TCB, Takin’ Care of Business…
That was one of Elvis Presley‘s mottos, and he and the Memphis Mafia would sling the saying around, as a way of reminding themselves to keep on grinding, even though the King’s rep was XXL and his fame wattage dazzling.
TCB came to mind, to a lesser degree, yes, when assessing Tyson Fury‘s Las Vegas showdown showcase, his first fight in Sin City, and his first working under the Top Rank banner, on Saturday night.
You likely know that Top Rank is headed up by Bob Arum, the Brooklyn-born and Vegas based deal-maker who stands alone as the best to have ever presented and promoted boxing matches. He’s 87, and has in his closing chapters of business doing put together the deal of the century, a marriage between his outfit and ESPN, as they look to build out their OTT arm. And earlier in the year (if not earlier, I have to ask Bob exactly when he decided he’d take aim at and look to secure the services of The Gypsy King to a deal), Arum set on Fury, age 30, as the central figure in his promotion push.
Why Fury? Arum told us on his latest hit on the Everlast “Talkbox” podcast: “I must say, sometimes when you’re doing your first fight with a guy, you don’t know how you’re gonna mesh with him,” Arum said. “And I realized right away that he was extraordinarily charismatic, and very, very smart, and funny enough, had no ego. In other words, you could talk to him directly about things plotting out the promotional campaign, which ESPN was magnificent getting behind him. Once you lay out a promotional campaign with him and you put him on a stage, he knows what to do. A lot of fighters, very frankly, you know, as part of my promotional expertise, I script. ‘Here’s what I want you to say,’ ‘here’s what’s gonna market the event. And people wanna hear you say this, and that.’And then I let them go. With Fury you don’t do that. With Fury, you just set up the platform with television or the press, or whatever, and he just takes over. He’s a master, a really master showman.” Arum thinks his in-ring skill is superlative but, but of his showmanship outside the ring, “I haven’t seen anybody the equal of him since Ali, and perhaps Foreman during his comeback.”
And when will Fury glove up next? “We’re looking at now October five, the (Madison Square) Garden (in NYC), I think the Garden is trying to clear out a concert and so forth. They’re optimistic that we can open it up Oct. 5. Having had Fury conquer Vegas and show he’s like the equivalent to Elvis…
and any other great act that ever hit this town, I think we have to take him to the East…and roll him out so to speak on the big stage at Madison Square Garden.”
Yes, the big room. Arum said he’s feeling like this push, to get Fury better known, to really make that rematch versus Deontay Wilder, is working. “Having these two guys, I really believe that when they fight each other, the fight should do somewhat near the equivalent of Mayweather-Pacquiao, because they were great attractions, but Mayweather and Pacquiao were little guys. I mean, you’re taller and bigger than either of those guys were at the time. But Tyson Fury and Wilder are bigger than life, they’re big, big men..and people who watch boxing, particularly the public, they’re unsophisticated, like to think, and that’s why they like heavyweights, ‘Hey, there’s a guy that can go into a bar and beat anyone in the room,’ right? And they couldn’t certainly think that about either Mayweather or Pacquiao, because they were relatively short guys….That’ll help drive it, I think we have chance to do numbers like Mayweather-Pacquiao, and I think the other side has bought into that too.”