Tim Tszyu didn’t hesitate when asked to nominate his dream opponent.
“My dream fight would be against GGG,” the rising Aussie boxing star told news.com.au this week.
“He’s been my idol for the last five, six years. At one stage I idolised him and then at another stage I said ‘you know what, that would be a fight I’d love to take one day’.”
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Golovkin’s was a name few were brave enough to call out during his terrifying near 10-year reign atop the middleweight division.
From 2008 to 2016, the Kazakhstani not only defeated all 23 opponents he faced — he knocked them out.
That included a highlight reel TKO of Australian Daniel Geale, who thought he’d caught Golovkin flush only to be put on his back by a return punch.
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Since then Golovkin, now 38, has had his aura of invincibility pierced somewhat.
America’s Daniel Jacobs ended his knockout streak by going the distance in 2017 and then came two memorable and highly-controversial bouts against Canelo Alvarez.
The first bout was ruled a split decision draw, before Alvarez was awarded the rematch via majority decision.
Both results remain sore points for Golovkin and his fans — and the only blemishes on his otherwise perfect record.
He won back the IBO middleweight title by defeating Sergiy Derevyanchenko in a close battle in 2019 and finished previously undefeated but relatively untested Kamil Szeremeta in his most recent outing last December.
Crossing paths with Tszyu — who is 12 years his junior and fighting a weight division below middleweight at 154 pounds — before the end of his career seems unlikely.
But the drawing power of the Aussie on home soil and the favourable COVID-free conditions for sporting events Down Under has the 26-year-old son of boxing legend Kostya continuing to dream.
“He’s in his late 30s … (but) you never know,” Tszyu said. “With these COVID situations and all this stuff. We’re doing good stuff in Australia so you never know.”
That type of blockbuster would rival Jeff Horn’s win against Manny Pacquiao as the biggest Aussie boxing clash in recent times but Tszyu’s focus is more short-term.
He has a date with Dennis Hogan in Newcastle on Wednesday night, which looms as his final local battle before hitting the world stage.
Hogan has fought two fighters in Jermall Charlo and Jaime Munguia who are currently ranked two and nine respectively in the Ring Magazine ratings.
He’ll come down in weight to fight Tszyu but still provide a good comparison for how the young Sydneysider stacks up against a couple of world-class 160-pounders.
“It’s another step closer to (a world title),” Tszyu said. “Dennis Hogan has been in with Charlo, Munguia, the tops boys in the (middleweight) division, and he’s given them trouble. So it’s going to be good to see how I compare against him to the way they fought.”
Tszyu, who in his younger days idolised Roy Jones Jr and Floyd Mayweather, said it was slowly getting tougher for him to make 154 pounds.
But he wants to win a world title in his current weight division before moving up to 160 — and then 168.
That means fighting Argentina’s Brian Castano, who upset Tszyu’s plans for a world title shot in the first half of this year by defeating previous WBO champ Patrick Teixeira, or division kingpin Jermell Charlo, who is Jermall’s twin.
“I’ve been keeping my eyes on these boys. They’re the boys that I want,” Tszyu said.
“Charlo especially because he’s got all the belts. But of course there’s Castano who has the belt I want to fight for, because I’m the number one contender.
“If Teixeira won he would’ve been mine straight away but Castano won so there’s more politics involved and it’s a bit harder to make.”
After that, perhaps GGG, who knows?