By Adam Baskin: Tim Tszyu says he’s got the “killer mindset” he brings to the title defense of his WBO junior middleweight belt against Brian Mendoza on Saturday night in Australia. This is Tszyu’s farewell to Australia for a while, as he’s heading for mega-fights in the U.S.
Tim is going to be fighting in the States after his defense against Mendoza to get the bigger paydays, such as fights against Terence Crawford, Errol Spence Jr., and Canelo Alvarez.
The money that Tszyu can make in the U.S. fighting those guys is well above what he can pull in staying in Australia, defending his WBO strap against the likes of Dennis Hogan, Jeff Horn, and Steve Spark.
There’s nothing wrong with those capable fighters, but they’re not big names that will bring Tszyu the huge dough.
A slow starter, Mendoza (22-2, 16 KOs), is unlikely to last more than three to five rounds against Tszyu. If you’re Mendoza, you want to go for broke right off the bat, and not mess around like he did in his last fight against Sebastian Fundora.
Tszyu (23-0, 17 KOs) views himself as the “hunter” in this fight because of the way he thinks, and he was installed as the new WBO 154-lb champion after Jermell Charlo abandoned his belt to face Canelo Alvarez.
Tszyu-Mendoza card will be shown on Showtime on Saturday, October 14th at 22:30 p.m. ET from the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre in Broadbeach, Queensland, Australia..
Tszyu bringing killer mindset to Mendoza fight
“Killer mentality. No anger. They’re going to run,” said Tszyu when asked what message his performance against Mendoza will send to the rest of the 154-lb division. “I got all the respect in every way,” said Tim on whether he still has a ‘chip on his shoulder,’ which it appears he does despite his denials.
Mendoza sounds like he’s got a killer mentality of his own, so Tszyu needs to be careful and not let his guard down because the American has the power to drop him and finish the job.
The way Mendoza dispatched Sebastian Fundora and Jeison Rosario was scary because those KOs came out of nowhere. One minute, Mendoza was looking like a ham & egger, the next, he was having his hand raised.
“There’s a lot of reasons for Brian winning this fight. He’s hungry, he’s dedicated, but more importantly, just his style is something that Tim Tszyu hasn’t seen a lot of,” said Mario Barrios to Jai McAllister’s YouTube channel about Mendoza.
“Brian can give Tszyu more issues than the other way around. I’m not saying Tim Tszyu is a pushover or that he’s not dangerous. He’s a great fighter and a champion for a reason right now. I think Brian’s style can create a lot of issues for Tim Tszyu.
“I think he’s a great fighter. He’s one of the few father/son duos that really is living up to his father’s name. I think he can surpass what his father accomplished. I was a big Kostya Tszyu fan when I was a kid. So, yeah, I think he has tremendous skills, and like I said, he’s a champion for a reason.”
Tim’s father Kostya Tszyu is a former light welterweight champion, who had huge power, and is someone who was an outstanding fighter. Pound-for-pound, Kostya was the better puncher than Tim and the superior fighter.
Of course, had the amateur experience that Tim didn’t have, so that explains why Kostya was so great.
If Kostya hadn’t spent so much time in the amateur ranks, he could have done a lot more with his career.
“I don’t think so,” said Barrios when asked if Tszyu is overlooking Mendoza. “Tim is a professional and has reached this stage at this level and point in his career. He is a focused fighter and knows the dangers in front of him, and I don’t think he’s looking past Brian.
“He may not be saying it a lot, but I think he definitely knows the threat Brian poses,” said Mario.
Tszyu is likely purposefully acting casual about the Mendoza fight because he doesn’t want him to know the concern he has.
“I’ve always had it, but it’s definitely grown a lot because I’ve always had a quiet confidence. That’s always been with me, but it’s definitely grown a lot,” said Mendoza to Broadway Joel.
“I started boxing at 16. I didn’t have 30 amateur fights. I had 27 amateur fights. So I’ve been getting my experience and everything, but now I just feel like I have the experience. I’ve probably gotten hundreds of rounds in with guys like Erislandy Lara and other familiar names.”
Mendoza has a lot of talent, but he has such an awkward fighting style, and not interesting to watch sometimes. He didn’t let his hands go in his loss to Jesus Ramos, and that’s his problem his entire career.
Mendoza doesn’t pull the trigger enough on his shots, causing him to fall behind and need a knockout to win.
It was the same thing in his fight with Fundora. Mendoza was hopelessly behind on the scorecards when he scored seventh-round knockout to pull out the win.
“Just elite-level work, and when I’m in there, if you if you hit me hard, I’m like, ‘Okay, I’ve been hit before.’ If you’re fast, I have timed guys like that before,” Mendoza said.
“I’m at the point where the confidence meets the experience, so that’s why you’re not getting, ‘Oh, I’m going to knock him out. I’m going to do this and that.’ I know what I’m going to do, and I know what I’m capable of,” said Mendoza.
If Mendoza is truly confident and not just mouthing words, he needs to go on the attack right away on Saturday night because Tszyu looks like he’s not playing around. He wants an early knockout, and you can bet that’s what he’ll be gunning for.
“I think that’s the confidence people see, and it’s just what it is. I just believe in myself, and a big part of my confidence, too, is working with Tony Brady because the way that I’ve always wanted to work, he pushes me past those limits,” said Mendoza.
“Every limit I thought I had, he broke every single one of them, and that’s why you’re seeing now, I can throw these bombs, and I’m not getting tired. We work day in and day out, and the confidence, I’ve always said since the amateurs, I’ve always said that my confidence comes from my work ethic,” said Mendoza.