Tszyu Wondered How Mendoza Was Still Standing, Says ‘A Lot Of Fighters Would’ve Quit’

Tim Tszyu couldn’t believe Brian Mendoza remained on his feet after Tszyu landed so many flush punches on him during their entirely one-sided 11th round Sunday afternoon.

The courageous challenger consistently took Tszyu’s hardest shots and somehow managed to remain on his feet until the bell rang to end the 11th round. With a cut over his left eye and an abrasion beneath his right eye, a determined Mendoza moved, slipped and held enough to avoid what would’ve been the first knockdown of his nine-year, 25-fight professional career.

A resilient Mendoza recovered enough between the 11th and 12th rounds to make the final three minutes of their 154-pound championship clash competitive. Albuquerque’s Mendoza (22-3, 16 KOs) dropped a unanimous decision, but he more than earned Tszyu’s respect at Gold Coast Convention & Exhibition Centre in Broadbeach, Australia.  

“I thought he was out,” Tszyu said during their post-fight press conference. “Like I could hear his breathing. He was like, no offense, but he was like moaning and doing all these weird noises in one of the rounds. And I was like, man, how is he still standing? I was landing all these uppercuts and yeah, he’s got a heart, that’s for sure, you know? A lot of fighters would’ve quit. That’s facts, you know? Facts. … That’s why I gave him so much respect, because I knew he was a warrior and he had that warrior mentality. He was gonna – he said it himself, kill or be killed. And he shows that.”

Tszyu took control during the second half of their fight and won comfortably on the scorecards of judges Steve Gray (116-112), Adam Height (116-111) and Katsuhiko Nakamura (117-111). The Sydney native won nine rounds on Nakamura’s card and eight rounds apiece according to Gray and Height.

Tszyu’s promoter admitted, though, that the Australian star’s team was nervous whenever the heavy-handed Mendoza threw a hard shot at their undefeated fighter.

“Look, I absolutely loved it,” said George Rose, CEO of No Limit Boxing, which represents Tszyu. “I thought it was a great Tim Tszyu performance. It’s again different to what we’ve seen his last few fights and something that was super impressive, too. I think for everyone that was sitting there watching tonight, you can see how dangerous Brian Mendoza was.

“And we all talked about his power leading up to the fight. And every time he threw one of them big punches, I think everyone held their breath for a moment, and you’d see Tim just shake it off and keep walking forward and stick to the plan and we absolutely love it. But again, what Tim said, full respect to Mendoza. I don’t know how he kept walking after some of them hits.”

Tszyu (24-0, 17 KOs) was wary of Mendoza’s left hook and right uppercut, particularly after his back-to-back knockouts of former 154-pound champions Jeison Rosario and Sebastian Fundora in his previous two fights. The WBO junior middleweight champion was never hurt by Mendoza, but Tszyu admitted he felt his opponent’s power.

“In all honesty, I could feel a little bit of a sting,” Tszyu said. “But I’ve sparred like super middleweights, light heavyweights, so it’s like nothing I’ve not felt before.”

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


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