By Adam Baskin: WBO junior middleweight champion Tim Tszyu and Brian Mendoza weighed in successfully on Friday for their 50-50 war tonight on Showtime. The cool, calm & collected Tszyu (23-0, 17 KOs) weighed in at 153 lbs, and challenger Mendoza (22-2, 16 KOs) came in at 154 lbs.
If Tszyu isn’t ready for this fight tonight, he could regret it because Mendoza is treating this fight like it’s his Super Bowl, and he’s putting everything he can into winning because he understands he might not get another opportunity.
Mendoza will probably be looking to surprise Tszyu with his sneaky shots by varying the power of his punches and changing angles.
That’s what makes his punches seem so much harder because he doesn’t put everything he has into them for four or five rounds, and then suddenly, he’ll load up and catch his opponents by surprise.
Tsyu-Mendoza will fight at the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre in Broadbeach, Queensland, Australia. The fight card starts at 10:30 p.m. ET.
Tim Tszyu 153 vs. Brian Mendoza 154
Sam Goodman 124.7 vs. Miguel Flores 124.8
Nathaniel May 129.8 vs. Jackson England 129.7
Shanell Dargan 121.1 vs. Amber Amelia 120.7
Julius Long 291.5 vs. Toese Vousiutu 247.3
Hassan Hamdan 141.9 vs. Danvers Cuschieri 142.3
Sergei Vorobev 153.7 vs. Wade Ryan 153.8
Tszyu easily made weight
“The buzz is there. It shows how big this fight is. I’m not too angry. I’m nice and relaxed,” said Tim Tszyu to From The Stands, immediately after his weigh-in for his fight against Brian Mendoza.
“Usually, I’m roasting myself in the sauna. This time, it’s much easier. Anytime you have someone that can put your lights out, then you’ve got to be extra cautious,” said Tszyu.
It’s good that Tszyu didn’t struggle to make the 154-lb limit because this is too important of a fight for him to be draining himself to make weight. If he’s not at full strength tonight, he could lose to Mendoza. Heck, even if Tszyu is at full strength, he can lose the fight.
“It’s awesome. When they mention the name Tszyu, they’re going to say, ‘The greatest family of boxers that ever lived,’” said Tszyu. “They’ve taken attention, and I’ve noticed that, and I’ve felt it in the gyms of in Vegas. Showtime wouldn’t be coming out here all the way down to Australia for rubbish. It’s the Tszyu name. It means more than just what we’re doing right now,” said Tszyu.
“I thought this was 60/40 for Tim. I think it’s 55-45 for Tim. I think this is going to be a tough one,” said Shawn Porter to the media, making his prediction for tonight’s fight between Tszyu & Mendoza.
The fact that Porteer views the fight as 55-45 suggests that Mendoza has a real chance of winning tonight, and that would be a disaster for Tszyu. He’s got so many big money fights on the horizon, and all of them would disappear if he loses to Mendoza.
Instead of Tszyu getting those fights against Canelo Alvarez, Terence Crawford, Jermell Charlo, and Errol Spence Jr., it would be Mendoza, and he’d make a fortune.
“Brian is smart, he’s super, super courageous. He might not have the style that will impress the judges for 12 rounds, but I think he’s got the style that will keep him alive in the fight for 12 rounds,” said Porter.
Mendoza needs a knockout to win
“This ain’t going to be no one, two round situation, either way, but I think I think Brian’s got some he’s got some tricks up his sleeve. I will say that. Yeah, I think so,” said Porter when asked if Mendoza has to knockout Tszyu to win.
It might be true that Mendoza needs a knockout to get the win tonight because the fight is taking place in Tszyu’s backyard in Australia. So if the rounds are close or even if they’re not, the judges might give them to the home fighter, Tszyu.
“You just never know what judges are looking at sometimes, but you just have to take into account that the judges, I’m sure that will be there tomorrow night, are judges that have seen Tim before,” said Porter. “Their minds are kind of trained to see Tim.
“You’re not trained to see both guys. You’re really just kind of looking at this one side. I’m not picking on any judges or anything like that. I’m just kind of telling the truth.
“What I expect to see is a Brian Mendoza that’s bouncing, moving, trying to keep Tim off balance and find moments. I really don’t see Tim giving a lot of moments away.”
Porter is right about Tszyu not giving away too many moments. Mendoza isn’t active enough most of the time, and he gives rounds away left & right because he doesn’t throw enough. He’s too busy moving & clinching to win rounds.
The problem is, if Mendoza finds himself hopelessly behind tonight, Tszyu could play it safe and coast for the remainder of the fight.
“So when you look at his aggression and the fact that he could possibly connect a little more than Brian,” said Porter. “If that’s the case, I think Brian does need a knockout in order to win this fight.
“I think he’s got to stay at junior. I think he’s got to really solidify himself and take over. I think from the standpoint of him being busy, this is fantastic. It’s borderline amazing to see him be as active as he’s been, and on top of that, he’s really performed,” said Porter.
Tszyu will need to move up to 160 if he wants to be close enough to get a fight against Canelo Alvarez at 168.
If Tszyu stays at 154, Canelo likely won’t agree to fight him because he won’t want to deal with the backlash from fans for fighting another smaller guy. What Tszyu should do is try to get a fight against Spence, Crawford, or Jermell right away. If he can’t get any of them to face him, he should move up to 160.
“But at the same time, he still has some growing to do, and I think choosing my words carefully, but I will be blunt,” said Porter. “He’s got to be safe at this point, you know, and it doesn’t get safer when you move up.
“154 doesn’t have the kind of challenges as 160. So before he makes that move, I think he should take over, grow just a little bit more, and, of course, grow physically as well,” said Porter.
Tszyu will never see Jermell Charlo in ring
“I told the ‘No Limit’ guys, I think, a fight ago that they wouldn’t be seeing Jermell Charlo in the ring,” Porter said. “They’ll never see Jermell Charlo in the ring. I think if Tim were to chase him, he’d have to chase him to 160.”
Jermell made it clear after his fight with Canelo that he wants Terence Crawford, and he’s not interested in fighting the Tszyu vs. Mendoza winner. If Jermell can’t get the Crawford fight, he’ll likely retire. He’s not going to fight Tszyu.
“As bad as Jermell performed in his last fight, it doesn’t look like he has any intentions of fighting again,” said Porter. “But at the same time, when you fight that bad, you kind of have to come back to erase everybody’s memory.
“So, it’s really tough to say what Jermell is going to do moving forward. One hundred fifty-four ain’t going to be it, I will say that.
“This is his [Tszyu] third fight this year, and when you’re that active, nobody can ignore you being in the third fight in one year, especially when you have been the number one guy, you fight the number one guy, and you haven’t had to take on these challenges. So nobody can ignore
“On top of that, Brian’s last performance, he’s he’s got somewhat of a hot name now too. So I think this is really the one that solidifies Tim as the guy at 154. He’s got to get over this. This is a hump for him. I think it’s going to be a tough fight, and I just said this live on TV.
“If we don’t see the same Tim that we saw in the last fight, in the fight before that, guess what? Styles make fights. This is a really tough guy, and just because he struggles against Brian, guess what?
“You stepped up to another level, and you may struggle once you get there, but once you get there, you become better from it,” said Porter.