He got his first title shot in 1995, stopping Jake (the Snake) Rodriguez in Round 6 to win the 140-pound crown. Two years later, a Vince Phillips overhand right ended Tszyu's reign. The 10th-round TKO remains his only pro defeat.
It would be another two years before he buckled on another championship belt, snagging the WBC's when Diosbelys Hurtado fell in five rounds. Last month in Las Vegas, Tszyu added the WBA belt when Sharmba Mitchell quit on the stool after the seventh.
The upcoming Judah bout looks to be the most enthralling chapter of this Tszyu story. The 23-year-old Judah, a flashy boxer with flashing speed, is unbeaten and unbowed. "Kostya's slow and easy to hit," he says. "He's like a sci-fi movie from the '50s: no special effects."
But plenty of surprises. For Tszyu's first pro fight, in '92, Lewis hired an interpreter to relay instructions. Worried that his fighter might fall behind early on points, Lewis asked the translator to tell him to "win the opening round."
Tszyu listened to the interpreter and shot Lewis a puzzled look. After knocking out Hiles in 68 seconds, he asked, "Coach, why I had to win in first round?"