“One day you get in the ring and discover
you’re old.” It’s one of boxing’s truisms and Kostya
Tszyu would do well to heed it right now.
In fact, maybe he should talk to Jeff
Fenech, who decided to have one last crack at an IBF Lightweight title against
South African Phillip Holiday in 1996 and must have known within seconds that
he was now an old fighter. Looking slow and bewildered, he was KO’d inside of
The same scenario now stares at Kostya
Tszyu. Having lost his super lightweight title to young British strutter Ricky
Hatton in June, the sirens are singing for a last call to the square ring, in search
of Zab Judah’s undisputed welterweight championship.
It all sounds great. Kostya has naturally
gained weight over time so moving to welter makes sense. He’s beaten Judah
before, in a second round KO. Earlier this year, pre-Hatton, Tszyu was King of the
World, wasn’t he?
That’s a long six months ago. Against
Hatton, it wasn’t so much that Tszyu was beaten but the manner of it; no longer
dominating, no longer looking like he ruled the ring against a fearless young
Tszyu now says he is waiting to receive
an official financial offer from Judah, who he beat in two rounds in 2001 in
Las Vegas before Judah stepped up to rule the next division.
Tszyu says all the right things about thinking hard about whether he should
fight again, and how he will make a clear decision with a rational mind. But
boxers have said that before. Wait until the giant cheque dangles in front of
him and his handlers.
For all his talk of possibly walking away,
Kostya is still training, and his management is clearly open for business from
representatives of Judah, who is aching to avenge a knock-out that he believed
We would say to Kostya: don’t do it. With nothing to prove and
everything to lose, Kostya should retire right now and enjoy his rightful
acclaim as probably our best-ever fighter. From here, the ring only offers
unwelcome revelations from Father Time.