Jim Lampley breaks down Tszyu-Fundora, views Tszyu as potential pound for pounder as Crawford fight looms

The boxing world is looking forward to Tim Tszyu and Sebastian Fundora throwing down in a WBC and WBO 154-pound unification bout at the T-Mobile Arena on March 30… and there’s a bonus on fight night.

For an entire generation of fans, Jim Lampley was the voice of boxing when he announced fights for over three decades on HBO Sports, as well as the premium channel’s pay-per-view platform.

Lampley oversaw seismic moments in the sport, such as Buster Douglas KO 10 Mike Tyson, George Foreman KO 10 Michael Moorer, Felix Trinidad MD 12 Oscar De La Hoya, the entire Evander Holyfield-Riddick Bowe trilogy, and the four-part Manny Pacquiao-Juan Manuel Marquez rivalry.

But while his long-awaited return to boxing has been very well-received, Lampley won’t be calling the action on Saturday night. Instead, he will co-host a viewer chat on PPV.com alongside award-winning journalist Lance Pugmire.

WATCH: Tszyu vs. Fundora live on PPV.com

Delighted to be back, Lampley is looking forward to seeing Tszyu punch swap with the dangerous Fundora, who replaced original opponent Keith Thurman on 12 days’ notice.

“Thurman was a known commodity of the highest order, and a known commodity who had been out of the ring, at least in terms of championship fighting, for some quite some time,” Lampley told The Sporting News.

“He’s being replaced by somebody who is very definitely at or near the competitive mix in the 154-pound division and is a highly unconventional physical fighter. A 6-5, 154-pound fighter… you don’t find many of those.”

As Lampley explained, Fundora (20-1-1, 13 KOs) is a world-class super welterweight. The 26-year-old lefty is rated No. 4 by The Ring Magazine (Tszyu is No. 1) and holds wins over Jorge Cota (TKO 4), Sergio Garcia (UD 12) and Erickson Lubin (TKO 9).

However, this is essentially a comeback fight for Fundora, who suffered a brutal knockout defeat at the hands of Brian Mendoza last April.

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“That gives him a lot of incentive and suggests that he’ll be a lot better focused coming back this time around than was the case against Mendoza. Styles make fights,” stated Lampley from the positive side.

“I have not covered Mendoza, so I can only tell you what other people have told me about Fundora, which was, don’t focus on the Mendoza fight, and that this is a difficult fight for Tszyu.”

Tim Tszyu sizes up Sebastian Fundora

Louis Grasse/ Getty Images

Regardless of the respect Fundora deserves, the huge favorite in the fight is Tszyu. The 27-year-old Australian has an unblemished record of 24-0 (17 KOs) and he’s improving all the time. Signature wins have come against Mendoza (UD 12), Tony Harrison (TKO 9) and Terrell Gausha (UD 12).

“Tszyu can be a pound-for-pound type contender,” offered Lampley when asked what the WBO champ’s ceiling is. “Tszyu can be ranked as one of the top fighters in the world. He’s skilled, he has craft, he has an intelligent, educated background in boxing and he’s committed to conditioning and his career.

“I see no reason why Tim Tszyu can’t become one of those half dozen or so fighters who are somewhere in the discussion for number one pound for pound. But he’s going to have to get past a more challenging test here than was originally envisioned to be the case.”

Should Tszyu pass the test, then the ultimate challenge could be next. In the lead-up to Tszyu vs. Fundora, it emerged that WBO (super) welterweight champion and pound-for-pound king Terence Crawford had exercised his right to be ranked mandatory challenger at the weight above.

MORE: Tszyu vs. Fundora odds, predictions, betting trends

Crawford is in hot pursuit of Tszyu, with his team having reportedly reached out about a fight late last year. Lampley views “Bud” as the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world today, but hinted that the American switch-hitter could be pushing his luck on the scales.

“Crawford is a natural welterweight,” said Lampley in earnest. “We saw how tremendously dominant he was as a puncher against Errol Spence, fighting at 147 pounds. Would he have been that way at 154? We don’t know.

“The layman says, ‘Oh, it’s only seven pounds!’ The fighter says, ‘Oh, my gosh… it’s seven pounds!’ It’s two different ways of looking at that blackbird. I would have to be well into the buildup between Crawford and Tszyu before I would know which one has the advantage.”

Will Crawford vs. Tszyu happen in 2024? At least for now, Fundora is casting a giant shadow over those plans.

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