Wladimir Klitschko proved yet again on Saturday that he is the premier heavyweight in the world (besides his brother Vitali, of course). He dispatched Tony Thompson via sixth-round TKO, but Thompson was just disgraceful in his second attempt at a world title.
It's understandable that the 40-year-old was outclassed in this bout. He can't do anything about being the inferior athlete, but his effort was reprehensible.
This was a rematch, so he should have known full well what he was getting into. His corner even shouted at him: "You got your kids out here. You didn't bring them out here for this. Don't go out like this!"
While he would have lost either way, at least he could have gone out swinging. Instead, he just plain flopped. Check out the KO:
For a full recap, click here.
After this debacle, it's hard to think of Thompson's next opponents. I can't imagine him getting another shot at Wladimir or an initial shot at Vitali. So what would the point be?
But here goes nothing...literally. The following is a list of potential opponents for Tony Thompson:
Why not watch these two battle it out? They are, after all, Wladimir's two most recent opponents who also threw the least amount of punches. Maybe they'll just have an intense staredown.
The punch-stat guys can take the night off for this one. We'll be able to count the punches by hand.
Chisora is the maniacal heavyweight with more bad-boy appeal than talent. If he does defeat David "The Toe" Haye, then possibly he and Thompson could put on a weirdly entertaining bout.
The man who doesn't know when to quit against the man who simply won't start.
Remember him? He's the 6'7" heavyweight from Chicago who looked more like a tweener-power forward than a heavyweight. He was destroyed by Lennox Lewis back in 2000.
He's still active at the age of 39. That's one year younger than Thompson, and he's fought as recently as November. He scored a 12th-round TKO over the "White Buffalo," Frans Botha.
Grant won the prestigious World Boxing Federation title with that win. This could be an intriguing battle of old, big men.
Golota is old and washed up, but judging by Thompson's effort, so is "The Tiger." At least if Thompson doesn't fight, the man known for fouls and ill-advised in-ring behavior will throw with bad intentions.
Even if those punches are well below the belt.
Cooper is the man who once uttered the words "no more ESPN fights" after staggering Evander Holyfield in a loss to the "Real Deal" in 1991. Remarkably, Cooper is still fighting at age 46, though not very well.
His record is now 38-24.
But the man who said "no more ESPN fights" would be a worthy foe for a guy who only needs to be seen on ESPN going forward.
As for the serious business at hand, here are five possible opponents for Wladimir Klitschko:
The 32-year-old Russian is undefeated and recognized as the WBA world champion, while Wladimir is the WBA super champion. This makes no sense, but this is part of the reason titles don't matter in boxing anymore.
Povetkin owns wins over Ruslan Chagaev and Eddie Chambers, so it would seem like a logical bout. That may be all the more reason it doesn't happen.
Check him out here:
Fury is humongous at 6'9" and has a ridiculous 85" reach. It would be odd seeing Klitschko in the ring with a man who towers over him and has the reach advantage. Unfortunately, Fury became famous for punching himself in the face with that reach:
That said, or done, Fury is 19-0 after he scored his own TKO victory on Saturday. He stopped Vinny Maddalone in the seventh round.
It was his fifth consecutive win by stoppage, and he also owns a decision win over Chisora.
He's still a bit green, but ultimately the 24-year-old could be an interesting test for Klitschko.
The "Nordic Nightmare" was once a hot name for the Klitchskos because of his size (6'6") and power. But his stock has fallen a bit with a lackluster win over Chisora.
Helenius does have good power, as evidenced by this vicious KO of Samuel Peter, but his boxing skill seems a bit behind.
I still believe his size and power could be an issue for Wladimir.
He's strong and powerful, plus he's the best the United states has to offer in the heavyweight division. The sport prospers more when there is an American champion, and no matter how poor the stock, American contenders will always get a shot.
Mitchell is 30-0 with 24 KOs, and I don't think we'd have an issue with him throwing punches.
He isn't nearly as skilled as Wladimir, but the fight certainly wouldn't be boring—for how ever long it lasts.
Check out his most recent victory:
Who would you like to see Wladimir Klitschko fight next?
This 26-year-old has some explosive power, but he's only 6'1", so he'd have the reach issue from the jump. He has recently stepped up his level of competition. In April, he decisioned Dominick Guinn, and it was his first non-KO victory in four years.
He's been on my radar for a while, but it seems he is being protected. Maybe his management is waiting for the Klitschkos to fade away.
After all, Vitali is 40 and Wladimir is 36—but I think this kid's punching power is something to be reckoned with. They may be selling him a bit short.
Check out some of his highlights:
Notice I didn't include Vitali in the five possible opponents. That's because they have said time and time again that they will never fight.
I applaud that from them. It's a principle, and it's good to see rich men have a line they won't cross just for the sake of becoming richer men.
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