Home Boxing News Jim Lampley breaks down Tim Tszyu vs Sebastian Fundora

Jim Lampley breaks down Tim Tszyu vs Sebastian Fundora

Sebastian Fundora and Tim Tszyu

Veteran broadcaster Jim Lampley has offered his thoughts on the upcoming world title fight between WBO junior middleweight champion Tim Tzyu 24-0 (17) and challenger Sebastian Fundora 20-1-1 (13) at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada on March 30.

Australian Tszyu, 29, was originally slated to face Clearwater, Florida’s Keith Thurman 30-1 (22) in a 155-pound non-title bout before the 35-year-old former WBC and WBA welterweight champion suffered an injury in training and was forced to withdraw from the bout.

Enter Californian southpaw Fundora, 26, who was scheduled to box on the undercard. The almost six-foot-six giant moves up to the main event slot for his first world title fight with both the WBO belt and the vacant WBC strap on the line.

It will Fundora’s first bout since suffering a savage seventh-round knockout at the hands of Brian Mendoza 22-3 (16) in April last year.

Lampley gave his breakdown of the fight to PPV.com.

“Boxing is the theater of the unexpected,” the Hall of Famer announcer said. “As of Sunday night, March 17, Australian 154-pound champion Tim Tszyu was heading into his last full week of training for a non-title bout against more widely known former unified welterweight titlist Keith Thurman, who, at his competitive peak, fought the great Manny Pacquaio, but whose career had recently slipped into dormancy.

“But as Monday arrived Tszyu learned that the 35-year-old Thurman had suffered a bicep injury and was out of the March 30 fight. Now Tszyu will defend his status against physical anomaly Sebastian Fundora, a 6-foot-5 1/2 inch 154-pounder who is eight inches taller than Keith Thurman, whose 80-inch wingspan is eleven inches longer, who is nine years younger, and who fights out of a southpaw stance.

“That tells us virtually all the specific strategic objectives of Tszyu’s training have gone out the window. And while the boxer-puncher Thurman would likely have been pacing himself, looking for the opening to land something big, Fundora is a high-volume inside operator who will be looking to speed Tszyu up and pressure him.

“It’s a dramatic style reversal on only eleven days’ notice and presents a stunning potential gift to Fundora, the rare occasion when a last-minute substitute can be seen as a more threatening opponent than the original.

“And to top all that off, the stakes have risen now that one governing body has mandated that the winner must, within five days after March 30, begin negotiations with pound-for-pound superstar Terence Crawford for a unified title defense at 154 pounds.

“The idea of that is to set up Crawford-Tszyu, in the current landscape a super fight. Crawford-Fundora was not on anyone’s radar, but it’s not out of the question now. Fundora might be a freaky matchup for the Australian champion Tszyu.

“On the other hand, Fundora is entering off a 357-day layoff following a shocking knockout loss to Brian Mendoza, who, during the interim, lost a unanimous decision to Tszyu. Can Fundora shake off the hangover of being devastated by Mendoza? Can Tszyu make the style and mentality adjustments necessary to turn his preparation for Thurman into productive preparation for Fundora?

“Does the monetary and competitive attraction of a match with Terence Crawford amp up the intensity of the fight? Who benefits from the style anomaly of a near-six and 1/2 foot 154-pound high volume body puncher?

“These and other possibly emergent questions bring new mystery to what had previously appeared to be a predictable outcome: a paycheck for the faded Thurman and another credential for the pound-for-pound aspirant, Tszyu.

“The two combatants, Fundora and Tszyu, are not strangers. They sat with each other during a Showtlme telecast of Jermell Charlo’s rematch with Brian Castano in May 2022. Now, under different circumstances, they will go to war in what figures, on paper, to be a high-contact fight.

“Boxing is fairly abundantly littered with reversals in these circumstances. Andy Ruiz was a late substitute in a heavyweight matchup with Anthony Joshua and knocked the champion out. Irish fans are still lamenting Steve Cruz vs Barry McGuigan. Rolando Navarrete stepped in late for Bazooka Limon and stopped heavily favoured Cornelius Boza-Edwards.

“Manny Pacquiao has been on both sides of the equation. He was a late substitute opponent who knocked out defending champion Lehlo Ledwaba and 20 years later, lost a unanimous decision to Yordenis Ugas, who stepped in late for injured Errol Spence. It happens and Tszyu must be conscious of that.

“But given the new mandate that the winner should get a Crawford fight, the style and incentive edges still seem to lie with Tszyu, so it is still his fight to win. He just shouldn’t be shocked if it turns out to be a tougher matchup than Keith Thurman would have been.”