Home Boxing News Brian Mendoza out to destroy the son of his father’s idol

Brian Mendoza out to destroy the son of his father’s idol

Tim Tszyu (right) with his father Kostya Tszyu. Photo credit: Getty Images

Junior middleweight contender Brian ‘La Bala’ Mendoza 22-2 (16) has know the name Tszyu since before he was a boxing fan.

As a kid his father would take him fight parties in the neighbourhood to watch International Boxing Hall of Fame inductee Kostya Tszyu unify the junior welterweight division and defend his titles.

Little did he know at the time that 20-odd years later he would be stepping through the ropes to challenge Tszyu’s son Tim for the WBO junior middleweight championship of the world.

The 29-year-old Mendoza, who hails from Albuquerque but boxes out of Las Vegas, reflected on those early memories days out from his fight against the 28-year-old Tszyu 23-0 (17) at the Gold Coast Convention Centre in Broadbeach, Australia on Sunday afternoon local time.

“Man, it’s crazy,” Mendoza said to Fox Sports Australia. “I was having a talk with my dad the other day how as a kid – I didn’t even like boxing – but we would go to these fight parties, watch the big fights.

“I remember dad would take me every weekend, he was obsessed with it. And we would watch Kostya Tszyu. It was crazy.

“And I told him ‘look how everything has gone full circle, you used to be a big fan of Kostya Tszyu and now we’re going across the world to fight his son’.

“It’s incredible how the world turns.”

Mendoza will enter the fight as a decided underdog, but that is something he is used. In his last two fights he was expected to lose but pulled off a pair of upsets when he defeated former unified 154-pound champion Jeison Rosario 23-4-1 (17) and top contender Sebastian Fundora 20-1-1 (13).

Tellingly, both victories came by way of knockout.

“Being up against the odds, I cherish that,” he said. “It’s an amazing feeling when you pull it off. That’s the motivation.

“The whole underdog role, it doesn’t matter where I am, I can have a whole stadium booing me… at the end of the night it’s me, him and a referee.”

Those who know him, Mendoza says, know he is capable of getting the win. And with the juicy odds on offer, his family and friends may just owe him a beer when all is said and done.

“It looks impossible to pull these fights off, but the people close to me have seen the work I’m putting in. They’ve seen behind the curtain,” he said.

“So I’ve had people tell me they’ve been able to pay their car note, pay rent and stuff off my fights. That brings me a lot of joy.

“And I know the odds aren’t as enticing this time, about four-to-one.

“But I’m levelling up, grinding away and with my conditioning, timing, reflexes, power… I see another upset coming.”