By: Robert Aaron Contreras
Two years on, Floyd Mayweather’s name is still on the marquee following his retirement.
On Friday, Sept. 20, Mayweather Promotions is in Las Vegas, streaming live on Facebook, where a pair of light heavyweights front a nine-bout card featuring some of the promotional outfit’s most talented farmhands.
Headlining the show is veteran Lionell Thompson (20-5, 11 KO), as he meets Scott Sigmon (34-13-1, 17 KO) for a scheduled 10 rounds.
It is hard to tell what a win does for either man. Neither is world-ranked: Thompson is not a blip on the radar of any major sanctioning body and Sigmon has for years been used as a bottom feeder by the sport’s mega promoters.
Thompson, the A-side if you could call him as much, joined “The Money Team” in 2015. Prior to inking that deal, he found success in the New York amateur scene, winning a handful of Golden Gloves tournaments, before turning professional in 2009.
Surveying his resume, one name sticks out. At the end of 2012, he met one Sergey Kovalev, stepping in for Gabriel Campillo on short notice. Thompson was taken apart just as quickly, succumbing to the Russian’s attack in three rounds.
Thompson was floored in the second round: collapsing like controlled demolition from a right cross. Referee Gabe Rosato preceded to steal the show by letting the fight fall out of his control, allowing Kovalev following the knockdown to run across the ring and whop Thompson again, blatantly after the bell. Then Rosato gave Thompson another standing eight-count, despite the fighter’s cornermen already spilling into the ring—typically grounds for disqualification.
In short, it was a mess. Another two-punch combo from Kovalev ended the future Mayweather product’s night in the third period. Kovalev went on to unify the division and is today pegged to face boxing’s cash cow in Canelo Alvarez.
Thompson was not so successful. Still another three victories, and a competitive outing with the lethal-punching contender Radivoje Kalajdzic, caught “Big Brother” Floyd’s eye, earning Thompson a contract to joint TMT.
What followed was a mixed bag: a record of 5-2: competing across huge platforms like FOX Sports 1 (losing to Paul Parker), Bounce TV (defeating Earl Newman), and Showtime (losing to Edwin Rodriguez).
Thompson’s biggest criticism has been his penchant to disengage from conflict. Doing so when he felt the brunt of Kovalev’s fists. He even ran out the clock against the previously-undefeated Newman, in a fight Thompson was clearly winning.
Sigmon, a 32-year-old native of Virginia, was clearly behind on the cards in 2018 when he pressured Roy Jones Jr. to the ropes in what was the legend’s final fight ever.
Pushing 50, Jones decisioned Sigmon in the end—fully in control despite being on the ropes, rocking the younger man in the latter stages of the fight. Sigmon throughout pattered Jones’ body. The problem was Jones seemed to enjoy it, talking and gesturing to the crown, basking in the glory of his farewell fight, before returning fire at twice the speed of Sigmon’s punches—patented no-look shots included.
Sigmon dropped nearly every round. Just like he’s dropped every fight to anybody worth their weight in salt, losing to recognizable men like Matt Korobov, J’Leon Love, Caleb Truax, and Kelly Pavlik.
Cameron Krael (16-14-3, 4 KO) vs. Gabriel Duluc (14-3, 4 KO)
Mayweather may claim the contrary, but numbers do lie because his man “Suave” Krael is better than his poor record would suggest. The Hawaiian-born banger has been a TMT favorite since signing with the promotion in 2017.
A year later, his warmongering ways finally caught on after brawling with welterweight gatekeeper Ericl Bone in one of the most violent outings of 2018. Krael ultimately settled for a split-decision loss.
Most recently, Krael also dropped a decision to the undefeated Keith Hunter, consistently a step behind his more athletic opponent. The 25-year-old Vegas transplant has still won three of his last four and can boast to having battled Egidijus Kavaliauskas, who is on the cusp of challenging Terence Crawford.
In 2016, Krael matched up well with a high-output fighter like Kavaliauskas. The two went the entire distance, ending in a decision verdict for Kavaliauskas, but not before Krael buzzed the Lithuanian brawler in the penultimate round.
Duluc, a proud 29-year-old from Boston, carries with him this weekend a better looking record than Krael’s, but against mostly lesser fighters—save for a points loss in 2016 to upstart Sonny Fredrickson. In all, he is on a three-fight win streak.
Friday will be his second appearance of 2019 after returning to his home state of Massachusetts for an easy unanimous over an unheralded southpaw by the name of Antonio Chaves Fernandez.