Wilder-Fury: Referee Jack Reiss explains why he didn’t stop fight in 12th


By Allan Fox: Referee Jack Reiss has taken some heat from boxing fans for failing to stop the Deontay Wilder vs. Tyson Fury fight in the 12th round following a vicious knockdown the ‘Gypsy King’ Fury suffered. Reiss says he didn’t halt the fight because it was a championship bout, and Fury hadn’t been taking heavy damage from Wilder earlier in the fight that would make him think that he should stop the contest. Some boxing fans think Reiss gave Fury preferential treatment by not stopping the fight in the 12th after he went down from a tremendous combination from Wilder.

Reiss took a risk by not immediately waiving off the fight after Fury went down hard in the 12th round. Fury looked so hurt. It was hard to imagine at the time that he would get back up. 

The boxing public is pretty well split on whether Reiss did the right thing by waiting for Fury to open his eyes after he was knocked down. Fury appeared to be unconscious for several seconds after he hit the deck. Reiss chose to give Fury the count instead of stopping the fight. Fury arguably looked as bad as Amir Khan did in getting knocked out by Saul Canelo Alvarez in the 6th round in their fight in 2016. The referee that worked the Canelo-Khan fight halted the fight right away rather than giving the unconscious looking Khan a count. Reiss chose to give Fury a count despite him looking badly hurt. Although it worked out well with Fury waking up, it was a risk on Reiss’ part to give a count instead of stopping the fight so that the British fighter could be taken to a nearby hospital for observation.

“The fight was so close, the magnitude of the fight, you know, a heavyweight championship fight,” Reiss said to SiriusXM Boxing. “I’ve always been taught to count a champion out and I wanted to give him every opportunity. So I took my time; not that I stalled the count like these knuckleheads are saying. [I was] just patient and I went down to make sure what I was doing was correct, because I wanna do what’s best for boxing. I always want do what’s best for boxing.”

It’s good that Reiss was thinking what’s best for the sport of boxing, but you have to wonder if that was the best for Fury. The argument that the fans is that Reiss dealt with Fury’s brutal knockdown in the 12th round in a way that deviated from how a lot of referees would have dealt with a similar situation. With Fury lying on the canvas, failing to move a muscle, with eyes closed, it’s a situation that would very likely have been treated far different by another referee. Reiss standing over an out cold-looking Fury and giving him the count, it was a little too old school for the likes of a lot of fans. That’s how boxing used to be with referees giving counts to fighters that were out cold. Nowadays, it’s not as common to see that kind of thing, and that’s why a lot of fans were surprised to see Reiss giving Fury a count after such a devastating knockdown. 

Did Reiss give Fury favorable treatment that he wouldn’t give to a less popular fighter? We’ll never know unless we watch all the fights that Reiss has worked in the past. It obviously looked odd with Reiss giving a count to Fury while he appeared to be asleep on the canvas. It looked strange on the surface. It worked out fine though with Fury waking up, but it could have ended badly if he stayed unconscious for the full 10 count, and that valuable time was wasted by him receiving a needless count.

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