LAS VEGAS – Otto Wallin isn’t naïve.
The Swedish southpaw completely understands that he was the “B” side against Tyson Fury, theoretically there to keep Fury busy before his lucrative rematch with Deontay Wilder on Saturday night. If all things were equal, Wallin feels the huge cut across Fury’s right eyebrow and the other laceration on his right eyelid were bad enough for their fight to have been stopped September 14 at T-Mobile Arena.
Fury fought through the gruesome gash over his right eye for nine-plus rounds and defeated Wallin on all three scorecards (118-110, 117-111, 116-112). The previously unbeaten Wallin gave the lineal heavyweight champion a tougher time than many anticipated, though, and legitimized himself as a heavyweight contender.
Five months later, Wallin can’t help but wonder what would’ve happened had their bout been stopped due to Fury’s cuts. Referee Tony Weeks ruled that Wallin’s left hand opened the terrible cut above Fury’s right eye, thus Fury would’ve lost by technical knockout had he not been allowed to continue.
“He had two big cuts – one above the eye and one on the eyelid,” Wallin told BoxingScene.com after the Wilder-Fury press conference Wednesday at MGM Grand. “So, looking from my point of view, I wanted the fight to be stopped. But at the same time, Fury fought with a lot of heart, fought like a champion, and didn’t wanna quit. He deserves respect for that, but you know, looking at the cuts and it was from early on [in the fight], I believe it should’ve been stopped. But that’s how it works. He was the big favorite, so that’s how it works sometimes. I should’ve done a better job of making them stop it.”
The 29-year-old Wallin feels Fury (29-0-1, 20 KOs) was afforded more leeway to fight with such a horrific cut because his pay-per-view rematch with Wilder (42-0-1, 41 KOs) already was tentatively set for Saturday night at MGM Grand Garden Arena.
“Fury was the big draw, the big money guy that had this fight lined up,” Wallin said. “So, if the fight would’ve been stopped, maybe I would’ve been the winner and I would’ve been there, so it would’ve been totally different. But Fury fought with a lot of heart and he didn’t wanna quit, so he deserves respect for that. It’s up to the referee and the doctor to stop the fight.”
Wallin (20-1, 13 KOs, 1 NC) will fight for the first time since Fury defeated him March 28 at Park MGM’s Park Theater in Las Vegas. He’ll square off against Australian veteran Lucas Browne (29-2, 25 KOs) in a 10-rounder Showtime will televise as part of a tripleheader.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.