Five Takeaways From The Tszyu-Fundora Presser

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Insights from the final press conference ahead of Saturday night's stacked PBC PPV available on Prime Video.

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Final Press Conference | #TszyuFundora & #RollyPitbull

The fighters made their final comments. Now it’s time for their fists to do the talking.

WBO Junior Middleweight World Champion Tim Tszyu and Sebastian Fundora, who will fight for Tszyu’s belt and the vacant WBC World Title in a Premier Boxing Champions Pay-Per-View available on Prime Video (8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT) Saturday from T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, and their supporting cast took part in their last formal press conference on Thursday.

Here are five take-aways.

David vs. Goliath

One of the principal storylines going into the Tszyu-Fundora fight is the height difference, which organizers say is the greatest ever for a non-heavyweight title fight.

Fundora is nine inches taller than the champion (6-foot-5½ to 5-8½), or a full head when they stood together. Tszyu seemed to be looking up at the stars when he gazed up at Fundora during their stare down.

And Tszyu has had only two weeks to prepare for his giant opponent, who took the fight on short notice after Keith Thurman pulled out with a biceps injury.

“Look, it’s quite hard to prepare, especially when you only have 12 days,” said Tszyu, who quickly brought in tall sparring partners when the change was made. “But true champions rise to the occasion, adapt to everything put in front of them.”

And Tszyu went back in time to cite a prime example of a little man who wreaked havoc against bigger men, Mike Tyson.

Tyson is listed at 5-10 – not much taller than Tszyu – yet destroyed one massive heavyweight after another in one of greatest runs in the history of the division in the mid- and late-80s. That’s who Tszyu expects to emulate.

“If you’re watching history Mike Tyson did a lot of damage in the heavyweight division back in the day,” Tszyu said. “I guess I’m taking inspiration from Irom Mike in this one.”

Prediction? “History will repeat,” Tszyu said. “David vs. Goliath. Don’t blink.”

Fundora’s good fortune

Fundora knows he was lucky. He was scheduled to face Serhii Bohachuk on Saturday’s undercard when Thurman pulled out a week ago Sunday.

It was announced the next day that Fundora would take Thurman’s place in the main event, a massive opportunity for a fighter coming off a loss. Fundora went from being brutally stopped by Brian Mendoza to a chance to become unified 154-pound champion.

Yes, he was in the right place at the right time.

“What a change of events, huh?” he said. “From the opening card to now fighting in the main event right here in the fight capital of the world, Las Vegas. … As I was walking in Sam Watkins [of Premier Boxing Champions] said I must’ve had an angel or someone praying for me.

“This is a big opportunity. And I’m going to take advantage of it and become world champion on Saturday night.”

What about the knockout loss? Is he vulnerable?

“You know, it happens in boxing,” he said. “I made a mistake, I paid for it. I feel everything is still lined up the way it should be. They gave me this opportunity to fight Tim Tszyu. This [fight] is going to crown the best fighter at 154.”

Fundora doesn’t have to look far for motivation. His sister, flyweight Gabriela Fundora, won her first world title in October.

If [Rolly] thinks I’m stupid, he’s even stupider. Super Lightweight Contender.- Isaac 'Pitbull" Cruz

The Rolly Romero show

WBA super lightweight champ Romero has been the most entertaining fighter on the card in the lead-up to Saturday, although challenger Isaac “Pitbull” Cruz hasn’t been amused

Romero (15-1, 13 KOs) has been walking around with a figure on a chain that depicts Cruz not as a Pitbull but a Chihuahua. And he continued to poke fun at his rival at the press conference, saying in his opening remarks that, “Everyone thinks this is going to be an easy fight but I think it’s a very easy fight. He’s going to run into something because he’s stupid.”

Cruz (25-2-1, 17 KOs) seems to be unflappable but he didn’t hesitate to respond to his opponent’s insults.

“If he thinks I’m stupid, he’s even stupider,” Cruz said through a translator. “What does he think? That I have bandages around my eyes and I have my hands tied? If he thinks I’m just going to lay down, he’s very, very mistaken. And he’s going to realize it on Saturday night.”

Romero should be applauded for injecting humor into the promotion and marketing himself but he’s playing a dangerous game. If he loses – particularly if he gets knocked out – HE’S the one who looks stupid.

Predictable style?

Cruz acknowledged what we everyone knows, that his style isn’t complicated. He got his nickname because of his stocky build and relentless aggression, which generally buries his opponents.

That’s how he gave Davis all he could handle when he lost a close decision in 2021. And that’s how he plans to fight Romero, although he hinted that he learned a valuable lesson in the setback against “Tank”: Don’t leave the result in the hands of the judges.

“I want to go out there and throw punch after punch,” he said. “I’m in good enough shape to do so from beginning to end.”

Romero wasn’t buying it, however.

The champion, in a more serious moment, said it shouldn’t be difficult to defeat a man when you know exactly what he’s going to round after round.

“Well, I mean he said it himself. He’ll come over there and throw and throw and throw and throw. He does the same s--- over and over again,” said Romero, who then began to lean to one side and then the other. “One over here … one over here, he gets punched over here … he gets punched over here.

“It’s the same s--- over and over again.”

Cruz’s s--- has resulted in 25 victories (and 17 knockouts) in 28 fights. We’ll see whether Romero is onto something.

What can we expect from Erislandy Lara?

No one questions the skill set of one of Cuba’s greatest exports. However, Lara is 40 and hasn’t fought in almost two years, which could be a recipe for disaster. If nothing else, can we assume that he’s near the end of the road?

Not according to Lara (29-3-3, 17 KOs) as he prepares to defend his WBA middleweight belt against Michael Zerafa.

“I’m not a big talker,” he said through a translator. “I’m someone who proves what he’s worth inside the ring. And [Zerafa] will realize that come Saturday night. I’m very glad to be back in the ring after time off. I stayed active. I’m ready to show what I’m capable of. …

“The statement is that Erislandy Lara is here to stay. I’m not going anywhere. I want to go after the best after this fight.”

Lara isn’t the same fighter he once was. He has evolved from a stick-and-move technician who avoided unnecessary exchanges to a fighter who looks comfortable in the trenches, perhaps out of necessity because he has lost a step in terms of speed and reflexes.

He went so far as to make an uncharacteristically bold prediction for his meeting with Zerafa (31-4, 19 KOs).

“I’m going to work hard,” he said. “I tell you what: I think I’m going to knock him out. And I think it’s going to happen before the sixth round?”

For a closer look at Tszyu vs Fundora, check out our fight night page. 

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