First off, since we’re all thinking it, I’ll just go ahead and say it; I deserve a ton of credit for not making the headline of this piece “Tim Tszyu Sparks Stevie Spark” or some assbrained variation thereof. That’s big-time, dumbguy normie shit and we simply don’t do that around here.
That said, holy shit did Tim Tszyu spark Stevie Spark.
To his credit, Spark was game and came to win and all that other mealy-mouthed shit we say when someone is grossly outgunned, but this was only ever going to end one way. He brought a flyswatter to a swordfight and has nothing but a bloody stool sample to show for it.
Spark (12-2, 11 KO) was brought in as a last-minute replacement for original opponent Michael Zerafa who, while apparently doing some deep internet-based research on this whole covid-19 thing, also stumbled across some videos of Tszyu knocking dudes’ dicks up into the cheap seats and decided he wanted no part of that. And while it’s easy to chastise Tszyu (19-0, 15 KO) for teeing off on a late sub, this is what you’re supposed to do against opponents of this caliber. Tszyu’s fondness for violence is a breath of fresh air in a world populated by far too many fighters content to simply play with their food.
There’s really not a lot to unpack as it pertains to Tszyu’s third round trouncing of Spark on Wednesday’s ESPN+ televised card from the Newcastle Entertainment Center in New South Wales, Australia. Tszyu landed a billion or so punches to every exposed area of Sparks’ corpse and put him down twice with body shots in round 3, the second of which kept him there.
A win like this doesn’t tell you much about either guy but it sure is fun to watch, and isn’t that kind of the point? Fans stateside have woken up before the sun five times in the past 20 months to watch Tszyu fight and each time have been treated to a hyper-violent display of prizefighting that ended before the final bell. Waking up early — or at all, most days — sucks shit, but I’ll take the crusty eyes and pervasive morning wood any day over staying up past the witching hour to watch another protected prospect sleepwalking his way to a shutout against a local gym teacher.
I know we’re not supposed to say this because this is the sWEeT SciENcE and everything has to be infused with some imaginary nobility or elevated significance, but not every fight has to mean something. It’s nice when it does, but sometimes watching a guy with a switchblade where his pituitary gland should be commit legal assault against a hapless opponent is just as good. It’s a lateral move at best for the fighter, but you got a nice rush, didn’t you? I think you did.
Tszyu is now at that most exciting stage for a young fighter where we’re not entirely sure what we’ve got but it looks to be something quite special. Having feasted on the usual Aussie and New Zealand suspects in and around the junior middleweight division, Tszyu now sets his sights globally on the bigger fish of the 154 pound weight class. Will he dominate on a world level the way he has domestically? I honestly have no fucking clue. But it’s gonna be fun to find out.
As recently as a year ago, the idea that Tim Tszyu could live up to — let alone surpass — the achievements of his famous father, was simply ridiculous. Now, hey, not so much. This sport is littered with the failsons of once-great fighters attempting to earn the respect of their fathers through the misery of combat. More often than not, they fail at both. This sport extracts a karmic toll on everyone brave — or dumb — enough to scale its barriers.
It remains to be seen how high Tszyu will rise in the sport once dominated by his dad, but so far he’s made all the right moves. Heavy hands and famous pedigree can take you far, but the rest is up to him. He has a fan-friendly style and no-nonsense attitude that appeals to the purists and sadists alike. At 26 years old he’s already put together a flashy highlight reel against some big names and, admittedly, more than a few small ones. From what we know of Tim Tszyu there’s a whole lot to get excited about.
It’s what we don’t know yet, though, that’s most exciting.
The world is ready for Tim Tszyu. Is he ready for it?