Tim Tszyu Faces Dangerous Brian Mendoza This Saturday Night On Showtime
By Adam Baskin: WBO junior middleweight champion Tim Tszyu will be in with the first big puncher of his career in his maiden title defense against WBC interim champ Brian Mendoza this Saturday night on October 14th.
Tszyu, 28, is a little bit younger than the 29-year-old Mendoza and the favorite with the oddsmakers. However, that doesn’t mean anything because with Albuquerque, New Mexico natives’ power, he could stop Tszyu.
The uppercuts that Mendoza likes to throw are something that Tszyu needs to be on the lookout for because he’s going to be looking to land that shot all night this Saturday.
If Brian beats Tszyu, he’ll be doing IBF, WBA & WBC 154-lb champion Jermell Charlo a big favor because he clearly doesn’t want to mix it up with him. Jermell made Tszyu wait for over a year to a shot at his WBO title and then took off, leaving him high & dry to go pick up a paycheck against Canelo Alvarez.
Mendoza (22-2, 16 KOs) looked like a wrecking machine in his last fight, stopping Sebastian Fundora in the seventh round last April. That performance showed that Mendoza could be the fighter to take over the division, but he needs to take care of Tszyu first.
Tszyu-Mendoza event will be shown on Showtime at 10:30 p.m. ET/7:30 p.m. PT this Saturday, October 14th, from the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre in Sydney, Australia.
Can Tszyu handle Mendoza’s pressure?
“What happens when you put in good with good? You get to see who’s great, and I think that’s what’s happening with Brian Mendoza,” said Shawn Porter to Main Events, talking about Saturday’s fight between WBO junior middleweight champion Tim Tszyu against challenger Brian Mendoza.
Tszyu (23-0, 17 KOs) hit the deck last year, getting dropped by the non-puncher Terrell Gausha in the first round, but he was able to get up the deck to grind out a narrow 12-round decision.
Errol Spence Jr. and Terence Crawford are expected to move up to 154 next year, but it’s questionable whether either will want to fight Tszyu because he’s more trouble than he’s worth.
“Can Mendoza withstand the Tszyu pressure? On the other side of it, I don’t know if Tim Tszyu has been hit by somebody as hard as Brian Mendoza,” said Showtime’s Brian Custer.
This is a fight that will show whether the 28-year-old Tszyu is for real or not, as it’s still not clear whether he’s the guy at 154 now that former WBO champion Jermell Charlo has been exposed by Canelo Alvarez.
“Obviously, it was a flash kind of thing with Terrell Gausha, and then he overwhelmed him, but what about a guy like Mendoza who can hit really hard? We’ll find out what kind of chin Tim Tszyu has.
“Brian Mendoza, I don’t know if he’s told you guys in Australia. He always says it over here. ‘I’m the boogeyman at 154.’ That’s his moniker. So that’s why I love this fight, I can’t wait to see it,” said Custer.
The one-punch power that Mendoza possesses makes him the boogeyman in the 154-lb division because he’s a fighter who can turn a fight around at a moment’s notice, and he carries his power late into his fights. If Tszyu switches off for even a moment, he’ll find himself on the canvas like we saw in his fight with Gauza last year.
“His knockouts are spectacular and highlight real knockouts, which makes him a very dangerous fighter,” said ring announcer Jimmy Lennon Jr. about Mendoza.
“Once again, I can’t wait to introduce the fighters, sit down, and watch it unfold.”
“I think Tim Tszyu stops Mendoza,” said junior middleweight contender Erickson ‘The Hammer’ Lubin.
“I think it’s going to be an explosive fight, and it’s going to give Tim an opportunity to shine and to prove what he’s capable of doing against a fighter who’s been in against one of the other top contenders in not only [Sebastian] Fundora but before that, Jeison Rosario who’s also battled for a title,” said Bernardo Osuna of ESPN.
Will Tszyu prove that he’s the best, or will he be exposed by Mendoza? It’s fair to say that Tszyu’s best chance of winning is to get to Mendoza early before he gets warmed up, because the longer this fight goes the more likely he stops Tim.
“So it is a dangerous fight for Tim Tszyu to have, and once again, he’s stepping up and taking on the toughest opponents that are available at the time,” said Osuna. “So it’s going to be a great fight, it’s going to be a great atmosphere again. I’m honored to be on my way there to be part of it.
Tszyu must be switched on
“I was cold at the time. I didn’t get a good warm-up. Everything was a bit different,” said Tim Tszyu to Hello Sport about being dropped by Terrell Gausha in the first round of their fight last year.
“It was a weird feeling because I remember as soon as I dropped, I was like, ‘What the f**K happened?’ It was just like a little flash. I was not hurt; everything was good. I’ve never been hurt.”
It looked like Tszyu was hurt by the knockdown from Gauza, as he didn’t appear fully alert after he got back up. Even if it was a flash knockdown, that doesn’t explain why Tszyu struggled through the remainder of the fight and barely won a 12 round decision.
“As soon as I got up, I was like, ‘This is round one, and I’m behind. I’m all the way in America, a long way from home. I need to get my s**t together,” said Tszyu about his knockdown against Gauza. “Now it’s on.’ It was a little wake-up call that I needed, which sort of worked in my favor because afterward, I just went all out.
“It was like a switch. I needed to turn that switch on before the fight. Not in round one, but before the fight. When I went to the Tony Harrison fight, I was switched on from the dressing room. I could feel it. I could feel the energy.
“I can figure someone out in the first round, and I can sort of see how which way it’s going to go and what I’m going to do and how I’m going to do it methodically.
“I don’t really watch my opponents. I’ve watched a few fights, but I don’t sit there studying. I feel like once you get in the ring, and if you got a certain plan and that plan doesn’t go ahead, you sort of panic. You have to be able to learn on the go.
“For me, it’s not what they bring, but it’s what I’m going to bring to them that they have to watch out,” said Tszyu.