Showtime boxing commentator Steve Farhood was elected to the boxing Hall of Fame in 2017 and is considered one of the most respected members of the boxing world, having worked in the sport for over 40 years. Farhood has been ringside for some of the biggest events and greatest fights, calling the matches, interviewing the participants and scoring the fights. He was again ringside for a classic fight, as Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury battled to a 12 round draw.
In part 1 of this special “On The Ropes” boxing radio interview with Steve Farhood, I discuss with him the recent heavyweight title encounter between Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury. Farhood breaks down the events of the fight and talks about Tyson Fury getting off the canvas in the 12th round. Additionally, Steve discusses the controversial scoring of the fight. Here is what Steve Farhood had to say.
Jenna J: Having had a week to reflect on the Tyson Fury vs. Deontay Wilder fight, what were your thoughts on the bout?
Steve Farhood: I didn’t expect it to be the atmosphere that I experienced there. There were seventeen thousand people there at Staples Center. It started off a little slow then it started to pick up and you got the impression that Wilder needed to do something dramatic to be competitive. The feeling there was sort of a reminder of just how really exciting and how all consuming a great boxing fight can be.
That fight was just fantastic, it was a fantastic finish and it obviously had a controversial decision. What I took away from it more than anything else was that this was a great moment. I’m not a fan of heavyweights generally speaking but when the heavyweights give you a good show, there’s nothing like it.
That moment in the twelfth round when Wilder knocked down Fury and Fury looked like he was dead and he got up and finished and won the rest of the round, it was one of the great moments of the year. It was a fight I’ll take with me always, it was very exciting.
Jenna J: When you saw the way Fury was knocked down by Wilder, did you think the fight was over?
Steve Farhood: Yes not a doubt in my mind. I had a good view where I was sitting of the combination that put him down. It was a combination of knowing Fury had gotten hit with Wilder’s best and then watching him fall and being motionless. When he was motionless, I thought it was over.
I scored the fight for Fury, I had Fury comfortably ahead going into that round. I was thinking in my head that he had a chance to win if he got up, and if he didn’t get up, it would be one of the most dramatic knockouts in recent memory.
Jenna J: After getting up, Fury went on to win the rest of the round. What were your thoughts on the way Fury recovered?
Steve Farhood: I was shocked. Going into the fight, I remember talking to my Showtime colleagues and saying, “Is there a chance that Tyson Fury already views himself as a winner, given all he has come back from? Is there a chance that when the going gets tough in the fight, that he won’t pay the price he needs to pay because in his mind he’s already a winner?” That very moment came and he had to answer a moment that was very clear and very defined, and he answered it brilliantly by showing guts and heart that we had no way of knowing if he had or didn’t have.
Tyson never had a moment like that in the Klitschko fight, that’s for sure. That was a very telling moment and there’s something to be said when he says “I’m a gypsy and we were born to fight,” his heart will never again be questioned and indeed he was born to fight. That was a tremendous moment and even though he didn’t win the fight, I think that moment will follow him for the rest of his career.
Jenna J: Steve there has been a lot of talk about the scoring for Wilder-Fury and the one scorecard that had it 115-111 for Wilder, what were your thoughts on that score and the decision?
Steve Farhood: I disagree with it big time. Rochin is a veteran official, he used to live in Mexico and then he moved to America. I really thought that the close rounds, which were the first five or six rounds, most of them went to Fury. The only round I scored differently from the three judges was the first round. I gave it to Fury and they all gave it to Wilder.
There were the obvious rounds to score — the Wilder knockdown rounds and a couple of Fury rounds –but I thought in the duller rounds when very little happened, I thought Fury clearly outboxed him. Wilder was missing badly and Fury didn’t land a lot himself but he landed the cleaner shots and I thought that he was clearly ahead.
I think more people thought that Fury deserved the decision than thought Wilder deserved the decision. I’m not going to go out and call it an utter robbery. I know Paulie Malignaggi thought it was a robbery and couldn’t believe Rochin’s score, but I wouldn’t go that far because there were a lot of rounds where very little happened and I get it if some people scored some of those rounds for Wilder. I definitely thought Fury deserved the decision.