Hall of Famer boxing announcer Steve Farhood has been working with Showtime boxing since 2001 and recently celebrated his 40th year in boxing. When not working fights with ShoBox: The next generation, Farhood frequently scores some of the biggest Showtime championship boxing events, including their most recent, the controversial decision between Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury that Farhood scored 115-111 for Fury.
In part 2 of my “On The Ropes” boxing radio interview with Steve Farhood, I get his views on Deontay Wilder’s performance against Tyson Fury, that some have criticized. Farhood also talks about what both could do differently in a rematch and gives his thoughts Fury’s heavyweight champion claim. Additionally, Steve shares his thoughts on HBO signing off and boxing moving to a streaming format. Here is what Steve Farhood had to say.
Jenna J: A lot of people have been critical of Deontay Wilder’s performance against Tyson Fury, saying that he loaded up too much on his punches. What did you think of the way he fought Fury?
Steve Farhood: I think it’s very easy to be critical of Wilder but here’s the thing, there’s never been another heavyweight in history who fights like Tyson Fury, who has his size, reach and mobility. There’s never been anyone like him. While it’s very easy to criticize Wilder for missing badly, loading up and not punching to the body enough, it’s all understandable, Fury did this to Klitschko too. I know Klitschko was older and perhaps somewhat diminished at that point, but this is what this guy does.
Is it going to be different in a rematch? It’s not going to be easier for Wilder if he fights the guy twenty times. I’m not all that critical of Wilder as some people have been and I just think you have to remember who he was fighting. He was fighting a guy who is not easy to fight and who fought his gameplan and carried it through.
Jenna J: There’s a lot of interest in a rematch now. Is there anything Wilder can do differently that will allow him to have more success?
Steve Farhood: I certainly think he needs to use the jab more. It’s easy to say that he needs to pressure Fury, but Wilder is not a pressure fighter who wants to get close, he wants distance so he can land his big shots. He has to get started faster. I think getting used to Fury’s rhythm and the fact that he went twelve rounds with him, I think that will help Wilder. I would think he will be favored to win again as he was in this fight, though not by very much.
Fury would have to fight a very similar type of fight, I don’t see big adjustments for Fury — although perhaps Fury has been emboldened by his success because once you have gotten up from the kind of knockdowns he got up from, I think you probably have more confidence. I think both guys can take positives from what happened on December 1st.
Jenna J: Going into the fight, there was a lot of talk about Tyson Fury being the lineal champion. A lot of people will say that it doesn’t mean anything and others say it does, how do you view it?
Steve Farhood: The reason I might not give it as much credence as under normal circumstances is because he retired and left boxing. If he was the lineal champion and left boxing, you can argue that that takes away his lineal title because he retired. Had he never retired, that would be different.
I don’t want to give the alphabets too much credit and Wilder is obviously an alphabet champion with the WBC, but there’s something to be said about lineal titles. It kind of overrides the alphabets at times because we know the alphabets can be nonsensical in who they choose to be champions and who they give title fights to. To me, Fury lost the lineal title when he retired for personal reasons.
Jenna J: Steve, Boxing is starting to transition to streaming and with that we saw HBO sign off on showing boxing, what are your thoughts on this transition?
Steve Farhood: Well, two very major things happened there. I think Showtime was at the forefront of the streaming, we have been streaming fights for a long time. It is clearly a major part of the future. I’m not saying television is going to go away, certainly not. Television isn’t going to go away and pay-per-view isn’t going to go away.
Streaming is a significant part of it just because of the technology and young people don’t have cable anymore necessarily and they do everything via apps. It’s hard for someone my age to totally comprehend because I came from a different era but the fact is, that is the world we are living in today.
As far as HBO, I was saddened. I’ve watched HBO from day one, who hasn’t? They’ve had a lot of great fights and a lot of great fighters. You can’t totally say it just happened, there’s reasons why it happened and I’m not going to get into them now. On the last show, unfortunately I don’t think the fights were very interesting but the broadcast was well done and there are a lot of very talented people who work at HBO and that’s who I think about.