Sounds of thunder, strikes of lightning
By Benny Henderson Jr. (November 7, 2004)  
Photo ©
I know, I know, I am eating my words when I said the time off would dampen Kostya Tszyu’s fighting skills and Sharmba Mitchell would dispose of the 'Thunder from Down Under' because of his steady activity and Tszyu wouldn’t be blessed with such an explosive return as 'Tito' Trinidad was, blah blah blah.

My bad, the only good thing is that I wasn’t the only one who felt the time off would serve as a massive downfall to the Russian born fighter, but oh how we can be wrong. Kostya Tszyu a slow starter? Not this time around. The 35-year-old IBF light welterweight champion destroyed the 'Little Big Man' tonight at the Glendale Arena in Phoenix Arizona, which was broadcast live on Showtime.

The first round started off with both fighters trading a bit before a clash of heads lead to a vertical cut over Tszyu’s left eye. If Mitchell's occasionally effectiveness in the first round gave his fans something to cheer about, the second round served as a reminder that there is a good reason why Kostya Tszyu is regarded as one of the best 140 pound fighters since Aaron Pryor.

It has a lot to do with his power, especially his right hand which sent Mitchell sprawling to the canvas in the second round for only the second time in his sixteen years a professional fighter. Mitchell held on for the remainder of the round and was wobbled at the end of the round, but the punishment wasn’t over for the fast-paced southpaw.

At the start of the third Tszyu dropped Mitchell again before patiently picking his shots until late in the round. Tszyu went all out late in the round and dropped Mitchell two more times in the third using his straight right and improved left hook. The finishing touches came courtesy of two left hands and a right that sent Mitchell down for the fourth and final time in the fight, causing referee Raul Caiz to step in and call a halt to the bout at the 2:48 mark in the third round.

This was supposed to be the fight that would validate Mitchell’s career, where he would get revenge and forget about their first match up in 2001 when Mitchell lost in round seven due to an injury to his knee that prevented him from being able to continue.

Mitchell wanted Suzy, he needed Suzy and he got Suzy, all that he could handle and then some. So what is next for these two fighters? IBF light welterweight champion Tszyu, who improves his ledger to 15-1-1 in championship bouts and increases his professional tally to 31-1 (25) 1NC, said that he didn’t care who he faced as long as it was a big fight. The thirty-five year old also said that he is now a smarter fighter than before and that with the power he possesses in both hands he has the great advantage. A possible bout with WBA champion Vivian Harris, who stated that he would defiantly like to face Tszyu, could be on the cards, but at this point Tszyu wouldn’t commit to anything.

As for Sharmba Mitchell, whose dream of being the undisputed champion now fades away, his career record now drops to a respectable 55-4 (30). After the fight Mitchell said that tonight wasn’t his night and that he wasn’t disappointed in his second loss to Tszyu. Only he knows what he wants at this time, and in time we should all know.
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