In Tim Tszyu’s third bout of 2023, the son of a legend’s goal to become undisputed didn’t go exactly as planned in more ways than one. Tim’s opponent Brian Mendoza makes a surprise visit to Australia’s Gold Coast Convention Centre in search of a shot at a legit world title after the WBO stripped the kingpin of the junior middleweight Jermell Charlo. To be honest, boxing fans should’ve seen this coming, given the amount of upsets and drama that’s played out in the always-delivering 154-pound division.
Most of us assumed Tim Tszyu would be challenging Jermell Charlo until the Canelo Alvarez opportunity presented itself. Another thing that shocked the world in this division was Brain Mendoza’s knockout victory early this year over Sebastian Fundora. In fact, many members of the boxing media thought it was Fundora who had worked his way into the shot at Mell Charlo for all the marbles. However, when Tim Tszyu defeated Tony Harrison, it legitimized him as a worthy foe, especially the way he broke the former champ down, scoring a 9th-round stoppage.
The best-laid plans is an old saying that fits junior middleweight perfectly. If Tim Tszyu wants to eventually meet up with Charlo or even possibly Terrence Crawford, he better not slip on this potential banana peel in the form of a guy who can punch in Brian Mendoza. Adding another layer to this would be Tszyu’s aggressive style, looking to do real damage in the ring. Tim isn’t the best defender, but after the first few rounds, he tends to tighten up overall, whether we’re talking about his guard or the accuracy of his punches. This boxing podcaster believes Tim is susceptible to being hurt early and late in the main event this Saturday on Showtime.
We saw firsthand in 2022 how a flush straight right by Terrell Guasha put Tim on his butt. To his credit, he went right back into the fire and dominated the remaining 11 rounds. Tim is a come-forward fighter looking to engage but does so using solid fundamentals. His jab is crisp, and once he gets his engine warmed up, Tim has great timing to land left hooks to the head or body. Right hands up top once the body attack is set up and, of course, his uppercut, which will likely be the game changer against Mendoza.
Let us not forget how everything was going as planned for Sebastian Fundora beating Mendoza in every round cleanly. A bloody-nosed Mendoza never lost sight of the prize and refused to give in when he landed a nasty left hook. Brian followed up with a left-right combination that had Fundora kissing the canvas for good. Fundora throws uppercuts very unorthodox, and he was still landing them at will, along with almost everything he threw until he was put out by Mendoza.
This boxing hardcore fully expects Mendoza to have success in the middle of the ring and on the outside, circling in the opening frames. At some point, the cleaner, harder, and more effective punches will be coming from Tim Tszyu. As previously mentioned, if this gets into the late rounds, Mendoza is still very dangerous during exchanges and countering a too-aggressive Tszyu. That same left hook Brian hit Fundora with is the main ingredient for Mendoza to pull another rabbit out of his hat. Beyond two-way action and an overall fun fight to watch, look for Tszyu to take over starting around the 3rd or 4th round. Barring him getting tagged while throwing wildly, this one should be in the bag for Tim Tszyu.
My Official Prediction is Tim Tszyu by Unanimous Decision.
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Side Note: Don’t forget to keep an eye on the 160-pound unification bout Alimkhanuly vs. Gualtieri, along with a very good test for contender Keyshawn Davis in Nahir Albright in the co-feature on ESPN.
Written by Chris Carlson, Host/Producer of The Rope A Dope Radio Podcast Available at www.blogtalkradio.com/ropeadoperadio Follow on Twitter @RopeADopeRadio