By Johnny Walker
Hopefully, somewhere in Manchester, UK, today, heavyweight boxer David Price was watching as Bulgaria’s Kubrat Pulev took on the man who recently derailed the British boxer’s career, American heavyweight veteran Tony Thompson.
Where Price had fought in a nervous, uptight and hurried manner when taking on a 41-year-old man his camp thought was just out for a payday, and as a result got knocked out twice in two fights, Pulev, with much on the line for himself, was the total opposite: calm and relaxed at all times in the ring, never letting himself get baited into any of the “traps” that the American likes to set for naïve younger fighters.
Not that the 33-year-old Pulev is some wet behind the ears kid: with a lengthy and impressive amateur career behind him, the ring is a second home, and rather than lose his cool, Pulev simply let himself get used to the awkward lefty’s style, perhaps sacrificing the first couple of rounds to do so. After that, however, he began to slowly turn up the heat, and controlled the fight as some hard left jabs and punishing right hands discouraged the American.
Thompson began to look worse for the wear as round eight progressed, and went to the canvas near the end of the round in what could have been ruled a knockdown, but wasn’t.
Something like that would have thrown David Price for a loop, but Pulev, as usual, took it in stride, landing some big right hands in the ninth round, in which Thompson appeared to be hurt.
Pulev threw some haymakers that barely missed connecting on the fading Thompson in the 10th and 11th rounds, with the latter round seeing three hard Pulev left jabs followed by a right that once again wobbled Thompson.
Thompson did rally in the last round, landing one big left hand, but Pulev was unaffected by it.
In the end, the judges saw this one for the Bulgarian, 116-112, 117-111, and 118-110. Boxing Insider also scored it 118-110 for Pulev (18-0, 9 KOs), who now looks toward a title fight against the winner of the upcoming Wladimir Klitschko versus Alexander Povetkin title bout.
Another fight on the same card saw former Middleweight champ turned Super Middleweight also-ran “King Arthur Abraham (37-4, 28 KOs) look disinterested and laconic as he won a questionable wide decision over Willbeforce Shihepo by scores of 117-111, and two scores of 116-112.
Abraham will now hope for a rematch with the man who took his Super Middleweight title away, Robert Stieglitz.