Tszyu - Mitchell: Don't wake the sleeping Lion
By Jeff Mayweather (November 8, 2004) 
Photo © German Villasenor
Saturday night marked one of boxing's most anticipated rematches. We have a saying in boxing... don't wake the sleeping lion. Meaning don't give your opponent any necessary fuel to get him motivated to a level he may not have been at if you hadn't pissed him off. A similar situation happened when former WBA Super Lightweight Champion Sharmba Mitchell geared up to face his one time conqueror Kostya Tszyu, a former Undisputed Super Lightweight Champion and current IBF champion. It took over two years for this rematch to take place, and during those two years Mitchell stayed very active, building a following of fans who felt that due to Mitchell's activity and the impressive wins he put together, he would be able to handle Tszyu this time around.

For two years Mitchell antagonized Tszyu about a rematch and what he would do if he was granted a second chance. He talked trash for two years only adding fuel to Tszyu fire. Tszyu made it clear that Mitchell would have to earn a return match with him by putting himself in the number one mandatory spot for the rematch to materialize. Mitchell would say negative things about Tszyu every chance he got whenever he was granted an interview words of Tszyu being afraid of him were never far away from his lips.

Tszyu used all that negative talk about him in a positive way. He worked really hard preparing for the day when he would be standing center ring with the man whom took potshots at him every chance he got. No one ever heard any retort from Tszyu, either assuming he possibly could have been afraid or he was taking it all in just building fuel until the day he was able to explode and blow Mitchell away.

Saturday night was Judgment Day for Mitchell, it was time to face the man who forced him to quit the first time around. Would he make good on his promises to the boxing world that this time it would be completely different or would it be just a repeat of what happened first time around? Actually, as it turned out, this would be a whole lot worse for Mitchell, who found himself in the ring with a more determined than ever Tszyu, a man who appeared as though he was on a mission to destroy Mitchell at all cost.

Tszyu practically walked through anything Mitchell had to offer almost in a way of disrespecting him. There was nothing Mitchell could do to stop Tszyu even though he had a twenty-two feet ring at his disposal. It appeared as though there was no escape route for Mitchell other than to fight like a man. Mitchell would find himself down in the second round victim of a right uppercut. Then in the third he would be sent to the canvas a second time by a single right hand, later in the round he would find himself fighting for his life. Once he rose to his feet it would be short lived as Tszyu got right back on the attack and hit Mitchell with a barrage of punches sealing his faith with a left hook to the body. The onslaught would necessitate a halt to the fight, as the referee stepped in, saving Mitchell from further punishment.

The post fight interview was such a humbling experience when it came to Mitchell, after he said so many negative things leading up to the fightm once it was over he appeared to be a politician trying to rectify all the things he said as just being a part of the sport, adding he meant nothing by all the previous talk. Maybe he did, maybe he didn't, of course we will never know now since Mitchell was on the losing end. One thing is for certain, Mitchell talked enough to wake up the sleeping lion.
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