Sharmba ‘Little Big Man’ Mitchell keeps busy, keeps winning and keeps sharp as his inevitable date with Kostya Tszyu creeps closer. And with each time out Mitchell keeps looking like the man willing and able to end Tszyu’s reign atop the 140-pound hill.
On Saturday the 33-yeard old southpaw punished the always-dangerous, power punching Moises Pedroza into submission after just two rounds. Three hooks to the body and the same punch to the temple ended matters as his heavy-handed foe from Colombia was simply outclassed. While Mitchell did what he was supposed to do, all Kostya Tszyu could do was watch ringside. Tszyu wasn’t overly impressed, but he wasn’t in the ring.
The victory marks the eighth consecutive win for Mitchell since being forced to retire from his first bout with Tszyu due to a bad wheel back in 2001. It also capped his third fight this year, while the Sydney-based Tszyu has been fit to watch but not much else.
Tszyu has been physically able to fight just four times since Mitchell hobbled away from their bout, and the last time we saw the ‘Thunder from Down Under’ was back in January of 2003. Assuming that the Russian-born, Australia-based MIA fighter is able to meet Mitchell in the fall of this year, he will have seen his 35th birthday pass and been inactive for a year and approximately 10 months.
Certainly Mitchell will be much fresher when they finally do have their long awaited rematch. The ‘Best Before’ date on Tszyu’s career may have expired and the nagging injuries, after injuries, he has gone through recently may substantiate that belief. Mitchell is a slick boxer with speed and a style that could give Tszyu fits, especially if he has to shake off a few rounds of ring rust.
While a venue has yet to be set – reports of a date in Tszyu’s adopted home of Sydney, Australia are premature – it seems certain that barring another Tszyu injury these two will meet once more before the year’s end. Atlantic City and Madison Square Garden have both emerged as possibilities should the fight land Stateside, but any decision should come down this week.
Regardless of where the bout takes place it would seem logical to expect Mitchell to come in as the underdog once more, although it makes as much sense to think that he will hold an early advantage. Relying on hand speed while Tszyu tries to rediscover his timing, Sharmba must take advantage of this and build an early points lead. Once things even out after a few minutes then all bets are off.
Giving up the edge in speed, age and activity, Tszyu must be very aware of Mitchell’s advantages in a rematch and not fall too far off the pace. Perhaps the home cooking edge and the nod in power will be the strengths Tszyu holds should the fight land Down Under. The Little Big Man has been a very busy boy, and looking very much like the apple of the junior welterweight eye.
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