Tim Tszyu: Mendoza Has Never Fought Anyone Like Me; He’ll Be Shocked About Everything

Tim Tszyu views Brian Mendoza as the toughest opponent of his career.

The unbeaten Australian respects Mendoza’s accomplishments over the last year, particularly his spectacular seventh-round knockout of Sebastian Fundora in his last fight. Mendoza trailed on all three scorecards when he caught a then-undefeated Fundora with a counter left hook that left Fundora out on his feet.

Mendoza drilled Fundora with a right-left combination a couple seconds later that knocked Fundora flat on his back and out April 8 at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California.

As much as Tszyu (23-0, 17 KOs) admires Mendoza’s resilience throughout his ascent in the 154-pound division, the WBO junior middleweight champion promised that Mendoza (22-2, 16 KOs) hasn’t encountered an opponent like him in any of his first 24 professional fights. Tszyu discussed their 12-round title fight – scheduled for Sunday afternoon in Broadbeach, Australia – after their final press conference Friday afternoon.

“I feel like they’re all confident in some sorta certain way,” Tszyu told Peter Badel and Megan Barnard of FOX Sports Australia. “He’s never fought anyone like me. So, that’s the best part. You can feel this certain way, but once you get in the ring it’s a complete shock.”

Tszyu, 28, spent more than a month training for their fight in Las Vegas, where he was able to get world-class sparring at various gyms. Mendoza, 29, lives and trains in Las Vegas as well.

“He’ll be shocked about everything, about my whole skill [set],” Tszyu said. “I know for a fact – we were in the same town [Las Vegas] for five weeks, you know, so [talk of] sparring’s going around. So, I know I’ve got it over him – facts.”

Oddsmakers obviously believe Tszyu has it over Mendoza. He is more than a 6-1 favorite to win their fight for a WBO belt Tszyu was given when Jermell Charlo chose to fight Canelo Alvarez on September 30 rather than making a mandated defense of his WBO junior middleweight crown versus Tszyu.

Sydney’s Tszyu was scheduled to challenge Charlo (35-2-1, 19 KOs) for his IBF, WBA, WBC and WBO crowns January 28 at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino’s Michelob ULTRA Arena in Las Vegas. Charlo fractured two bones in his left hand during a sparring session a few days before last Christmas, however, and withdrew from a fight that still hasn’t been rescheduled.

The Tszyu-Mendoza winner could fight Charlo next, as Charlo plans to move back down to the 154-pound division after his one-sided, 12-round defeat to Mexico’s Alvarez (60-2-2, 39 KOs).

Showtime will televise Tszyu-Mendoza as the main event of a two-bout broadcast Saturday night in the United States (10:30 p.m. EDT; 7:30 p.m. PDT). Australian junior featherweight contender Sam Goodman (15-0, 7 KOs) is scheduled to meet Miguel Flores (25-4-1, 12 KOs), of Spring, Texas, in the 12-round opener of Showtime’s telecast from Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Tszyu-Mendoza will also top a Main Event on Kayo Sports pay-per-view show scheduled to start at 12 p.m. AEST on Sunday afternoon in Australia ($59.95).

Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.

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