Can Tyson Fury be a major crossover star in America?

play
Fury screams 'bring 'em all on' after KO victory (1:05)

Tyson Fury says the key to his second-round knockout vs. Tom Schwarz was "to enjoy me-self." For more Top Rank Boxing action, sign up for ESPN+ here: http://plus.espn.com/ufc. (1:05)

LAS VEGAS -- As expected, Tyson Fury dominated an overmatched Tom Schwarz on Saturday night -- finishing the fight with a second-round knockout at the MGM Grand in front of a crowd of just more than 9,000 people. In the end, it was an event that was more akin to a concert than an actual prizefight.

So what did we learn?

Is Tyson Fury the most complete heavyweight boxer in the world?

Fury did what he was supposed to in defeating the hand-picked Schwarz. With that said, it's hard to deny the overall skills of Fury, who at 6-foot-9 possesses rare boxing acumen that is centered around an educated left jab and an ability to move lightly around the ring.

After a relatively tame first stanza, Fury came out in the second in the southpaw stance and proceeded to chop up Schwarz with a series of uppercuts that bloodied his nose -- and then he peppered the German with a four punch combination that sent him to the canvas. Before that, he evaded Schwarz's most spirited salvo deftly, making him swing and miss as if was a blindfolded man looking to strike a pinata in the dark. A follow-up barrage near the end of the round had the Schwarz corner throwing in the towel.

Again, Schwarz didn't provide much resistance (which is why, in many respects, he was chosen for this assignment), but in this round Fury was able to showcase his vast array of skills -- and he showed he was able to do it from the southpaw stance.

Deontay Wilder and his devastating right hand make him the most dangerous and powerful fighter in the division. But Fury is the most versatile.


Did we learn anything from this fight?

What we learned Saturday is that "Tom Schwarz" is German for Dominic Breazeale.

While that line may be flippant and perhaps a bit too cynical for some, the reality is that both Schwarz and Breazeale, who was knocked out by Wilder in the first round a month ago, were no match for a duo that are considered to be the two best heavyweights on the planet. Both were dispatched in easy fashion.

But what we really learned here was that Fury is a highly promotable entity -- one that can carry an event on his own shoulders with his vibrant personality and charisma, both in the U.K. and now in the U.S. This past weekend was never truly meant to be a real fight, but rather a showcase of Fury to an American audience -- one step that should help make a rematch with Wilder a more lucrative enterprise.


How far does Fury have to go to become a crossover star in America?

It's very simple. While the bout with Schwarz was a way to reintroduce him to the American audience and further drum up business for the 2020 Wilder rematch, true crossover success won't come until he defeats "the Bronze Bomber."

Right now, Fury is a colorful character and a multi-dimensional boxer, but tune-up fights aren't what memorable careers are made off. While the victory over then-lineal heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko is certainly notable, the reality for Fury is that victory was almost four years ago, and he squandered that momentum by going into a mental abyss and physical decline. While many believe he out-pointed Wilder back in December, the record books say it was a draw.

A victory in the rematch with Wilder (who is scheduled to face Luis Ortiz in another rematch in September) would cement his place in modern heavyweight lore.


Is conditioning still a worry for Fury?

In a word, no. Because while Saturday night was an early blowout, Fury for the most part has shown the ability to go long distances. His career defining performances against Klitschko and Wilder were both 12-round distance affairs. Take tonight out of the equation, Fury is not a sprinter, but a marathoner, who smartly boxes his way to the finish line.

While he has scored his share of knockouts, 20 in 28 victories, the majority of his fights at the world-class level have gone into the late rounds.

A contest versus a man considered the seventh-best heavyweight in Germany -- not the world, mind you -- was bound to be short and sweet.


While Fury keeps his eye on Deontay Wilder, what does he do in the interim?

play
1:58

Tyson Fury's comeback story is one to get behind

Mark Kriegel and Andre Ward break down how Tyson Fury's amazing story is enough of a reason to root for him. For more Top Rank Boxing action, sign up for ESPN+ here: https://watch.espnplus.com/toprank/.

In his postfight interview with ESPN's Bernardo Osuna, Fury said the biggest difference between now and when he first reached the mountain top of the division in 2015 by defeating Klitschko is that this time around he didn't go on a multi-year hiatus, which led to the onset of depression, as well as his weight ballooning.

Since his controversial draw against Wilder, the WBC belt-holder, in December, Fury has made it clear that he will be a much more active boxer moving forward -- one who will be much busier than he had been prior to last year. After being dormant in 2016 and 2017, he fought three times in 2018 and there are already plans for him to fight again on either Sept. 21 or Oct. 5, before seeking out a rematch with Wilder in 2020.

Fury believes that activity will keep get him even sharper and at age 30, despite all his past troubles, could be hitting his physical prime.

Now the question is just who Fury will face in his fall tune-up. After the ease in which he dispatched Schwarz, there will be some public pressure and expectation for him to face a more respected foe. World-ranked Kubrat Pulev makes sense given his record (27-1, 14 KOs), with his lone loss coming against Klitschko in 2014, as well as his association with Top Rank.

Various names will be discussed, but as one Top Rank staffer said as Fury looks ahead to fighting Wilder again, there will be an emphasis on finding "somebody tall."