Klitschko vs. Thompson: Battle of the Big Men
By Benny Henderson Jr. Doghouse Boxing (July 7, 2008) DoghouseBoxing.com  
This Saturday, July 12th from Color Line Arena in Hamburg, Germany, to be televised live on HBO 4:30 PM ET/1:30 PM PT, reigning and defending IBF/WBO heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko 50-3 (44) looks to continue his world domination as he takes on mandatory WBO challenger Tony Thompson 31-1 (19) in the fourth defense of his IBF strap and his first defense of the WBO portion of his crown.

Klitschko, who is coming off a unanimous yet lackluster victory over Sultan Ibragimov which earned him the WBO strap, has not tasted defeat in over four years when he was stopped in the fifth round by American heavyweight Lamon Brewster. His challenger Tony Thompson, whose last outing was a second round romping over Cliff Couser, has only one loss on his resume that occurred eight years ago in only his fifth fight in as a professional.

Wladimir Klitschko, who in the opinion of many is the much higher caliber of the two, does have the more impressive resume. In his twelve year professional career, the Ukrainian has banged out wins over Jameel McCline (TKO 10), not one but two wins over Chris Byrd, one via decision, the other a seventh round knockout. Klitschko has also earned a unanimous decision over Samuel Peter, knocked out Calvin Brock in seven rounds, and last February defeated Sultan Ibragimov.

Although Tony Thompson may not be the more talented of the two, ‘The Tiger’ is no pushover. In his eight years as a professional banger, Thompson has earned himself wins over Dominick Guinn (UD), Timor Ibragimov (UD) and stopped Luan Krasniqi in five rounds last summer. And the American heavyweight will once again travel abroad to try to find heavyweight gold.

The good thing about this match-up is the fact that Thompson is finally getting a shot at a heavyweight title, he earned that right a year ago when he defeated Krasniqi, but the powers that be gave Evander Holyfield the right to fight for the WBO strap when Ibragimov still had the strap in his grasp.

So what will become of the battle of the big men?

Well, contrary to popular opinion, there are some in the boxing world who give Thompson the edge over Klitschko. Former WBO heavyweight champion Lamon Brewster, who has a win and a loss to Klitschko and who also uses Thompson as a sparring partner, believes Thompson will not only beat Klitschko, but he is willing to put money on it.

Regardless if you agree with Brewster or not, you cannot fully count out Thompson. Klitschko tends to be one of those fighters who are fun to watch and while you may some faith in him when it comes to winning, many people are not fully sold on him or willing to put money on him due to his shortcomings.

This is a step up in class for Thompson, yet not a step down for Klitschko. Thompson has a decent defense, a good jab, is not particularly fast but does like to bang at the body. We know Klitschko has a superior jab, a terrific right hand, and the pop to put his opposition to sleep.

The deal is, can Thompson get past that jab, work the body and with Klitschko’s past stamina issues wear down Wlad and maybe get a late TKO win or decision? When asked about his return to foreign soil, Tony strongly stated, “I went to Germany and kicked Krasniqi’s ass, I’ll over there again and do the same to Klitschko!“

It would appear that Tony does not have the one hitter quitter as Klitschko does, but in a battle of big men, anything can happen.

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