By: Andrew Johnson
Terrell Gausha (22-3-1) arrived at The Armory in Minneapolis on Saturday with a singular mission: defeat Australia’s rising star Tim Tszyu (21-0) and resuscitate his campaign for a shot to become Super Welterweight champion.
In Gausha’s eyes, the former Olympian could clearly see a path to another title fight if he beat Tszyu. He envisioned an opportunity to face the winner of Jermell Charlo (34-1-1) and Brian Castaño (17-0-2) and the chance to hold on to his place as a legitimate contender at 154 lbs. “There’s no other way around it.” said Gausha at Thursday’s press conference, “The winner of this fight should get the winner of the Jermell Charlo vs. Brian Castaño rematch.”
Gausha’s career lost momentum after he lost a title fight to Erislandy Lara (28-3-3) in 2017. He fought to a draw with Austin Trout (34-5-1) and then lost to Erickson Lubin (24-1) in his last bout before Covid shut down boxing. Gausha rebounded by smashing Jamontay Clark (15-2-1) inside of a fanless “bubble”, but the betting public felt his best days were behind him and their wagers placed him as an 11-1 underdog against Tszyu.
The fight started slow, but Gausha ignited the crowd of nearly 5,000 with a sharp right hand to Tsyzu’s chin and a first-round knockdown. Gausha was clearly the B side of the main event, but he rose from his stool to start the second round with the upset in reach and the fans at his back, but his feet seemed heavy and lifeless. Tszyu was able to control the ring and keep Gausha’s back against the ropes over the next five rounds. He absorbed hundreds of punches and didn’t throw enough to make Tsyszu think twice before unloading.
By the 7th, Gausha’s eyes were no longer set on Charlo and Castaño, they were focused on surviving the night. Murmurs in the crowd about stopping the fight were silenced in the 8th round by a Gausha rally, but the younger, stronger Tsyzu dominated the remaining minutes and won easily on the scorecards.
Terrell Gausha fought hard, but he implemented a strategy that maximized the punishment to his body and minimized his chance of winning. If he threw fewer punches, the referee would have likely stopped the fight before the final bell and if he took more chances, he might have been able to score another knockdown. He extinguished his chance at a victory by spending most of the fight flat-footed and glued to the ropes.
Gausha is now 34-years-old and after the loss, he is left without many inspiring options for the next move in his career. He could hang on and maybe shock another up-and-comer as a double-digit underdog, or he could decide that he has had enough and dedicate himself to another line of work.
Whatever he decides, Terrell Gausha fought for nearly a decade as a professional and can be proud of his body of work, just as he was proud of his effort in Minneapolis. “I hope I gave the fans a great show.” Gausha told Jim Gray in the post-fight interview, “I trained hard. I poured my heart out. I’m happy with it. I hate losing but I went out like a champion.”
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