Sometimes a fight gives us technique nerds plenty to chew on: round after round of back and forth action and adjustment. Sometimes… not so much. Tim Tszyu was not feeling in the mood to hang around against Carlos Ocampo, getting his man out there inside of 90 seconds.
There is, nonetheless, something to talk about. After all, knockouts rarely happen by accident, and this blowout did come about because Tszyu spotted and exploited – very very hard- mistakes Ocampo typically makes. Let’s take a look.
The Breakdown: How did Tim Tszyu knock out Carlos Ocampo?
First things first: let’s just watch it. The highlight below joins the action at about thirty seconds in, but the preceding had mostly been feeling out. You’re getting pretty much all the relevant exchanges here.
The first thing you can see, immediately as the video starts, are their respective stances. Tim Tszyu is well-balanced – perhaps more upright than the textbook stance, but his weight is evenly distributed between his back and front feet. You can’t see them, but you can see that in how he’s able to draw back from Ocampo’s jab without overbalancing or giving much ground.
Ocampo, meanwhile, is pitched a little forward, and you can see as he jabs that his head comes a good way over where his front foot would be. That balance in itself is a problem- being front-heavy like that limits a fighter’s head movement and means they need to perform extra recovery movements before escaping. But the move forward is something that can be intercepted if an opponent anticipates it, and that’s exactly what Tszyu does.
Ocampo hasn’t even thrown the jab again yet when Tszyu starts the 1-2, but you can see that, as the right hand comes in, his opponent has already started that pitch forward. It leaves him leaning directly into the punch. And, because he is overbalanced, he has no spare movement to absorb the shot with. It’s a key part of any good boxing stance that even if you take a shot, you can sway with it somewhat to take some force out. Ocampo in that moment doesn’t have that option. All the power goes straight through his head.
The next few seconds are some fairly wild brawling, but even there it’s worth noting Tszyu’s balance. Even while heaving huge shots that do leave him a bit out of position, he’s able to see counters coming and arrest his movement, leaving Ocampo’s shots to sail past in front of him, then immediately go on the attack again. That’s in stark contrast to the Mexican’s own evasive tactics, which involve falling all over the place as he tries to get distance.
That’s notable partly because it’s a fairly new part of Tszyu’s game. When he fought Terrell Gausha early last year, he got knocked down, and had trouble throughout the fight in avoiding rights from his opponent. That was largely because he wasn’t perfectly balanced, and had no good way to avoid or move with straight shots coming down the middle. Ocampo didn’t exactly get the opportunity to test that weakness in depth, but it’s fair to say that Tszyu has been working on that stance.
The knockdown was another right hand, this time with Tszyu measuring Ocampo up with the lead hand first. It’s fair to say that at this point Ocampo was not fully in control of his senses- you can see Tszyu leaving that left hand hanging, and Ocampo just doesn’t react. So he commits fully to a driving right.
Ocampo stood up, but he wasn’t recovered and the rest was a formality. The first attack on resumption sends him reeling with his back to Tszyu, and as he turns to recover he gets clocked with a flying left hook. Once again, though, note Tszyu’s balance: even in the midst of chasing a stumbling opponent and hurling power punches, his feet are under him and his balance is centered. That allows him to deliver a fully torqued punch rather than just an arm-punch, and that’s all she wrote. Even in just a few seconds, an excellent display.
What’s next for Tim Tszyu (and Carlos Ocampo)?
We know what should be next for Tim Tszyu: the undisputed champion of this light-middleweight division, Jermell Charlo. The pair were supposed to have fought this January, until a broken hand put paid to that. Tszyu could have waited around, but he chose to test himself instead – but Charlo should be on the way to healed by now, and the expectation is that they fight some time in autumn. Given the fight-by-fight improvements Tszyu has been making, Charlo may regret the delay.
Even if it doesn’t happen, for whatever reason, Tszyu has strengthened his position in the weight class considerably. When the delay happened, in January, Tszyu was one of a number of up-and-coming fighters in what is a shark-tank division. Since then, two strong wins for him, plus a shock loss for Sebastian Fundora- probably his closest contender as far as rising stars went at the time- have put him fairly definitely at the head of the pack. Still, though, the long and the short of it is this is likely to be a superb division for years to come, Charlo fight or no. Tim Tszyu has made himself a good place in it.
Ocampo will feel he can be part of it. His world title hopes have been dashed, and it’ll be a while before he gets a chance like this again. But just as Tszyu almost certainly picked him as an opponent in part to see how he stacks up against two former Ocampo opponents- Fundora, last year, and Errol Spence, who beat him in 2018 – the next rising stars may see an opportunity to get some attention. It may not be a prideful position to be in, but it can be a lucrative one, and he’ll be hopeful of causing some upsets in future.
He’ll want to sort his balance out before then, though, if this fight is anything to go by.
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