Boxing


Kostya Tszyu Says He Would Return To The Ring If "Something Big" Were Offered

by James Slater - Back in the late 1990s and early-to-mid 2000s, you would be hard pressed to find any pound-for-pound list without the name of Russian-born Australian 140-pounder Kostya Tszyu in there somewhere. And during this time when the superb fighting machine was defeating good men like Zab Judah, Jesse James Leija and Sharmba Mitchell, there was talk of a possible clash between "The Thunder From Down Under" and Floyd Mayweather Junior..

Amazingly, though that fight never happened, Tszyu - speaking on Fox Sports News' Long Lunch show yesterday - spoke of how this match-up could still take place even now. For although the 40-year-old great has not boxed since his shock, 2005 corner retirement loss to Ricky Hatton in Manchester, UK, Tszyu, 31-2(25) says he would consider coming back if "something big" came up. And in speaking on Fox, the former undisputed light-welterweight king said a fight against the winner of the upcoming Mayweather-Shane Mosley fight would be big enough to motivate him to return.

"I have not officially retired," Tszyu said. "Even after the loss to Ricky Hatton I have never stated that I am retired from the sport completely. I have not ruled out a return to the boxing ring but the opportunity would have to be right. It would have to be something big.

"It would take me about six months to get myself back into shape to compete again. A fight against big named boxers would be the only thing that would excite me to push my body into the pain. Let's look at this weekend's boxing fight between Floyd Mayweather and Shane Mosley - that would be a good challenge for me to fight the winner. Also Manny Pacquiao is the best fighter in the world and he is in my division.

"You never know what can happen in boxing."

I don't know about you, but I cringe at the very idea of a near 41-year-old Tszyu going in there with the likes of Mayweather, Mosley or especially Pacquiao. Sure, the all-conquering Tszyu of five or more years ago would have been an excellent opponent for either guy, and maybe the sensational and powerful Australian hero would have been too much for either great. But now, with his reflexes dulled and all that ring-rust on his body? No way.

Of course, just because it shouldn't happen doesn't mean it won't. If Tszyu did come back, he would not be the first former great to make a sad attempt at recapturing what he once had. Perhaps Tszyu was just talking, in a not altogether serious manner, about a return, when in reality he is far too smart to go ahead with such a plan. On the other hand, maybe Kostya is bored and misses the action of combat.

As big a name as he still is, a Tszyu return would attract interest and, as is the case with the recently returned Erik Morales (who, though seven years younger than Tszyu arguably took more ring punishment than did the Australian), if he were matched correctly he could certainly win a fight or two against selected opposition. But for Tszyu to talk of facing guys at the top of their game such as Pacquiao and Mayweather, that is just too much.

Article posted on 21.04.2010



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