Tim Tszyu hopes to return to the ring sometime in March.
The WBO junior middleweight champion still wants to fight Jermell Charlo next, but Tszyu thinks Charlo might try to fight another opponent or take an extended break between bouts after making a career-high payday for facing Canelo Alvarez in their super middleweight title fight September 30. When it was mentioned to Tszyu during his post-fight press conference Sunday in Broadbeach, Australia that former welterweight champion Shawn Porter predicted a long layoff for Charlo, Tszyu didn’t dismiss that possibility.
“I don’t blame him,” Tszyu said after his 12-round, unanimous-decision victory over Brian Mendoza. “I think he’ll, in my opinion, I think he’ll be on a one-year honeymoon, spending that cash, wasting that cash.”
The WBO stripped Houston’s Charlo (35-2-1, 19 KOs) of its 154-pound championship September 30 and elevated Tszyu (24-0, 17 KOs) from interim champion to full champion. Charlo, who lost a one-sided unanimous decision to Mexico’s Alvarez (60-2-2, 39 KOs), still owns the IBF, WBA and WBC belts and could re-establish himself as their division’s fully unified champion by beating Tszyu.
Sydney’s Tszyu suggested Sunday that if they fight it will mark the end of Charlo’s career, which the unbeaten Australian claimed would’ve happened January 28 had the two fractures in Charlo’s left hand not caused a postponement and ultimately the cancelation of their mandated match.
“Yeah, well, he was in that tough spot because I became mandatory,” Tszyu said. “You know, so he was able to sort of maneuver his way and make his little payday. If I got him out in January, that payday wouldn’t have ever happened. His career would’ve been done. But he’s got his one last fight left.”
The 28-year-old Tszyu made it clear after defeating Mendoza (22-3, 16 KOs) in their main event at Gold Coast Convention & Exhibition Centre that he won’t wait around for Charlo.
Tszyu fought three times in 2023 after their fight for Charlo’s four titles was scrapped and he wants to remain active in 2024. The son of former junior welterweight champ Kostya Tszyu has left it entirely up to Charlo as to whether they finally fight next.
“That’s a question for him, not me,” Tszyu said. “I’m ready. That’s it.”
George Rose – CEO of No Limit Boxing, Tszyu’s promoter – isn’t sure Charlo will want to fight Tszyu next, either.
“I feel the same as Tim,” Rose said. “I feel like it’s a decision for him to make. If I watched Tim Tszyu fight, I’ll be looking at what the other options are for myself as well, rather than jumping in with Tim, because it’s a Tim Tszyu win [if] he steps in with Charlo. So, that’s why the hit list exists. That’s why there’s other opportunities out there that will be pursued. But any time Charlo puts his hand up, I know Tim’s saying yes straight away.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.