Tyson Fury overcame an awful early double-cut above his right eye to beat Otto Wallin on points and remain the undefeated lineal heavyweight world champion in Las Vegas.
The bloodied 31-year-old, who finished the fight with his white shorts stained pink, sustained a large gash above his eyebrow and a smaller one in his eyelid in the third round and a constant trickle of blood troubled him for the remainder of what was a far more dramatic bout than many expected at the T-Mobile Arena.
It was also a concern for referee Tony Week who, on several occasions, asked his corner to tend to the cut and called in the doctor towards the end of the sixth round with genuine concerns the fight could be stopped.
However, Fury battled through and - as his opponent tired - he began to take control, despite still being hampered by the injury and was given victory by the judges on the scorecards 116-112, 117-111, 118-110. He was later taken to hospital to get the cuts sorted out.
Fury (29-0-1, 20 KOs), who rebranded himself El Rey de los Gitanos (Spanish for his usual moniker King of the Gypsies) for Mexican Independence weekend, took the fight against the relative unknown from Sweden as stop-gap before a much-anticipated rematch with WBC champion Deontay Wilder in February following their controversial draw last year.
The lineal heavyweight champion was overwhelming 1/25 favourite to make it 29 victories out of 30 bouts - and the fourth of his astonishing comeback to the sport just 15 months ago - embraced the Mexican theme once more during his ringwalk wearing a sombrero and poncho.
He arrived into the T-Mobile Arena, almost full to its 20,000 capacity, on a wheeled platform accompanied by a mariachi band, stilt walkers waving red, white and green flags.
But the mood was soon about to change.
Fury spent the first round assessing what exactly was in front of him, having admitted pre-fight he knew little about the unbeaten Wallin, and his superior height and reach allowed him to stay out of trouble.
In the second round Fury missed with one big right and that allowed his opponent to back him into a corner but, after failing to land a blow, the former world heavyweight champion got out of danger.
The Mancunian came out looking to be more aggressive but ended the third round with a cut above his right eye, although it was initially unclear how it was sustained.
Blood running into his eye from a wide gash caused Fury a major problem, with the 31-year-old frequently having to wipe it clear and that allowed Wallin to land at least one punch in the fourth.
"No panic, no stress," was the advice from trainer Ben Davison before the fifth and Wallin subsequently walked onto one short right-hand.
The doctor was called in with just over a minute of the sixth remaining but Fury was cleared to continue and he knew he had to finish it quickly.
Wallin grew in confidence at the sight of blood and all of a sudden a shock was on the cards as he looked to emulate compatriot Ingemar Johansson, who 60 years ago shocked the world by upsetting dominant world champion Floyd Patterson in New York.
With the eye causing him a problem and no idea how long he would be allowed to continue, he tried to step up the attack after the doctor's inspection and landed two big right-handers in the seventh round, one which rocked Wallin back onto the ropes, and a few more punches found their target in the eighth and ninth.
Although the Swede, unbeaten in his first 20 fights but stepping up a level here, looked to be tiring he managed to grind it out to the final round where, sensing his one final opportunity, landed a big left early and Fury was more than happy to cling onto his opponent in an attempt to avoid further trouble.
But despite Wallin thinking he had done enough the win was a unanimous one for Fury.
The 28-year-old challenger (20-1, 13 KOs) was fighting for the first time since his dad Carl, who taught him how to box, died back in May and he had vowed to fulfil the promise he made to him by reaching the top of the sport.
That may not have happened tonight, but he certainly did himself proud just to take the fight to the scorecards and is not so unknown anymore.
Fury said: "I know Otto's father (who died earlier this year) would be very proud of his son. It was a great fight, I got caught on the eye and that changed the fight. For the majority I could not see out of the eye. Then there was a clash of heads and I got cut again.
"I hit him with some good shots, some big body shots. A good 12 rounds, he was tough. Deontay Wilder, I want you next, bum. That's my fourth fight, it has put me in good stead for the big dosser, February 22nd. Let the cut heal, have some time to relax with the family.
"I haven't seen the cut, it feels quite bad, but I'm the Gypsy Warrior. It's all heart and determination. If I can keep going, I will keep going. He was 20-0 didn't know how to lose but he does now."