It's Kostya's zoo; the rest are merely pretenders
By Aaron Imholte (November 12, 2004) 
Photo © German Villasenor
Now before you relegate me to the nuthugger realm let me say that I was never a huge Kostya Tszyu fan. Not too say I hated him, but with his inactivity and so many other things going on at 140lbs, to me Kostya was a secondary thought.

In less than nine minutes on Saturday night, however, he gave Sharmba Mitchell, myself, and the entire boxing world a wake-up call. 'The Thunder from Down Under' is back, and he is better than ever.

What Tszyu did was almost unprecedented in recent boxing history. He came back after a two year layoff and beat a champion with absolutely no tune-up bout. To say he beat Sharmba Mitchell is putting it lightly. He made an unequivocal statement: "I'm baaaaaaaaack!"

With 'Pretty Boy' Floyd Mayweather Jr., who was regarded by many (at least up until Saturday) as the best fighter at 140 and possibly pound-for-pound behind Bernard Hopkins, being the only higher ranking fighter ahead of Kostya Tszyu, the next logical step would be for these two men to step into the ring to settle who is the undisputed king at 140.

So what would happen if the most athletic man in boxing took on one of the hardest hitters pound-for-pound in the world today? Certainly it would be a fight of the year candidate on paper. But the question would remain. Would Mayweather be able to put on his track shoes and keep away from Tszyu long enough to steal seven rounds and win the fight? Wouldn't he run out of ring and eventually get caught by the power punching Aussie? Or would Tszyu's 35 years catch up to him as he chased the extremely fast Mayweather around the ring for 36 minutes? I have to go with situation two. Tsyzu's experience and power will eventually catch up with Mayweather as he simply runs out of gas and places to run to and will either get punched out into a decision loss or a late stoppage.

Let's face it, 140 belongs to Tszyu. I know after one fight it seems premature but take into consideration that he will only get better with more fights and the potential this comeback has is downright scary for title holders south of 154.

Look at what Tszyu has to do to clean out 140 and move to welterweight. Beat the already scared Arturo Gatti, who has inferior power and only a heart of steel to give him a snowball's chance in Arizona against Tszyu; an unproven Ricky Hatton; the still up and coming Miguel Cotto who may have a chance in a couple years; and then maybe Vivian Harris who's best known for two fights with Oktay Urkal!

We all know 140 is deep, but Kostya Tszyu, at least in this humble internet writer's opinion, is above and beyond anything the junior welterweight division has to offer. The real fun begins when he decides to jump up to 147 and punch on the guy people seemingly love to hate, undisputed champion Cory Spinks. Then it would be on to guys like Antonio Margarito and possibly a rematch with Zab Judah, which will only happen if the nostalgia for Judah's now famous 'chicken dance' knockdown becomes too loud to ignore.

So the question is not whether Tszyu's power will carry him through 140, because it surely will. The question isn't even whether it can carry to 147, because Spinks poses no threat in terms of outslugging Kostya anyway. No, the real question on my mind is whether time will be on Kostya's side if ever plans to venture into the world of junior middleweights. My guess is probably not, but never say never. After all, alot of us were picking Mitchell to beat up on an under-active Kostya Tszyu last Saturday. Look out 140 and up, because the thunder is back and he is headhunting.
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