He came to the ring with the sounds of air raid horns blaring, into “Livin' in America,” the James Brown Rocky 4 rendition, while an Uncle Sam top hat perched atop his 6-9 frame.
Tyson Fury looked like he was ready for a medium level spar at GM Grand, topping the Top Rank show Saturday evening, or maybe a Sin City stage show at an off strip hotel.
Yes, they wanted pomp and pageantry, flourishes of sound and color to match the personality of Fury, the so-called “Gypsy King” who has battled back from a PED positive and mental health woes, as well as drug addiction, to become one of the building blocks of the fight game in the OTT era. And, ideally, they'd get a stoppage win, a conclusive climax which would see the Brit invader take it to unbeaten but untested German Schwarz.
And yes, things went to form for Fury and Top Rank, on a main event which screened on the ESPN+ app; in round two, Fury whacked at the German, and landed hard enough, after scoring a knockdown to secure a TKO at 2:54 of the second.
“Thank you America and God bless you all,” he said, after thanking a higher power. “The key tonight was to enjoy meself,” he said. He said he put on 12 pounds, but felt sharp, and “bring 'em all on!”
The victor said he wanted to put on a show, have fun, and give the fans their money's worth.
And is Deontay Wilder, a rematch, soon to come? He said he loved how well Top Rank did with promotion. Sept. 21 or Oct 5th, a fight against TBA, that's next…then early in 2020, it's Wilder time. Then, yes, a song!
His wife Paris grinned, and Fury (28-0, with 20 KOs) sang, not as well as he fought, the Aerosmith song “Don't Want To Miss A Thing,” a 1998 power ballad. He gets a solid B plus for taking care of Schwarz, and a generleman's B- for the Steven Tyler imitation.
In the first, we saw the 30 year old Fury in the red, white and blue trunks start fast against the German, who entered at 24-0. The jab got activated from the get go, fro the 262 pound King of Gypsies. He feinted, he popped hooks and slid left, with a coordination level A grade for a basketballer sized pugilist. Jabs to the gut on the underdog, as Schwarz plodded forward, with a high guard. The German threw a hook, and came forward, and bobbed some to try and give a hard target. Fury, his OG shorts showing thigh and knee, but covering up some midsection goo, moved confidently and smoothly. He knew what Schwarz was and he dominated round one. That jab came again and again and we went to the second.
Joe Tessitore, Tim Bradley and Andre Ward called the scrap. In between rounds, we saw that Fury was offered to sit on a higher stoool, a 30 incher. Trainer Ben Davison talked to Fury, and saw GK come out lefty.
The southpaw Fury jabbed with the right, came underneath with a left upper. The jab was again sharp and quick, and a left hook buzzed the German. Feints piled up, then a left…his hands were low and he was having fun. Blood came from Schwarz' nose, and we saw Fury make him miss on the ropes. A combo sent the German down, a right was the climax to that flurry, then he was up, and could he make it to the third? Ten, 12, 15 plus shots piled up, nothing coming back from Schwarz and ref Kenny Bayless gave a quick hook. “As brilliant a second round as you will see,” said an absurdly hyped Tessitore.
Would there be more; this is Vegas, after all, wouldn't a song be relevant? Maybe “We Built This City?” Or “Summer of '69?”
Tessitore talked up the possibility of a new heavyweight golden era, his optimism misplaced or maybe admirable, depending on your cyncisim level or for what platform and/or promoter you root for.
Replays had the booth gushing; Bradley loved the defense, and the knockdown. “Every shot that's landed by Fury is a death blow,” Bradley stated. The end-game pinata attack, yeah, it was harsh and that quick hook seemed more acceptable. The blood flow from the German's nose, his blank look after getting knockded down…why not save the loser some brain cells?
Terence Crawford picked up the momo. He said Fury looked superb, and then Bradley said the extra poundage helped Fury, gave him more power. “The pound for pound king,” Tessitore called Bud, who also does his thing on the ESPN platform.
Max Kellerman post-fight lauded Fury for showing Crawford style ambidexterity. Mark Kriegel said his favorite part was the Aerosmith rendition, and he noted that it's only right to know that a few years ago, Fury was off the rails, suicidal, and his wife didn't know if he'd come home when he went out. “It succeeded on all levels for Tyson Fury,” said Kriegel. Andre Ward said he expected Fury to look solid and told us that a Fury vs Wilder rematch would be an “all time great” fight. Yes, Kellerman too offered some balance, saying that Schwarz was there to make him look good. And then he hopped on the hype super train, saying that Fury showed Wilder style electricity in his stoppage effort.
Friends, it's Vegas…it's the fight game, which is a sports entertainment business, more open to and reliant on marketing than any pro sport…and this outing reflected all of that.
TOP RANK SENT OUT A RELEASE SYNOPSIZING UNDERCARD ACTION…
Hart wins in light heavyweight debut
Jesse “Hollywood” Hart came up short in a pair of super middleweight world title shots. Well, it looks as if the light heavyweight division suits the Philadelphia native quite well.
Hart (26-2, 21 KOs), in his light heavyweight debut, bested longtime contender Sullivan Barrera (22-3, 14 KOs) via unanimous decision (99-90, 97-92, 96-93) to thrust himself squarely in the world title picture. Hart was hurt at the end of the fourth round, but he recovered to drop Barrera in the eighth.
It was a rugged, sometimes sloppy fight, as Hart’s activity was the difference.
“I don’t take nothing away from Sullivan Barrera, but I hurt my hand in the seventh round,” Hart said. “I had one hand. My right hand was completely shot. After I hurt him and dropped him, I couldn’t really finish him. That’s why you saw the left hook come. As you can see, I can punch with both hands. I take my hat off to him. He came to fight.”
In other action:
— In a battle of unbeatens, Albert Bell (15-0, 5 KOs) won the WBC Continental Americas super featherweight belt with a 10-round unanimous decision over Andy Vences (22-1-1, 12 KOs). All three judges scored the bout 97-93 for Bell, a Toledo native competing in his first 10-rounder.
“I worked so hard for this. In my first 10-rounder, I went out there and put my undefeated record on the line against a top guy,” Bell said. “You don't see that too much anymore. I've been counted out, and this shows that I'm a fighter to be taken seriously at 130 pounds.”
— Isaac Lowe (18-0-3, 6 KOs), a stablemate of Fury's, defended his WBC International featherweight belt with a unanimous decision over Duarn Vue (14-2-2, 4 KOs).
“This was a great experience. Look at me, 25 years old, fighting in Las Vegas on the undercard of the big fellow,” Lowe said. “I hurt my right hand in the fourth round, so I was limited as to what I could do in there. But we got the job done, and we’re going to go back to the drawing board and see what it is next.”
— Heavyweight Guido “The Gladiator” Vianello (4-0, 4 KOs) made quick work of Keenan Hickman (6-4-1, 2 KOs), scoring a trio of knockdowns in the second round to secure the TKO.
—German heavyweight prospect Peter Kadiru (4-0, 1 KO) cruised to a shutout decision victory (40-36 3x) over Juan Torres (3-2-1, 1 KO) in a four-rounder.