Through six rounds in Queensland, Brian Mendoza was holding his own against local favorite Tim Tszyu.
Over the last few rounds, he was struggling to hold on, withstanding a fusillade of Tszyu punches down the stretch that opened a cut on his left eye and almost swelled his right eye shut. He made it to the end, courtesy of a determined last round stand, but it was Tszyu who emerged victorious by wide unanimous decision to retain his WBO super-welterweight title and his unbeaten record.
Tszyu (24-0, 17 KOs) was handed his title the moment undisputed champion Jermell Charlo stepped in the ring to face Canelo Alvarez at 168 pounds two weeks ago, but he looked every inch a legitimate champion as he steadily dismantled his American challenger.
After the two men spent the first round sizing each other up, Mendoza began working behind his jab, looking for a way to break through as the Australian steadily sought to cut off the ring. Tszyu stepped up the pace of his offense in the fifth, depositing a mouse under the American’s left eye, but Mendoza (22-3, 16 KOs) rebounded in the sixth, which he punctuated with a left hook off the ropes.
From then, however, Tszyu took control. A series of uppercuts hurt Mendoza in the seventh, and a straight right behind a feinted left in the ninth snapped his head back forcefully.
The tenth saw the son of Hall-of-Famer Kostya Tszyu seemingly on the verge of a stoppage, as he unleashed punch after punch to Mendoza’s head. Mendoza retreated to the ropes as Tszyu unloaded but seemed unhurt despite the beating.
The eleventh saw Tszyu trying to close the show, but after Mendoza remained on his feet, the champion eased up in the final round, with victory all but certain.
The scores were 116-111, 116-112, and 117-111.
Afterward, Tszyu – who said he henceforth wants to fight in Las Vegas – sent a message to Charlo. “Come get it. Come get it,” he said. “Let’s prove to everyone who is the king of the division.”
In the co-main, Australia's Sam Goodman remained undefeated by scoring a wide unaninous decision win over former world title challenger Miguel Flores in a 12-round featherweight contest.
Although the scores of 118-107 and 120-105 twice were accurate reflections of a bout in which Goodman won virtually every round and dropped Flores once while the Mexican suffered two point deductions for low blows, the fight was an absorbing contest between two men who combined to throw almost 1,500 punches.
However, Goodman (16-0, 7 KOs) threw more (843 to 630), landed more (248 to 178) and landed at a higher percentage (29 to 28) than Flores.
Much of Goodman’s offense consisted of straight combinations to the head from the pocket, although he switched to the body of Flores (25-5-1, 12 KOs) with greater frequency as the fight wore on, dropping him with a left hand to the body in the eighth.
Flores looked to land heavier shots, and focused on ripping to Goodman’s body, although referee John Watson felt that too many of them strayed below the belt. Flores kept focused on his plan despite the point deductions, but his effort was not enough against the relentless Australian.