fight. I’m guessing there will be a rematch.
I actually expect Fury to be in a little better shape because he only had the two tune up fights going into the fight against lesser opposition. He was obviously in great shape to be able to go twelve rounds and survive those knockdowns. I think in some ways we can see Fury being better.
Wilder claims he figured out why he was overthrowing his punches and rushing things — and of course he was able to solve Fury twice, and he 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.