Is it time for Tszyu to hang ’em up?
By Bobby Jones (June 6, 2005)  
Photo © Mr.Will
If Kostya Tszyu decides to call it a career after 13 years then you won’t hear any complaints from me. Since June 1st 1997, one day after his debacle against ‘Cool’ Vince Phillips, Tszyu has not only been the best light welterweight in the world, but arguably the top pound for pound fighter in the world, with the possible exception of Roy Jones Jr. For many years it’s been well documented in the boxing world that ‘The Thunder from Down Under’ has had the most vigorous training regiment for any fighter, possibly ever. Tszyu trained 5 days a week and was known to put on marathon push-up and sit-up displays which would have Tszyu doing thousands of each, and this was in between fights. When he had a scheduled fight he trained 7 days a week and just watching him train made most men exhausted.

Perhaps after 13 years as a professional boxer, and 27 years boxing period, his own training has slowed him down a little, not to mention the injuries that kept him out of the ring for two-and-a-half years. By no means is Kostya Tszyu shot and if he wished to continue fighting he could probably still beat 95 percent of the people in his division, and possibly even win a rematch with Ricky Hatton. Perhaps through stubbornness Kostya Tszyu refused to train any differently than he had for previous fights, even though his fight with Hatton had a scheduled 2:00am local Manchester, England, start time. Other fighters have made the same decision, most recently, on the elite level, Lennox Lewis didn’t show up to South Africa for his fight with Hasim Rahman until less than a week before the fight, while Rahman had been there an entire month. Honestly though, it may not be fair to compare Tszyu to Lewis in this sense, because Lewis also didn’t train as hard as he could for this fight, because of his 30 second role, as a boxer, in the movie ‘Oceans Eleven’. Subsequently, Lewis trained harder and longer for his rematch eight months later with Rahman and defeated ‘The Rock’ the same way he had been dethroned, by KO. Maybe all Tszyu needs is a friendly crowd and a friendly starting time for the fight, to accommodate his training more. That’s hard to say though, because Hatton, though undefeated coming into the fight, looked new and improved and ready to make his mark on the division, one he can only hope that amounts to the success Tszyu had.

Since Tszyu’s loss to Vince Phillips the combatant’s careers went in different directions. Phillips’ record was 36-3 after his 1997 Upset of the Year win over Tszyu, but since then Phillips has amassed an 11-6-1 record, while Tszyu up until his loss to Hatton this past Saturday night had a record of 13-0. Perhaps this isn’t a fair comparison because in 1997 Phillips was roughly the same age (two months shy of his 34th birthday) as Tszyu, 35, is now. But this wasn’t a comparison to try to take away anything Phillips has achieved in his career, but to show how Tszyu rebounded from an embarrassing loss to become what he is today. That is, one of the best boxers in the world, and from the class he not only showed after his victories, but also after his defeat to Hatton, one of the brighter spots in a world of boxing where you so often appalled by what goes on in the sport.

Mr. Kostya Tszyu, if you somehow have a chance to read this, I just want to say thank you for being a breath of fresh air, and a consummate professional throughout your career. You, of course, are your own man, and if you decide to retire, more power to you. Also, if you decide to come back, you will still have me and I’ll make a prediction: the rest of your fan base will continue to cheer you on. Thank you.

Also See This Week's Headlines:
Hatton stops Tszyu in the eleventh to become king of the 140 pounders Anthony Cocks
Taking My Hat off for Hatton Luke Dodemaide
Hatton Tames Tszyu To Take Ibf Title
What Next For Hatton? 5 Possible Fights Dp
End of road for Kostya? Dp
Tsyzu praises Hatton Dp
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