Should Kostya Tszyu Fight Again?

kostya tszyu21.03.07 - by Nick Mathur: When examining the careers of the great boxers from the past, it is evident that these might be ideal circumstances for Kostya Tszyu to retire and focus solely on his other business ventures outside the ring. Tszyu is thirty-seven years old. He is intelligent, has managed his finances well, and no longer needs to fight in order to make money. He can retire now with his health and boxing legacy intact, in stark contrast to so many fighters who have been forced to continue even when significantly past their prime. Or when their physical or mental health has deteriorated as a result of the brutal toll that the sport takes on fighters who have been in the game for too long.

The most significant update on Tszyu’s future came recently, when he publicly stated that his intentions are to hold an exhibition fight in Russia in the relatively near future, while waiting for offers to materialize against top opponents, particularly the belt holders.

The surgery performed on his left shoulder and the subsequent rehabilitation was apparently successful, and Tszyu now anticipates taking a full three months to prepare for his next fight in order to be fully prepared after coming off of such a lengthy layoff.

However, it has been reported that his wife, management, and trainer have expressed the opinion that they do not think that it should happen, which still leaves some uncertainty regarding the likelihood of a comeback happening, even if that is what Tszyu would like to do.

From a fan’s perspective, one would care about Tszyu’s well being and would not want to see one of the most respected champions of this era continue if he is not able to perform at a high level. If Kostya were to come back and lose, especially against pedestrian opposition, it would only tarnish his legacy rather than adding to it. However, one also has to consider that Tszyu still has the skills to be able to effectively campaign as a welterweight, the division in which he would likely compete from here on out if he were to continue to fight. I can't help wanting him to come back for one or two more fights, even though I know that he doesn't need the money, and he could exit now with his health and legacy intact.

There are many top ten welterweights that would offer appealing stylistic matchups to Tszyu’s stalking, punishing style in the ring. Luis Collazo, who has been impressive recently by competing with Ricky Hatton and Shane Mosley, albeit in losing efforts, has shown a willingness to take on tough challenges. Arturo Gatti has expressed the desire to fight on in the wake of his knockout loss to Carlos Baldomir. A fight between Tszyu and Gatti would surely be a war, although Gatti’s management would be crazy if they let him sign for this fight at this point in his career. And there is also the possibility of a rematch with Zab Judah, who was silenced by Tszyu in two rounds when Tszyu became the undisputed champion in 2001. Judah eventually went on to become the undisputed welterweight champion, and then later gave Floyd Mayweather one of his tougher fights in losing a relatively close unanimous decision. It would be interesting to see if Judah has learned anything since that fight, or if Tszyu would once again be able to effectively use timing and accuracy to beat Judah’s impressive speed. A win against any one of these fighters would then make Tszyu a viable opponent for any of the welterweight titlists.

Regardless of whether or not Tszyu decides to continue his career, he will always be remembered as a respected champion. In this era of spoiled, overpaid professional athletes, his work ethic and professionalism are seldom seen anymore. A fighter’s career is a finite thing, and it remains to be seen whether or not boxing fans will ever see Kostya Tszyu in the ring again. I wish him the best of luck.

Article posted on 21.03.2007

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