Wladimir Klitschko will be defending his WBA, WBO, IBA, and IBF titles against Tony Thompson, the IBF’s number-one ranked challenger in Berne Switzerland on July 7. This will be a rematch of their 2008 bout in which Klitschko stopped him in the 11th round.
Thompson almost has the size to match the 6-foot-6 Klitschko since he stands 6-foot-5, but the similarities more or less begin and end right there. The American southpaw is 40 years old now and isn’t really a serious threat in the heavyweight division anymore. He’s got a fine record though at 36-2, with 24 KOs, with Erik Kirkland being the only other man to beat him when he won a unanimous four-round decision way back in 2000.
Thompson has built up his record by beating B level fighters such as Dominick Guinn, Vaughn Bean, Maurice Harris, and Chazz Witherspoon. He’s really only fought one elite boxer in his career and that was Klitschko. He hasn’t been beaten since the big Ukrainian stopped him though, and perhaps that’s why he’s the IBF’s top contender.
Thompson has average boxing skills and power, but he’s been successful due to his size and the fact he’s a southpaw. He’ll still be the shorter man again against the 36-year-old Klitschko and the southpaw stance obviously didn’t trouble the champion too much the first time they met. However, it did take him a while to figure it out. The best way to negate Thompson’s stance is to throw straight right hands at him.
Klitschko will carry his 57-3 record into the ring with him along with his 50 KOs. He’s been one of the most dominant boxers in history, but if there is any criticism of him it’s sometimes his lack of quality opponents. However, it’s not really his fault that he was born in the wrong era. He’s taken on all comers, but it’ll be hard to rank him as high as Joe Louis and Muhammad Ali because he hasn’t been involved in any toe-to-toe battles like those two men
Since winning the title for the second time, Klitschko has defended his title 11 times. He’s an underrated boxer and his knockout record speaks for itself. He’s quite athletic for his size, but most opponents know what’s coming since he comes straight down the middle on most occasions. The champion has a stiff left jab and a tremendous right hand. His defence is based on foot movement instead of head movement, but he often fights cautiously, which means he’s really not the most exciting fighter around.
Thompson had a few good moments in their first meeting and managed to get through Klitschko’s defence. He’s four years older now though, but should still be awkward enough to give Klitschko a few problems early on. The champion should eventually wear him down though after he gets used to the southpaw stance again. Klitschko should have more confidence than he did four years ago and Thompson is a slower version of himself. Look for Klitschko to stop him late in the fight again or take a unanimous decision.
Sportsbook 5dimes.com has the odds of a Klitschko win at -2000 with a Thompson victory at +1250. The odds of the fight lasting more than 9.5 rounds are +135 and -175 to go under 9.5 rounds. Visit 5Dimes.eu to bet on this fight. Also check out our other boxing predictions for the upcoming weekend.