Tyson Fury came into the ring to “Crazy,” Patsy Cline’s country classic.
It’s an old song. But for seven rounds Saturday night, it said it all.
Crazy happened in Fury’s stunning seventh-round stoppage of Deontay Wilder in a heavyweight rematch at the MGM Grand. Fury delivered the domination of Wilder that he promised, knocking him down twice, in the third round and again in the fifth, in handing the World Boxing Council champion his first loss.
Fury (30-0-1, 21 knockouts), who weighed in more than 40 pounds heavier than Wilder (42-1-1), was in charge from the outset. In the third, Fury moved forward, throwing big shots that narrowly missed just as Wilder ducked. It was a dangerous game. It was risky. But the risk paid off. Fury floored Wilder with glancing left and right shots off the back of his head. The crowd, predominantly Fury fans from his native England, roared.
Wilder looked confused. He slipped. He got up, unsure of what was next.
In the fifth, Wilder was down again, this time from a left to the body. Fury was having his way, making Wilder look more like an amateur than a defending champion. Fury fans didn’t have to sing “God Save the Queen.” It looked as if nothing could save Wilder.
In the sixth, blood began pouring from Wilder’s left ear. Fury licked the blood off Wilder’s neck during a clinch, like a predator sensing that his prey was finished. He was. In the seventh, Wilder’s corner threw in the towel, ending it at 1:39 of the round.
It was as one-sided as their first fight was close. In that December 2018 bout at Staples Center, Wilder knocked down Fury twice, including a 12th-round combination that put the”Gypsy King” down hard. But Fury recovered and earned a draw.
This marks an even greater comeback for Fury, who adds Wilder’s WBC belt to his lineal title, and now can turn his attention to regaining the other heavyweight belts, which he won by beating Wladimir Klitschko in 2015 but lost when the fame led his life to spiral out of control.
Earlier on the pay-per-view card, Charles Martin, an International Boxing Federation heavyweight champion from Carson, got closer to a chance at regaining the title he lost in a second-round stoppage to Anthony Joshua in April 2016. He stopped Gerald Washington, a former USC football player, in a so-called elimination bout, putting him second behind Kubrat Pulev for a mandatory shot at Joshua.
Washington struck first, landing a straight right, seconds after the opening bell. But the left-hander Martin responded quickly, countering with hands as quick as they are heavy. He backed Washington into the ropes with a succession of shot that might have been an early warning of what was to come.
Martin (28-2-1, 25 KOs) rocked Washington with a left in the fourth, the round that Martin promised a knockout. There was no KO. But there some momentum, all in favor of Martin,.
His left started to zero in, landing three more times in the fifth. Washington (20-4-1, 13 KOs) looked stiff. His ponderous jab had no effect. He waved it in front of Martin’s face. But it was more of a gesture than a weapon.
In the sixth, Martin simply threw another left, this time over the stationary jab. It landed like a bomb, exploding at impact into the face of Washington. Boom, Washington went down like a concrete block. There was no getting up. Referee Tony Weeks ended it at 1:57 of the sixth.
In the second bout on the pay-per-view card, a victorious Emanuel Navarrete quickly discovered he was in for a longer night than he might have expected.
Navarrete is known for slow starts. Sure enough, the World Boxing Organization’s junior-featherweight champion was cautious in the first and second rounds against Jeo Santisima, an unknown Filipino.
In the third, however, Navarrete (31-1, 26 KOs) mounted his familiar whirlwind-like charge. Santisima was ready for it, moving laterally and away from Navarrete’s straight-line pursuit. In the fifth, Santisima backed Navarrete back into the ropes with a right hand.
Navarrete, who said he injured his right thumb, is known for his busy style. For much of the bout, however, Santisima was the busier fighter. It wasn’t until the 10th that Navarrete began to use his length and energy, throwing punches at a rate that began to slow Santisima (19-3, 16 KOs).
In the 11th, the Filipino looked exhausted. His corner saw the fatigue, throwing in the towel just as Santisima appeared defenseless at 2:20 of the round.
“The fight did take a long time,” said Navarrete, who hopes to unify the 122-pound title before moving up the scale to featherweight.“That’s because I was in against a very good fighter.”
Best of undercard
It was 10 rounds of punishment. First, Petros Ananyan suffered. Then, Subriel Matias. It was about who could endure.
In the end, Anyanan endured blood, bruises and Matias.
Ananyan, of Brooklyn, N.Y., got rocked early, yet came back in the seventh round with four successive rights and a left, sending a dazed Matias backpedaling into the ropes. Without those ropes, the previously unbeaten Matias would have landed in the ringside seats.
It was scored a knockdown and it was enough for Ananyan (15-2-2, 7 KOs) to win a 95-94, 96-93, 95-94 decision in a significant upset. Matias (15-1, 15 KOs), a junior-welterweight prospect from Puerto Rico, was fighting for only the second time since Maxim Dadashev died three days after suffering a brain injury in a loss to him last July in Oxon Hill, Md.
The first fight on the pay-per-view portion of the card didn’t do much to convince anyone that their $79.99 investment was worth it. It was a unanimous decision and a unanimous bore.
Sebastian Fundora (14-0-1), a 6-foot-6 junior-middleweight from Coachella, won all three scorecards against 5-10 Daniel Lewis (6-1, 4 KOs), an Australian who leaped and leaped, yet missed and missed in a futile attempt to land a punch on Fundora’s jaw.
Gabriel Flores (16-0, 6 KOs), a lightweight with a prospect’s skillset from Stockton, threw a blistering right hand for knockdown in the first round, then moved side to side while landing head-rocking shots from various angles for a unanimous decision over Matt Conway (17-2, 7 KOs) of Pittsburgh.
New Jersey welterweight Vito Mielnicki, a 17-year-old high school student, had power in his hands and agility in his feet. Corey Champion, of Virginia, had a promising name, but no chance. Mielnicki (5-0, 4 KOs) dropped Champion (1-3, 1 KO) with a three-punch combination in the first round and went on to win a one-sided decision.
Javier Molina (22-2, 9 KOs), a junior-welterweight from Norwalk, pursued aggressively and punched precisely, both enough to score a unanimous decision over Amir Imam (21-2, 18 KOs), a fighter from Albany, N.Y. who lost a world title shot to Jose Ramirez two years ago.
In a fight with nearly as many infractions as punches, referee Vic Drakulich issued more penalties than a traffic cop writes tickets in a speed trap. Alberto Guevaro (27-6, 12 KOs), of Mexico, was penalized three points. Isaac Lowe (20-0-3, 6 KOs), Fury’s U.K. stablemate, was penalized three. Nothing else about the featherweight bout was remotely interesting. Lowe won a unanimous decision.
The first fight on the card didn’t last long. Las Vegas lightweight Rolando Romero (11-0, 10 KOs), the son of a Cuban amateur, ended the afternoon matinee within two rounds. He threw a right hand with power and precision, then followed with a left, scoring two knockdowns for a second-round stoppage of Atrus Ahemetovs (5-1, 2 KOs).