Tim Tszyu beat Brian Mendoza, and that will be the last regular Showtime Championship Boxing ever, as the remaining cards are on pay-per-view. Paramount, which merged with CBS Corporation, parent company of Showtime, announced on Tuesday that it would exit boxing after 37 years, at the end of 2023.
Tszyu made a successful first defense of the WBO junior middleweight title on October 14 when he defeated Brian Mendoza by unanimous decision in a Showtime-televised main event at the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre in Broadbeach, Australia, where it was Sunday afternoon.
The Aussie's manager, Glen Jennings, spoke about Showtime's departure in a statement obtained by NY Fights:
“Like most, I am disappointed and saddened that it's [the] end of an era that I spent a lot of time involved in. Kostya [Tszyu's father] was a Showtime-contracted fighter under then-CEO Jay Larkin (RIP), and so to have the opportunity to allow Tim to perform on Showtime with PBC was a great privilege.
“I think they will leave a large hole in the boxing broadcast, but in such a dynamic field as this, every time one goes another is ready to step in.
“PBC still [has] a strong roster, and with that comes the programming clout, so I'm sure Al Haymon already has his Plan B in place to transition to another broadcaster. Fighters will go where the best platforms, [pay], and fan bases are to support their fights.
“I am hopeful Showtime's withdrawal will ignite some restructuring in our industry that allows the best to fight the best and not remain protected and literally destroying the weight class system that we have grown up on.”
Tim Tszyu To Return As Early as February/March
Tim Tszyu (24-0, 17 KOs) was the most active mainstream fighter in 2023.
The 28-year-old fought three times and scored two knockouts over former junior middleweight titleholder Tony Harrison and Carlos Ocampo, who was annihilated in the first round.
Despite Showtime's exit, Jennings aims to retain Tszyu's level of activity: “I will keep Tim busy. We will explore each and every option that allows us to get back in the ring in [the United States around February or March]. Tell all the American boys we're coming, and we will actually fight! Happy to see who puts their hands up.”
Tim Tszyu has had his sights set on Jermell Charlo for nearly two years.
The pair had agreed to fight for Charlo's then-undisputed 154-pound titles in Las Vegas earlier in the year; however, it was canceled after the American boxer broke his left hand in two places during a sparring session.
Annoyed, Tszyu decided to fight Harrison — who was then the only man to have beaten Charlo. Things have since changed.
Charlo-Tszyu Tables Have Changed
Instead of rescheduling his bout with Tszyu, Charlo decided to move up two weight classes to challenge undisputed super middleweight world champion Canelo Alvarez in September.
He was virtually shut out in a 12-round virtuoso performance by the Mexican, who made the third defense of his title.
And as consequence for not facing his overdue mandatory challenger, Charlo was stripped of his WBO 154-pound title the moment the bell rang for the fight. Tim Tszyu was subsequently elevated to full champion, making the Mendoza fight his first title defense.
Now Tszyu has a belt and a lot more to prove.
“In his delusional head, he'll probably think he's going to beat me,” Tim Tszyu said after beating Mendoza. “Come get it. For sure, [Charlo will fight me]. He fought Canelo, best pound-for-pound fighter in the world. He is the best 154 but let's prove who is really the king of the division.