Tony “the Tiger” Thompson – He may be the best heavyweight in the United States

04.10.06 - By Evan Young: Tony “the Tiger” Thompson may just be the best kept secret in the heavyweight division. He is definitely the best heavyweight out of the Maryland area and I say that emphatically with Hasim Rahman in mind. The problem for Thompson is that enough people in boxing know that he presents a major risk and a lesser gain to prospective opponents. Thompson has fought mostly under the radar for most of his career.

He landed a good television date against well known former contender Dominick Guinn last June. It was good timing because the volatile stock known as Dominick Guinn had a spike in value when he upset former super heavyweight 2000 Olympic Gold Medalist Audley Harrison in his previous fight. Guinn was installed a 2 – 1 favorite over the unknown Thompson for their match. Guinn has decision losses to name guys like Monte Barrett, James Toney and current WBO champ Serguei Lyakhovich.

None of those guys were able to beat Guinn as comprehensively as Thompson was able to do. I thought Thompson won 11 out of 12 rounds and nearly became the first man to stop the iron chinned Guinn. In the round that Guinn may have won, he landed a few decent body punches but the underrated Thompson was never threatened in any way throughout this 12 round encounter. Thompson has only one career blemish on his record and that was 4 round decision loss to talented former prospect Eric Kirkland. I like Kirkland and would like to see him resurface but I digress.

Other wins of note for Thompson include: Zuri Lawrence KO7, Yanqui Diaz W8 and Vaughn Bean. Thompson’s accomplishments alone certainly don’t boost him to top of the heavyweight mountain but the way he won those fights and what he brings to table, I believe, are enough to upset any of today’s champions. I’d favor him right now against Oleg Maskaev and Serguei Lyhakovich. I’d say it’s a pick ‘em affair with the giant Russian Nicolay Valuev. In my view only Wladimir Klitschko should be favored over Thompson but Thompson would be a live dog due to Klitschko’s known frailties.

If I had to describe Thompson in a word it would be smooth. He’s a smooth operator. He’s a 6’6 southpaw that is able to be in command in the ring with a great jab and assortment of punches in his arsenal. He doesn’t waste energy but merely takes what is there. And as time passes in his fights, he takes more and more. He has tremendous athletic ability and can set down on his punches when he’s so inclined. He can box and move around, stand his ground or roll forward. He seems to at ease with whatever manner his attack takes him and opponents don’t seem to have a clue about what to do with him.

He turned pro at nearly 29 years old and is pushing 35 now but he has virtually no wear and tear from his career. He’s never taken anything close to a beating. I think he can add breath of fresh air to the somewhat stale heavyweight division. He really deserves some good fights to show his wares. I thought he’d get a push from his win over Guinn on ESPN II but at this time I don’t see him scheduled for a fight. This guy should not be languishing in heavyweight obscurity any longer. Thompson needs to make his move NOW.

Article posted on 05.10.2006

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