IN a boxing climate not hampered by a global pandemic, Tim Tszyu and Dennis Hogan would be on different paths.
The Brisbane-based Hogan (28-3-1, 7 KOs) would be planning a fourth attempt at an elusive world title, after admirable albeit unsuccessful challenges in consecutive fights against Jermall Charlo and Jaime Munguía.
Meanwhile, Tszyu (16-0, 12 KOs) would be within striking range of a maiden title challenge against recently minted WBO world champion Patrick Teixeira after a career-best display in Townsville.
As both teams look to exit the calendar year with momentum, and with immediate international plans all but shelved, an unlikely meeting between the two best operators in the division now appears plausible, according to Hogan’s promoter, Paul Keegan.
“The only way I could see this happening is if there’s an issue with travel restrictions,” Keegan told Aus-Boxing.
“We have an agreement in place with PBC, who have the majority of the 154 [pound] champions. That’s the way we’re going.
“I did say to Dennis on Saturday though, ‘if there was a problem with travel you can’t be inactive much longer… would you like to prove that Tim is not on your level yet?’ — to a simple response ‘of course I would.’
“In all honesty, I don’t see a fight between Dennis and Tim benefiting Tim, or his team, which is why they never mention Dennis’ name. I think both Tim and Matt Rose know how that fight will go.”
Despite the perceived reluctance on the side of Tszyu, who has shot to mainstream prominence since the New Year, Keegan would explore a potential end-of-year meeting, if an offer was tabled.
Keegan’s promotional firm, DDP Sports Management, entered the domestic landscape almost three years ago, promoting a series of world title eliminators in Brisbane. This experience gave Keegan an invaluable understanding of the domestic market, which has developed a thirst of world level boxing.
As the 35-year-old Hogan continues to explore lucrative opportunities abroad across both light middleweight and middleweight, Keegan remains open-minded about a return to Brisbane.
“Financially, it makes great sense,” he continued.
“Boxing fans in Australia have proven that they will get behind big events, so there is a great market there. Plus, you have the Irish and American market for a pay-per-view audience.
“We’re open to most options, as the world is a different place now. Tim is ranked with the WBO and (Patrick) Teixeira has Dennis’ title that was taken from him, so there is a backstory there. But as I said, we don’t expect that phone call.
“We’re focusing on the American market, as I’m currently located in Ireland, so it’s a bit easier enough to get Dennis and Benny Mahoney, who is the next big thing, into that market. In saying that, we’re open to working alongside a promoter in Australia if the opportunity came along and it made sense to all parties.
“Queensland has the best climate and as proven before has a huge boxing fan base. If it was to happen, Queensland makes perfect sense.”
Like many in recent weeks, Keegan sees a future for Tszyu at world level, having risen to the top of the light middleweight division domestically.
However, the promoter believes the ambitious fast-tracking of the unbeaten star could cause an eventual undoing, highlighting the difference in experience between the world rated pair on paper.
“Tim has been very well managed,” he concluded.
“We had Tim on one of our shows, so I’ve seen first hand how good he is. But up against Dennis, I think a few kinks would appear in Tim’s armour.
“Dennis has fought five world ranked opponents. He beat (Jaime) Munguía in his home country, and lost to (Jermall) Charlo after going up in weight, who I believe is the best middleweight in the world.
“Tim is definitely the future of Australian boxing, and possibly a world champion. But currently, Dennis Hogan is the best fighter in that region. I’m sure Team Tszyu probably know that too.
“If you put Dennis’s last five fights and Tim’s last five fights together — it’s night and day.”
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