By Ray Wheatley – World of Boxing
World championship referee Jack Reiss talks to Peter Maniatis about the twelfth round knockdown in the first Deontay Wilder vs. Tyson Fury WBC heavyweight championship bout and working in the Ali and Creed movies.
Reiss explains why he gave Tyson Fury opportunity to beat the ten count after knockdown in round twelve against Deontay Wilder:
“It came from my training but not only my training as a boxer and referee but my training as a fireman for the Los Angeles Fire Department where I worked for 31 years, where we were required to be Emergency Medical Technicians, so I was a EMT for 31 years, as well,” said Reiss.
“I had a paramedic engine and I was a captain as well and we went out on shootings, stabbings and car accidents as well as fires, and I am very, very comfortable with trauma and more familiar with body language.
“That alone has helped me as a boxing referee whether to let a fighter to go on or not, all comes from what you are recognising from the body language.
“So in this fight -when that happened – it’s was the twelfth round – it was a very spirited fight – but there hadn’t been any heavy damaging blows throughout the fight. There were good shots but there was never a point where someone got staggered or was in desperate trouble where I thought I would jump in. It was just a very hard fight for these guys.
“The ninth round knockdown, when Wilder knocked Fury down was more that he knocked ( Fury) off balance. Fury was bobbing and weaving in such a manner that when Wilder caught him on the ear or even a little bit behind the ear but Fury caused that by the way he was turning – so I called that a knockdown. He was right back up so he was fine. So it was more of a balance thing.
“In the twelfth round – there was a devastating two punch combination – a right followed by a devastating left hook and Fury – all 6’9” and 256 pounds – fell like a brick and slammed against the canvas. I was about six feet away from them when they were fighting but when he fell – he fell away from me. I was six feet from his feet when he went down So I couldn’t see his face. I quickly pointed Wilder to the neutral corner.
“I turned and picked up the count and when I spun back my EMT skills instinctively came into effect. I noticed Fury’s right foot was up in the air – he was resting on the flat part of his feet. If he was unconscious his legs would have been completely flat on the ground and his arms would have been completely flat on the ground. There was slight movement in his hands so I instinctively knew he was not out and as I moved closer to him I noticed his eyes were open – he was squinting and grunting and as I got closer and kneeled down he tracked me with his eyes so I knew he was there and when I started counting as soon as I said five – his eyes popped wide open and he blinked and grunted again and rolled over and beat the count.
“Let me say this. A knockdown is anytime a fighter gets hit with a punch or punches and any part of his body other than the soles of his feet touch the canvas. There is another part to it that’s not important right now but that’s what a knockdown is. Conversely, he is no longer considered down anytime no part of his body other than the soles of his feet are touching the canvas. As I was saying nine – in the middle of me saying nine- Fury’s hand came up and the only thing that was touching the canvas was his feet. He is up. My job changes from counting to assessing.
“When I work in movies I am not acting – I play a referee, and living out here in LA LA LAND – Hollywood, we can get opportunities from the major studios and smaller studio’s, that make movies on boxing, so they reach out to the (Boxing) Commission, and they say we need referees – and it’s great for them a great for us.
“It gives us fun things to do and a little notoriety but it really gives the film company some authenticity working in dual roles, not only do we play the referee but we end up consulting for them as they are that far off base they don’t know what they are setting up sometimes where we would say – no it wouldn’t be like that – this is the way it would be. So it works both ways. It’s a great relationship we have with them.
“Movie people are very big boxing fans. We see them at the fights all the time. I work primarily out of Los Angeles and it if I am in the ring in a fight like the Fury and Wilder or Spence and Porter and I look out and I am not name-dropping – Sylvester Stallone, Rosie Perez.and guys from General Hospital and all these TV programs. It’s just amazing.”