Tyson Fury looked sharp and ready ahead of his potential rematch with Deontay Wilder, but let's keep Saturday's two-round win over Tom Schwarz in perspective.
Fury impressively and efficiently did what he had to do in his fourth fight in 12 months since returning from an exile of over two-and-a-half years. He entertained in Las Vegas, and delivered a good finish.
This was all about keeping Fury busy and active, keeping him in shape and unbeaten as he waits for a rematch against WBC titleholder Wilder next year, while boosting his U.S. profile with the fight shown live on ESPN.
And Fury (28-0-1, 20 KOs) did a good job, showing how he can control a fight through his jab, avoid danger with fast head movement and pierce an opponent's defence with accurate power punches.
This was no one-punch, one-round destruction of an opponent, not like American Wilder (41-0-1, 40 KOs) showed us against Breazeale last month. But Fury, 30, has never been a one-punch knockout artist. He instead tends to systematically dismantle fighters, doing to Schwarz what he did to his opponents in two warm-up fights last year before he faced Wilder.
Fury showed he is in good form, but he did not beat an elite-level opponent at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Had 25-year-old Schwarz (24-1, 16 KOs) beaten Fury, it would have been a bigger shock than Andy Ruiz Jr stopping Fury's fellow Briton Anthony Joshua in seven rounds for the IBF, WBA and WBO world heavyweight titles earlier this month.
"I'm a big, fat, bald head walking out in an Uncle Sam outfit and everybody loved it, so it just proves you don't take your job too seriously," Fury said.
"A couple of weeks ago, we saw a man who is a bit afraid to be in the ring [Joshua]. Did we see that tonight? I don't think so."
But Schwarz did not -- and was never going to -- offer as much of a threat as Mexican-American Ruiz, who was a former world title challenger before he met Joshua. Fury was the first elite opponent Schwarz had met in the ring and he looked too slow on his feet to ever worry Fury. When Schwarz did get in close, he could not land a glove on Fury.
In the first round, Fury was able to move about the ring and control the pace through his jab, with single shots rather than combinations.
He kept on the move, never giving Schwarz a moment to settle. Fury showed more of his arsenal in the second round, landing an uppercut and a left hook thrown from a southpaw stance. 'The Gypsy King' landed hooks from different angles and Schwarz's face was already smothered in blood before the German looked to capitalise with Fury on the ropes.
But Schwarz found catching Fury clean as difficult as catching smoke. In one particularly impressive moment, Fury showed off his quick head movement, before sliding away to mount what proved a decisive attack of his own. The Briton sent a snaking right hand through the guard of Schwarz to drop the German to his knees. While Fury weighed in at 263 pounds for Schwarz -- seven pounds heavier than he was against Wilder -- the extra bulk was clearly not hindering him too much.
When the fight resumed after a count, Fury seized his moment to finish with a series of clubbing hooks and the fight was stopped.
Schwarz could not test Fury's boxing ability, but from a promoter's perspective, that was never the intention. The German was selected to give Fury a workout, to sharpen the 30-year-old's skills, while he waits for the rematch with Wilder after their points draw in December.
It was good from Fury, but it was to be expected from a man who has beaten the likes of Wladimir Klitschko and who was forced to settle for a controversial draw with Wilder in December.
Fury could do with his next warm-up bout -- expected to be in September or October -- being a bit more of test.