Teddy Atlas believes the judges got it dead-on [at least two of them] right by giving Oleksandr Usyk the 12-round split decision win over Tyson Fury in their undisputed heavyweight fight in Riyadh.

Atlas had it close, but he felt IBF/WBA/WBO champion Usyk (22-0, 14 KOs) fought well in the championship rounds after hurting Fury (34-1-1, 24 KOs) in the ninth round. Teddy says it was close to being stopped. Fury’s lucky charm worked for him in that round.

Did the Referee Throw Fury a Lifeline?

“It was a very close fight, but he stormed the gate down the stretch, and you can make an argument if the referee doesn’t step in there, he stops him in that round [ninth],” said boxing analyst Teddy Atlas to BoxNation, discussing Oleksandr Usyk’s win over Tyson Fury.

Fury was one stumble away from the referee halting it. Fans still believe the referee blew it by giving the 35-year-old Fury a standing eight count because he was still upright, and taking punishment from Usyk.

Put it this way: How often do you see a referee step in and stop the action to give a fighter an eight count when they’re on the verge of being knocked out?

Of all the notable fights that took place on Saturday night, how many involved a referee giving a fighter in distress an eight count while they were within seconds of being knocked out? For it to happen in the Fury-Usyk fight involving the popular A-side fighter Fury, it looked fishy in the eyes of the boxing public.

“I know you can call that a knockdown. The ropes kept him up, but that was very close to that fight being stopped,” said Atlas about Fury. “The most important thing is he [Usyk] won all the late rounds once he hurt him. The last two rounds were close.

Usyk Wins, But It Was Close

“Give a lot of credit to Fury. He showed a lot of championship heart and resiliency to make those last two rounds closer, but in the end, I think they got it right. The 10-8 round was very important to have that two-point round,” said Atlas.

The only reason Fury was able to fight reasonably well in rounds 10, 11 and 12 is because Usyk wasn’t going for the finish the way he should have. He let Fury off the hook, and it almost came back to bite him in the backside.

“Not only did he win those late rounds, but to win one the way he did and then win the rounds after that to keep the momentum going. Like I said, the last two rounds made it really tight because Fury came back those last two rounds to make it close. But I thought they got it right,” said Atlas about the judges.

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