Doghouse Boxing fights picks for Tsyzu vs. Mitchell
Compiled by Anthony Cocks, Site Editor, and Elisa Harrison, BRC Editor (November 5, 2004)
The highly anticipated rematch between Kostya Tszyu and Sharmba Mitchell is just a few days away. The mail from Tszyu's camp says that he hasn't had a better preparation since his 1999 fight against Miguel Angel Gonzalez, while Mitchell's camp has been ominously silent about the former champion's lead up to this fight. Will it be repeat or revenge? Read on to find out who the Doghouse Boxing scribes believe is going to win this fight, plus a prediction from one of the main sparring partners in one of the camps. Let's get it on!
Ben Carey: Mitchell UD - Whilst we can debate just how troublesome Mitchell's knee injury truly was in their first encounter, he still performed creditably against a Tszyu who was arguably at his fighting peak. Yet 3 1/2 years on and hampered by inactivity, age and a yo-yo diet, Mitchell will not be facing the Tszyu of old. In contrast, Mitchell has remained busy and appears to have lost none of his famed speed and sharpness. This could prove to be the determining factor as Mitchell builds a big enough lead to weather the expected Tszyu storm down the stretch to clinch a narrow decision victory.
Aaron Imholte: This will be the fight of the year and you can take that to the bank. Everyone who has seen Tsyzu says he is in great shape and has some time off to really get things together and focus on this bout. Ring rust was not prevalent in Tito's fight and he had more time off. In the end Tsyzu prevails by 9th round TKO. I just don't see Mitchell standing up to Tsyzu's punches for the 12 round distance of the fight. Then again you're talking to the same guy who picked Freitas over Corrales and Mayorga over Trinidad, I am in a bit of a slump lately, but this is where I bust out big time.
Martin Wade: I want to believe Mitchell’s activity will benefit him in this bout, but it will only be short-lived. Tszyu will warm up in the later half of the fight, and Mitchell’s age (as a “speed” fighter) will put both guys on even terms. The referee and how he manages infighting and breaks will also be key as Mitchell’s legs slow down. This fight will end up a classic case of flashy combinations (early) vs. Harder shots late in the fight. Tszyu by controversial split decision.
Anthony Cocks: Forget the talk about Tszyu's layoff and injuries affecting him. Speed deteriorates far more quickly than power and it's been three-and-half year since the initial encounter between these two warriors. Tszyu has underrated footwork and his timing is second to none. Once he shakes of the inevitable first few rounds of rust, Tszyu will put the same sort of hurting on Mitchell that he has been inflicting on his sparring partners. This one ain't going the distance, with Tszyu taking Mitchell's heart and crushing it somewhere between the 6th and the 9th. Think Freitas-Corrales with an extra five pound and you start to get the picture.
Ed Ludwig: The long awaited rematch has finally arrived. I have been looking forward to this for a very long time. Despite a very long lay off I am taking Kostya Tszyu by a close unanimous decision. I suppose common sense would tell me to take Sharmba Mitchell as he has been active and winning. Tszyu has been training very hard despite the trying times he has been through with his injuries and I feel he will be in Mitchell's face for most of the fight and seal the deal when the final bell rings.
Spud Woollatt: This is yet another intriguing and extremely close fight. For anyone to seriously side with either Mitchell or Tzsyu they must know something that I do not. But, let's discuss the options. Many people thought Mitchell was winning the first fight before he was injured, whereas some people say Mitchell is now too old to be able to fully comply with his punch and run tactics in this fight. So what of Tzsyu?? I seriously think this fight comes down to what condition the champion will be in for the fight. Why? I put it down to his inactivity. If a fit and hungry Tzsyu turns up, he will swarm all over Mitchell and eventually overwhelm him, but I am extremely cautiously siding with Tzsyu's inactivity being too much to cope with and by the time Tzsyu realises he is behind on the socrecards it will be too late, so I guess I am saying Mitchell on points but only just. I am thoroughly convinced we are going to have controversy surrounding this fight, maybe a split decision where many people will be shouting from the roof tops about the decision being the crime of the century.
Juan Angel Zurita: Tsyzu's rust and Mitchell's elusive southpaw style will cause Tsyzu to find himself down on the scorecards after 6 rounds are complete. However, Tsyzu should skake off the ring rust and find his mark as the fight progresses. The 140 Kingpin will get up for one last fight and finish strong to score a deserved decision.
Benny Henderson Jr.: Tszyu isn't the same fighter he was the first time these guys met, I don't feel that Tszyu will be blessed with a return like Trinidad was blessed with. I feel that Mitchell's activity will smother Tszyu's ring rust and Sharmba gets the MD.
Tom Gray: I think that Mitchell will pip Tszyu on points. I think that Kostya's age, as well as injury and rescheduled bouts, will catch up with him against Mitchell, who is very slippery and appears to have plenty left.
Daniel Heath: Tsyzu TKO 10 - Of course, one has to question how much the Australian has left after career threatening injuries and approaching two years out of the ring. However, as we saw with Felix Trinidad recently, inactive does not necessarily mean ineffective. When we last saw him Tsyzu was one of our sport's modern greats. A superbly gifted boxer with the punching power to back it up. Above it all though he is a great tactician. Whilst his physical attributes may be slipping, his ring intelligence will not have. Whilst Mitchell has looked good of late, one could still argue he has never beaten a true top tier fighter. As brave and resilient as your N'Dou's and Stewart's are, they are not Kostya Tsyzu. His punch resistance is still questionable at this sort of level. Remember he was stopped in consecutive contests by a couple of lightweights who are far from big punchers. Unless Tsyzu is woefully of the pace, I expect him to overcome a few tricky spells in the first half of the fight to grind out a late stoppage.
Rob Scott: It all depends on how much the long layoff has effected Tszyu. If he is still the same, the bout will be interesting. My guess is that there will be some rust and Mitchell will capitalize. Don't get the recent knockouts by Mitchell twisted though; those KOs were obtained because of his competition. Even an off-his-game Tszyu won't get knocked out by Mitchell. He won't knock him out, but Mitchell will win by Unanimous Decision.
Gavin Macleod: It's a tough fight to call as we have had no prior indication of what kind of shape Tsyzu is in after his lay off. Nearly two years has passed since we last saw him and it could have taken an negative effective on him with rust building up or it could of had the Trinidad effect on him, which will see him returning refreshed after his break. Mitchell in the mean time has been keeping active and has had some very impressive displays while Tsyzu has been watching him on TV. It is a fight in which I can not be confident in calling because of our inability to predict how Tsyzu will return, but if pushed I'll take Mitchell to outbox a rusty Kostya for the decison win.
Greg Goodrich: When Kostya Tszyu first beat Sharmba Mitchell in February 2001, Mitchell had a bum knee. Three years have passed, with Tszyu making 4 title defenses against excellent competition (W12 Oktay Urkal, TKO 2 Zab Judah, W12 Ben Tackie and TKO 6 James Leija). Now he has a bum shoulder. In the same span, Mitchell has fought 8 times, mainly beating non-descript foes (with exception of notable victories against W10 Vince Phillips, W12 Ben Tackie, W12 against Lovemore N'Dou and W12 against Michael Stewart). Whether this rematch becomes Hearns v Leonard II or Leonard v Duran II hinges on five key elements. Forget the fact that they have two common opponents in Ben Tackie (both Tszyu and Mitchell wins) and Vince Phillips (Mitchell win, Tszyu lost). Tszyu beat Mitchell at less than 100%, and Mitchell will now face Tszyu the same way. Tszyu definitely has the advantage in experience, having beaten 10 former world champions; whereas Mitchell has notched wins against 4. This is in spite of the fact that Mitchell has fought 58 professional bouts to Tsyzu's surprisingly low 32. Tszyu knows how to fight, and even more importantly, how to force boxers to fight. Tszyu also gets the nod in power. Mitchell on the other hand has been much more busy, and his rapidity of punching style- along with his mobility- should tip the scales in his favor in areas of skill and activity. That leaves us with intangibles. The fight likely will be determined by how rusty Tsyzu is; and probably how serious Mitchell is about knocking out the much bigger and stronger man. In the end, I see the fight multi-dimensional. Mitchell will easily outbox Tsyzu in the early rounds; Tsyzu will close distance in the middle rounds: and by the tenth round, will likely connect with a knockout blow. Far from sure, I take Tszyu by TKO in the 10th round, but would not be at all surprised to see Mitchell win the Undisputed, World Junior Welterweight Championship via Majority Decision.
Luke Dodemaide: Kostya By Late Stoppage - Gotta give Kostya credit for coming back after two years out of the game to fight the best fighter in the division, a brave and dangerous move. Though a tough fight to pick, I'm leaning towards the 'thunder from down under' to break Mitchell down forcing him to fight and causing a late stoppage. Mitchell will have to dance for twelve rounds to win this fight, and at 34 I'm unsure whether he is still capable of doing that.
Sam Soliman, IBF#1 Middleweight & Tszyu sparring partner: At the end of the day Kostya is going to win. When I sparred him the first time, before he did his shoulder, he was going at the same pace the whole way along from round one to round twelve. This time since after his shoulder reconstruction, he now spars his first 3-4 rounds at a normal pace, and then from round 5, 6, 7 onwards he hits harder and faster instead of slowing down like anyone else would.
I'm a tough critic on fitness because of where I am with my level of fitness and all the sacrifices and dedication that have got me as fit as I am today. For me to say that about someone else, they'd have to be very fit for me to give them that call. But on the other side of the coin he had an injury and if it comes back in the fight, he'll lose. Let's just hope that it doesn't come up because he needs to shut that guy's mouth once and for all. Kostya gets stronger in the later rounds so it won't go to a decision. But if it does go to a decision, Kostya is going to be way ahead just on strength, on the punishment he delivers. Even if they land just as many punches as each other, they will go by the beating. Four of Sharmba's punches will be equal to one of Kostya's blows in the sense that he is the hardest light welterweight I've ever sparred - and I've sparred hundreds all over the world - especially to the body. I've never been winded in my whole career, but if anyone was ever going to get close to winding me, it was him; he just had to catch me at the right time.
Kostya should stop him in the later rounds. He'll take him into the later rounds and drown him.
The Next list of predictions is compiled by Elisa Harrison, Team BRC Editor
George Elsasser: Based on as real as it gets intangibles, the choice here is the Sharmba Mitchell knee job outlasts the Kostya Tszyu dual handicaps via late round TKO or by unanimous decision.
Aladdin Freeman: Sharmba Mitchell will win and maybe stop Tszyu. Tszyu has been way too inactive to jump in and beat a guy like Mitchell who will have fought 4 times this year. Tszyu didn't look good when the fought Leija and he didn't look good vs. Mitchell before the fight was stopped due to injury. Mitchell, on the other hand, has been very hot since the Tszyu fight. Prediction: Mitchell wins TKO 11 due to cuts. -
Tom Dickey: I think this is a winnable fight for Mitchell. If he uses his speed and stays away, he can win this fight. But, Kostya Tszyu's speed is underrated, and over a twelve round fight, I see him bullying his way inside. I think Mitchell will lead the early rounds, but Tszyu will come on strong and wear Mitchell down. I predict a close decision win for Tszyu. -
Chris Robinson: My mind has been going back and forth on this fight for a good while. One moment I like Mitchell, who has been active against a string of solid opposition as opposed to Tszyu, who hasn't fought in well over a year and a half. A moment later my mind shifts towards picking Tszyu, who's never been one to fold under the spotlight and who's toughness has been proven time and time again. In talking to fighters I've gathered that they feel Mitchell will be too much in the rematch, but I have to go with my gut and take Tszyu. I think Tszyu is a proud champion and I think he will take Mitchell out late in the 11th round. I think Sharmba will build an early lead but Kostya will pressure him and turn things around come the middle of the contest. Whatever the result I still feel that both guys could be involved in some big fights in the Jr. Welterweight division over the next couple of years.
Darren Yates, from Down Under: Tszyu will score a 9th round TKO having beaten the will to fight out of "The Little Big Mouth." It's interesting, this is the most attention Tszyu has every had in America. I believe this is because there are so many fewer superstar boxers out there now. If Tszyu beat Mitchell, then that places him with Hopkins & Trinidad as the time tested true superstars still active and winning. -
Danny Serratelli: A lot has changed since the first fight. Mitchell has stayed busy against decent opponents, and I've gained respect for him over the last few years. Tszyu hasn't fought in a while. He should be well rested, healthy and still pack devastating power in the right hand. Both are smart fighters. Mitchell will try to fight his fight and not allow Tszyu to land the big right hand all night. If Mitchell can do that he wins a decision over 12 rounds; if he can't anything can happen, and happen in a hurry. My brain tells me Mitchell, my gut Tszyu... Sharmba Mitchell by majority decision over Kostya Tszyu -
Jeff Mayweather: I pick Kostya Tszyu by 9th round TKO -
Stephen Jones: This fight is a natural rematch , Its Stealth v Strength, and in many ways because of Mitchell's work ethic of keeping busy and winning, there does deserve to be a strong case for Mitchell pinching this one. History though does show us otherwise, with the majority of rematches being won by the same man either quicker or more convincingly than the first meeting.. An in shape Tszyu should get the W .. in my opinion on points.. his strength should carry him through to overpower a gallant Mitchell , but not without an argument... Tszyu by Unanimous Points -
Xavier 'El Mago' Cepeda: The punching power of Kostya Tszyu will be too much as the rounds pass. Mitchell will move and box, but Kostya’s vast amateur and pro experience will aid him in closing off the slick boxer in Mitchell. Over twelve rounds, Tszyu’s conditioning and natural strength will tilt this fight and the judges in his favor. Tszyu by split decision. -
Audrey Chang: Hopefully Sharmba Mitchell spent the last 3 years from the day he met Kostya Tszyu in 2001, studying every technical aspect of Tszyu . This will be a full 12 rounds, a close win for Sharmba and a follow-up rematch. -
Mike LeTourneau: My instincts tell me Tszyu, but with such a significant layoff I'm leaning towards Mitchell. I'll go with Mitchell by split decision.
Bryce Todd: Tszyu wins unanimous decision. -
Kris Lake: Ok, I'm having trouble deciding a clear cut winner on this one. You have a southpaw boxer against an orthodox puncher who generally starts out slow. Since being stopped by Vince Phillips, Tszyu has shown a good beard, and Mitchell isn't really known as a one punch fighter. I like Mitchell's ringmanship, with that, being a southpaw which can give Tszyu fits and Tszyu's inactivity in the ring I tend to lean towards Mitchell eking out a decision. - Kris Lake
Elisa Harrison: Under normal circumstances Tszyu vs. Mitchell would be a fairly clear cut match-up of speed vs. power; however, Tszyu's inactivity due to injuries blurs the picture a bit. This is definitely a pick 'em fight, and one could make an argument for Mitchell's speed being the equalizer, but let's keep in mind that while Mitchell is fast, he is not as fast as Judah, and we all know what happened to Zab when he met Tszyu. I'll go with the power of Kostya Tszyu, a TKO stoppage somewhere between rounds 6 and 9.
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