In order to avoid any offense, his muthaf------ name was stated right off the top in the title.

Given the performance Jr. middleweight Tim Tszyu had on Saturday, respecting his most adamant of post-fight wishes seemed only fair.

Tszyu put on a controlled, mature, battering performance to hand former WBC titlist Tony Harrison his fourth stoppage defeat and first loss since Harrison’s rematch with Jermell Charlo. The judges (and the eyes in this corner) saw a close fight on the cards before Tszyu lowered the boom in the ninth round. 

Close didn’t mean it wasn’t clear what kind of finish we were heading toward.

Harrison started well in the first, using his feet and his jab to set the pace for the bout. Tszyu wasn’t throwing much. Any question about whether Tszyu might be seeing some new looks he didn’t have an answer for were resolved in the next two rounds. Tszyu, showing speed equal to a Harrison who looked quicker heading in, started to let loose with what would be a masterfully timed right hand for the rest of the fight.

Harrison wobbled in the third and, despite some rallying rounds in the fourth, sixth, and seventh (all rounds at least two judges awarded him), there was never a feeling that Tszyu was being physically threatened. Harrison wasn’t landing big and he wasn’t getting out of the way enough.

It was no recipe for victory. 

Tszyu’s methodical breakdown culminated in the ninth with a furious assault. The referee or corner could have stopped in well before Harrison hit the deck. While Harrison beat the count, the stoppage was mercy for a beaten man. Tszyu had the best win of his career and arguably the nine most important rounds of his career.

Futures: Saturday was as much about what’s coming as what we had in front of us. The winner seemed all but certain to see lineal and undisputed king Jermell Charlo next. Tszyu was only facing Harrison because a Charlo injury canceled an already agreed-upon fight. Tszyu remains in contention, but now he does so with more wind in his sails.

Tszyu was already a contender, a sanctioning body mandatory. Being a serious contender, someone everyone can agree has genuinely earned a shot at the best of their class, can be something different. With a win over the only man to defeat Charlo, and some other solid wins like Terrell Gausha, Jeff Horn, and Dennis Hogan, Tszyu has built some real substance into his early career.

Tszyu may not beat Charlo, one of the world’s best, but his challenge got more interesting this weekend.  

For Harrison, the loss is devastating. As Steve Farhood noted on Showtime, with only one champion in the division, Harrison goes to the back of a line filled with undefeated, hungry, younger battlers. Harrison, should he continue, may want to try his hand at middleweight. The class is in worrying shape with an absent Jermall Charlo, a disappearing Gennadiy Golovkin, and a suddenly title-holding Erislandy Lara leaving plenty of room to find opportunities that aren’t there one class down right now.

Cliff’s Notes…

Some guys just aren’t meant for the professional side of boxing. Tony Yoka had a hell of an amateur career but Yoka hasn’t shown anything like the fire one would want to see from a future heavyweight champion and now he’s sitting on two losses in eleven fights…On the flip side, it’s hard not to be happy for Carlos Takam. One of the steadiest of heavyweight trial horses, Takam has a big late career win to show for his many difficult rounds against some of the best heavyweights of his generation…Chantelle Cameron-Katie Taylor is more than a consolation prize for the injury delayed Taylor-Amanda Serrano II. In another sensational announcement for 2023, this fight gives Taylor a chance to be the queen of another class while Cameron has the opportunity to defeat the undisputed queens at welterweight and now lightweight back to back. That’s a hell of a scrap…Fury-Usyk II is absolutely the right fight but WBA statements and Twitter smack aren’t a fight announcement. Don’t get too excited yet…Evelin Bermudez has her two belts back at Jr. flyweight just months after losing them to Yokasta Valle. Valle vacated and Bermudez handled Tania Enriquez. Does this set the stage for an undisputed clash with Yessica Nery Plata?  

Cliff Rold is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene, a founding member of the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board, a member of the International Boxing Research Organization, and a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America.  He can be reached at