The “pregame” show talked about Klitschko’s relationship with trainer Emmanuel Steward and how Steward came in to save Klitschko’s career. It wasn’t necessarily a moving piece, but an interesting one because Klitschko is being built up as a guy with all the tools who just can’t get it done.
For Thompson, they built him up very much as the underdog, which was fine, but I wanted to see more about him as a human interest story. Jim Lampley and Larry Merchant did a little outline of his life, but I wanted to see how this professional sparring partner became a contender for Klitschko’s IBF and WBO title. They did say that his kids made him take the nickname, “The Tiger” as in Tony “The Tiger”.
Jim Lampley said that Klitschko is called a mechanical version of Lennox Lewis, to which Lewis agreed and said he was more natural. Um, isn’t that pretty much inferred Lennox? Isn’t that what being mechanical is not? Oh well.
Thompson is left handed and the thing that stands out about him is that he has no chest at all. Klitschko holds that right hand just like Drago from Rocky IV. Like he’s ready to throw it at all times. But Thompson gets the best punch of the first round so far with a straight left. Klitschko throw a straight right that was even better. Thompson has the longest and baggiest boxing shorts ever. Klitschko keeps clinching, and I’m not exactly sure why. Pretty lackadaisical first round.
Thompson slips. It wasn’t a knockdown even though Lewis thought it was. Klitschko is starting to open up with the right hands on Thompson and backed him into the corner. Even though he’s scoring, Thompson’s lazy left handed style looks like it’s throwing him off. Thompson lands with another straight left and Lampley just said that Klitschko is cut. And now Thompson is too. Definitely Klitschko’s round.
Thompson comes out busy with the jab. He’s chasing him around trying to line up the left hand. Thompson had the round early, but he’s covering up now while Klitschko starts to land. Thompson was more active and probably wins the round.
Thompson is making this an ugly fight. He’s pushing Klitschko around a bit and Lampley has already said that Thompson himself calls his style “effectively clumsy”. This is one of those fights where Klitschko should win because he’s simply way more talented, but because of Thompson’s style, he’s going to be completely frustrated while winning. Probably Klistschko’s round.
Thompson’s corner is telling him to throw punches on the inside instead of waiting for the referee to separate them. He said that Klitschko doesn’t like it inside. Thompson is scoring more, especially to the body, but the best punches are by Klitschko. Thompson was way busy in that round and you have to give that one to him.
These rounds are hard to score because Thompson is far busier, but Klitschko’s shots are cleaner and harder. Klitschko throws a straight right that bounces Thompson back against the ropes, but Klitschko didn’t follow up with it.
Klitschko was doing all the punching early in the round, but Thompson knocked him off balanced with a short left hook. But that was the only damage Thompson did. Klitschko’s best round of the fight.
In his corner, Thompson was trying to tell his trainer that he had a plan. The trainer didn’t want to hear it. If he does have a plan, he better unleash it. Klitschko is teeing off early in the round. Thompson isn’t jabbing all that much. He’s leading with his left, which Klitschko can see coming from a mile away. Klitschko has dominated the last two rounds.
Very much a nothing round. Klitschko looks very fresh and had no problem with him at all. Steward tells him that when he makes him miss, he needs to follow up because he has bad balance and he might fall if he hits him right.
Harold Lederman has Klitschko up 8-1, but I have Thompson winning at least three rounds, but they were all early. In the most excitement in the fight, they both go to the ground. Klitschko came inside while Thompson was moving backward, stepped on his foot, and they both went down. Thompson’s trainer is yelling at him to step it up and fight.
They clinched against the ropes and it seems like they are very loose because Thompson lost his balance again and went to one knee. Klitschko is starting to unload just a little bit and is looking for the knockout. Just as I wrote that, Klitschko nailed him with a clean right and Thompson went down. He didn’t look like he was going to get up, made a valiant effort to get up right at 10, but the referee waved him off.
Winner: Wladimir Klitschko by 11th round knockout