It is safe to say the breakout star of 2023 looks to be Tim Tszyu as he went from being a big unknown in the division to one of the most exciting knockout punchers. As of right now, only Tszyu and Gervonta Davis have two marquee wins and volume along with performance often is the recipe for being labeled the boxer of the year, something to keep in mind.
Tszyu now holds the WBO junior middleweight interim title, as Jermell Charlo suffered an injury in December that has sidelined him. The WBO has put a date of September 30th, for when Charlo has to defend the belt or he will be stripped. It is safe to that the fight we all want to see next is Jermell Charlo versus Tim Tszyu since it answers the question of ‘how good is each fighter’ in their own merit.
Let’s reflect on Tszyu, as well as why this fight will happen and what might stand in the way.
What’s His Name?
Not unlike Snoop Dogg on his debut album, “Doggystyle”, Tim Tszyu will ask you what his name is after every fight.
Tszyu is no longer, what some feared - the son of a famous fighter, who was in this position because of his last name and not his talent. Tim Tszyu is the son of a famous fighter, but he is also a great fighter in his own right.
This is not a case of privilege. Tszyu fought his way to the top of the Australian boxing circuit, and now his fights in Australia, are global attractions. Sure, part of that is the investment Showtime is making in building toward a Jermell Charlo fight, but he is no longer an anonymous good fighter. Tszyu is now someone who when he fights, the world takes notice - and his ‘what’s my name’ moniker seems to be a level of defiance of those who simply cast him as a ‘hyped-up’ son of a former boxing legend.
Tszyu has an edge to him that you rarely see in any fighter, let alone the son of a famous boxer.
Why It Will Happen
When has Charlo ever backed down from a fight? Never. Charlo has fought every one of his eras and honestly crippled a few careers in the process that could’ve had hall-of-fame-type trajectories. Jermell Charlo is a no-nonsense fighter, who seemingly takes pride in being the best fighter in his division.
All of the hoopla around Tim Tszyu, and his exciting performances, might prompt Charlo to return to the ring to defend his undisputed crown to show the world that he is the best of his era, as Jermell Charlo, to this day still struggles to land on pound-for-pound lists, which is somewhat absurd.
Tszyu has done a great job at selling himself as a viable top contender with a country behind him, as this fight is slowly turning into a mega-fight. In January, this was a good fight, if the fight lands in the fall of 2023 this becomes a moment in the sport of boxing.
It would offer the question of, is this the moment Jermell Charlo seals his ballot to the hall-of-fame or is this the birth of a new boxing star, Tim Tszyu?
Why It Won’t
The big thing to watch for is this…will Jermall Charlo, the twin brother, of Jermell Charlo move up to super middleweight to fight Canelo Álvarez, as rumors floating around the internet are currently suggest? If that happens, what does that mean for Jermell Charlo?
One of the cardinal sins of becoming an undisputed world champion from a position of power and aspiration of more power is to defend the undisputed title because you have everything to lose and very little to gain. A perfect example of this is Bernard Hopkins versus Jermain Taylor as well as Teofimo Lopez versus George Kambosos Jnr., as both Taylor and Kambosos Jnr had to only win one fight to become icons in the sport of boxing based on that achievement.
If Jermall Charlo does fight Canelo Álvarez, that could open up a door for him to potentially move up in weight and challenge for a middleweight world title. One person of interest would be Carlos Adames, who is fighting this weekend on Showtime Championship Boxing, against former unified junior middleweight world champion, Julian “J-Rock” Williams.
So we have to see what Jermell Charlo’s opinion on the matter is. Does Charlo want to stay at the junior middleweight limit, as he is obviously the best of his era, or does he want to move up and try to conquer another division? If the fight with Tim Tszyu doesn’t get mad, I would imagine this would be the reason and that it is only a matter of time before the two face each other.