By James Slater: Courtesy of the easy-looking 3rd-round TKO win he scored over a listless Maurice Harris last night in Reno, 39-year-old former world title challenger Tony Thompson set himself up for an IBF final eliminator with fellow American “Fast” Eddie Chambers. “The Tiger,” 36-2(24) has now won five in a row since being stopped late by Wladimir Klitschko, and he looked heavy-handed and powerful last night.
Okay, Harris appeared to have no real game-plan, instead just walking aimlessly forward, getting whacked with shots to the head, and this served to make Thompson’s job a relatively simple one. But Thompson, having his first fight for six months, did what he had to do against what was in front of him. Rest assured, against Chambers, Thompson will have a far better opponent in front of him the next time he fights.
Chambers, 36-2(18) and much the younger man at age 29, has had one win since his own late KO loss at the hands of “Dr. Steel Hammer.” The slick contender pounded out a wide UD over a game Derric Rossy back in February. Chambers, once again in his career, will be the smaller man against Thompson, but his fans hands and his fine boxing brain will se to it that the big southpaw encounters plenty of problems.
The battle between the two fighters who are generally looked at as the best big men the U.S has to offer right now(with the newly re-dedicated Chris Arreola also making believers of fans once again also) could go either way. Thompson has the power; Chambers has the speed. Chambers also has youth on his side, but even though he’s 39, Thompson is no worn out fighter by any stretch.
The problem fans may have with the planned fight, however, is the fact that the winner will then be in a position to again challenge Wladimir Klitschko for the IBF belt he holds (unless David Haye has by then shocked Wladimir in Hamburg, taking his IBF belt along with his Ring magazine, IBO and WBO belts). As comprehensively as Thompson and Chambers were beaten by Wladimir (with Thompson putting up the stiffer challenge of the two; even winning a couple of rounds back in July of 2008), will the promoters be able to sell either rematch to the public?
The winner of Thompson and Chambers will have earned a second fight with Klitschko, at least according to the IBF, but will there be many fans willing to bet on the winner beating the younger Klitschko brother this time around? Again, things will change hugely if Haye can upset Wladimir – and a Haye-Chambers or a Haye-Thompson fight would be pretty interesting; if Haye remains active after beating Wlad, that is – but most fans think Haye will lose just as Chambers and Thompson did when they met the doctor with the steel hammer.
As things look right now, the dominant run of both Klitschkos looks set to continue for a while longer yet.
As far as a prediction on Chambers-Thompson goes: at this early stage I’d favour “Fast” Eddie to be able to pull out a close points win.