By Sean Jones: Tim Tszyu retained his WBO junior middleweight title after a grueling fight with Brian Mendoza, although he claims that Mendoza was not his toughest opponent to date.
It appeared that Mendoza caused Tim massive trouble during their fight, but Tsyu may not want to admit it. Some would argue that if Mendoza hadn’t lost his momentum after the sixth round, he could have defeated Tszyu.
Mendoza was certainly dominating Tszyu when he was at his best, but he didn’t have the gas tank to maintain what he had started.
When Tszyu was asked if Mendoza had been his most formidable opponent, he named these three fighters as having given him more trouble:
Mendoza (22-3, 16 KOs) gave Tszyu a lot of problems with his toughness and the power shots he was bouncing off his chin in their headliner fight at the Gold Coast Convention Centre, Broadbeach, Australia.
In the end, Tszyu got the victory, winning a twelve round unanimous decision, but it was far from easy. The scores were 116-112, 116-111, and 117-111.
Mendoza could have won
“I think there have been a few. A lot of fighters are tough. Wade Ryan, earlier in my career, was very tough. Terrell Gausha was tough as well. There are plenty of tough ones out there. [Takeshi] Inoue was tough,” said Tim Tszyu when asked at the post-fight press conference if Brian Mendoza was the toughest opponent of his career.
Mendoza would likely mop the deck with Gausha, Wade Ryan, and Takeshi Inoue if he were to fight them. It’s interesting, though, that Tszyu isn’t giving Mendoza credit for the tough fight that he gave him.
Brian had Tszyu hurt in the 11th round when he hit him on the belt line with a right hand. He landed that shot on Tszyu just when Tim was unloading with one of his own, and he wasn’t ready for it.
Who knows what would have happened if Mendoza had gone for the coup to grace to finish the job because Tim was doubled over in pain from the perfectly placed body shots, doing his best acting job to feign being hit by a low blow. Replays showed that it wasn’t low.
“It was a great Tim Tszyu performance. Again, it’s different to what we’ve seen in these last few fights,” said promoter George Rose. “For everyone that that was sitting there watching tonight, you can see how dangerous Brian Mendoza was.
“We all talked about his power leading up to the fight, and every time he [Mendoza] threw one of them big punches, I think everyone held their breath for a moment, and then you see Tim just shake it off and keep going forward and stick to the plan,” Rose continued.
“We absolutely love it, but what Tim said. Full respect for Mendoza. I don’t know how he kept walking after some of those hits. The team and the family of Mendoza were a pleasure to work with all week.
“A lot of respect for them and their family. I appreciate them coming all the way out here and putting on a great show for the people here. That was a Tim Tszyu show today, and that’s what we love about Australian boxing.
“Tim Tszyu really puts us on the map, and he did that again today. I think that it’s another big one before we head over to the U.S. now and take Vegas,” said Rose.