Tyson Fury’s Vegas debut was all about exposing the heavyweight star to a new audience, and he put on a show.
This was about introducing an attraction to a body of people outside the hardcore sphere.
Tyson Fury is known to us fanatics, but the aim is to make him known to the casuals and even the ones who don’t dabble, like, ever in watching boxing.
On Saturday, and in the months and weeks leading up to the fight pitting “The Gypsy King” against a non-threatening foe named Tom Schwarz, the desire on the part of Team Fury and Team Top Rank was to tell all about this super-sized athlete with an even larger personality.
Special sort, that is the determination made by the greatest one to ever do this promotional thing, Bob Arum, the 87-year-old deal-maker who has forgotten more than the next-best player in his realm even knows.
This is the type of guy who can break out, who can get us off the niche websites and onto the mainstream apps and sites and platforms, Brooklyn Bobfather reasoned. And no, not via the TMZ angle, not through playing up beefs and such. That can work, but not as well, arguably, as when attributes that more folks can identify with are presented.
Fury got the job done at the MGM on Saturday on ESPN+, and we came away with some takeaways from the stoppage victory.
We were worried that the Fury vs Scwarz tango would be a spar-y, spar-y night. But nah, Fury understood that in this age, it is better to offer a conclusive finish. Pugilism is appreciated by a more narrow few, while KOs go viral. His finishing off of Schwarz played perfectly in this short attention span society.
YO ADRIAN, DIG THIS ROCKY HOMAGE
That entrance was a win for Fury; he looked to channel a fight icon everybody 18 to 80 knows, Balboa. The attire, the James Brown music as he strode tall and proud to the ring, that was flawlessly executed.
DANGER, GUSHING ZONE
This is the climate emergency era, and so we are faced with more tornadoes and floods and such. And this applies in the sports entertainment business. Narrative control is in, and candid is out.
So I convey this to you all who maybe get taken aback by Joe Tessitore and the boys going a wee bit overboard in their compliments of Fury, this is what it is. This push is structured not for you reading this, but instead someone coming in from the cold. Yep, it could be seen as over-selling — you might cringe when Tess makes it seem like Ali just smoked Frazier after Fury bashed Schwarz, but it is what it is. This is the age we are in, and all we can do is understand it. Tess makes big bank and is good at what he does, it’s up to him to go that route. And in the end, I do think it can benefit us all, widening the scope of interest in the sport. It is what it is.
ON SECOND THOUGHT…
I’ve come around to the reasoning which has Fury set to rematch Wilder in the first quarter of 2020. Now, I admit to you loud and proud that I don’t like the PPV construct, I think such paywalls retard the optimal progress in eyeball accumulation. Further, with so much money flooding in, there should be enough to satisfy purse demands without asking the punters to pony up six times a year.
But this is the system we live in, these choices are made high above my station, so it is what it is. And in this case, Arum will have been right when he says that after proper marination, the Wilder vs Fury rematch will be X times bigger then than if done now.
However, there is but of course danger inherent in choosing the marination route. See Ruiz, Andy. His derailment of the AJ train cost Wilder what would have been the most high-profile UK bout of all time and tens of millions of dollars. However, people adapt to changing winds, and no one should assume those millions won’t necessarily be made up somehow, some way, against someone else.
TOTAL REQUEST LIVE
I dig the choice of “American Pie,” done as a duet with Arum, over the solo strike of I “Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing” by Aerosmith, so maybe Fury can take that under advisement. Cheesy, late inning Aerosmith compares so unfavorably to prime ‘Smithery that I take it as an affront. So hopefully Fury can find a new go-to in-ring karaoke moving forward.
What are your takeaways, my friends, from the Fury Vegas victory?