This might be the most difficult test of Wladimir’s reign as champion, more dangerous than Samuel Peter. Because Tony Thompson is big, strong, quick, talented, delivers sharp accurate and diverse blows, he is very confident and very determined to be a world champion. Although the lefty Thompson is little-known, even here in America, there is no question he is an excellent and worthy heavyweight title challenger – just take a look at his impressive destruction of Luan Krasniqi.
Right now I think Wladimir Klitschko is on the way to becoming one of the all-time great champions of heavyweight history. He is at the top of his game physically and psychologically, he has matured and learned from the earlier failures. His strategies for winning have been intelligently devised and almost perfectly executed. But if there’s a weakness I would say it might be his style has been predictable. He comes out in round one to establish the left hand primarily the jab and does not even throw a right hand until the third or fourth round. Thompson might be a clever and big enough foe where Wladimir might have to change it up a bit.
The question of Thompson is how will he hold up against a prime and mighty, world class gladiator like Klitschko on the big stage? On the plus side, Thompson is big enough to touch Wladimir. He appears capable of fighting at a faster pace than Ibragimov, Brock and Brewster were able to. And he is very confident of victory against Wladimir, according some inside information going around. This might be a fight where Wladimir will need to be more explosive and aggressive, and attack the body where Thompson appears somewhat soft.
In the end I expect Klitschko to prevail. Because he is the superior fighter and he understands a failure July 12 would be devastating. It would take probably two years to get back to the mandatory position and then another year to get a title fight, as he would be ducked like Chris Byrd ducked him for that extra year. Wladimir must win to keep his destiny in sight. I believe he knows how dangerous Thompson is and is preparing appropriately. Complacence will not be the problem as it was for the Sanders loss. Wladimir Klitschko will defeat Tony Thompson but it might be a struggle, maybe even a major struggle.
Note: I received word on Wednesday on a phone call from Germany about the open media workouts by Klitschko and Williamson who both, rather interestingly, surveyed each other’s exercises. The psychological warfare for this battle is in full effect with Thompson portraying a veneer of ultra-confidence and calm which Team Klitschko is well aware of and taking seriously. Our eyewitness in Germany described Klitschko’s workout as absolutely spectacular, even “dominating.” Williamson watched and we were told, when it was his turn, showed signs of “punk” was the word we got from a most respected and reliable source. That’s all we can say at this time. Could Thompson be showing signs of feeling the heat and faltering as the moment of truth arrives? Stay tuned, that’s all we have at this time…