Tim Tszyu’s latest opponent has labelled himself a “killer”, declaring he is determined to pull off a third massive upset in a row against the Aussie boxing star.
American Brian Mendoza takes on Tszyu on the Gold Coast on Sunday in what is expected to be Tszyu’s last fight on Australian soil before he chases superfights in the US.
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After impressive wins over Tony Harrison and Carlos Ocampo this year, Tszyu is once again a strong favourite to beat Mendoza and defend his WBO super welterweight title against the interim WBC champion.
Tszyu is undefeated (23-0) whereas Mendoza (22-2, 16KOs) has clawed his way off the boxing scrap heap after two losses that would normally be a career killer for any professional boxer.
Mendoza has claimed huge upset wins over Jeison Rosario and Sebastian Fundora, both via knockout, and the 29-year-old is confident he can cause another stunning boilover against Tszyu.
With 16 knockouts to his name, Mendoza believes he punches harder than Tszyu and will be content to go the distance or claim victory via knockout.
“That’s based off the resume and what I’ve done,” he told reporters at an open workout in Sydney.
“I have more one-punch knockouts, he doesn’t.
“Once he gets you, he’s a finisher and everything.
“But based on the facts, I have more explosive shots.
“The thing about me is that I have power, but I’m not just a power puncher.
“I don’t go in there looking for one shot. I’ll hurt you for 12 rounds.
“I do look for the knockout and I do want to put on a big show. But I’m in there to put punishment on you for 12 rounds.
“Yeah, I have one-shot knockouts here and there. But you’ve seen in my last few fights, it’s been in the fifth rounds, sixth rounds, seventh.
“I carry the power late and I’m totally fine with however long the fight needs to go for to get the victory.”
Once again a massive underdog in betting markets ($5.25 to Tszyu’s $1.08), Mendoza believes the fact he’s already tasted defeat in his career gives him a fearlessness in the ring that could prove dangerous.
“From losses, I have a bigger chip on my shoulder. I have more to prove each time out. I’m always hungry,” he said.
“I’ve already tasted that defeat and I never want that again.
“I want to take out everyone in my division as well. It’s part of the game.”
The softly spoken fighter isn’t one for trash talk in the lead up to a fight, happy to let his boxing do the talking.
“I want my performances to speak for me. I’m not a trash talker and I feel like people who flip the switch a little too early or force it come off corny,” Mendoza said.
“I think the reason I’ve been resonating with people is because I’m real. I’m myself, this is who you’re going to see on and off camera.
“But on fight night, I’m definitely a killer and I’m in there to hurt my opponent. There’s no friendliness in there.”
Mendoza also revealed he used to watch Kostya Tszyu’s title fights as a youngster and said he had to remind himself how far he’s come to now be fighting his son.
“It’s crazy how the world turns,’ he reflected.
“When I was a kid, I wasn’t too interested in boxing. My dad was a huge fight fan and we would always go to fight parties and we used to watch Kostya Tszyu, his world title fights and everything.
“We used to go to fight parties to watch his dad and now we flew across the world to fight his son for a world title. It’s just crazy how the world turns and where hard work can get you.”