Klitschko vs Thompson Results: Lack of Top Competition Hurts Heavyweight Class

Steven CookFeatured Columnist IVJuly 8, 2012

The latest saga in the story of Wladimir Klitschko only further proves that there is currently no match for the greatest heavyweight boxer and the lack of competition in his class has hurt boxing.

Not many people expected Saturday night's bout between Klitschko and 40-year-old Tony Thompson to be won by Thompson, but many were at least hoping for a competitive fight.

They didn't get one. 

Klitschko dazzled in the ring Saturday night in Switzerland while proving not only that he could easily best Thompson yet again in a sixth-round TKO, but that there just isn't an active heavyweight who can stand toe-to-toe with him.

Gone are the days when Americans dominated arguably the most highly-coveted belt in boxing.

Gone are the supreme reigns of Muhammad Ali, Joe Louis, George Foreman, Joe Frazier and Mike Tyson.

Gone are the names and faces that not only put the heavyweight class on the map, but put boxing itself on a pedestal that it has slipped and fallen off of in recent years.

The absence of American heavyweight boxers has undoubtedly scarred the sport itself. Since Klitschko's career began, he's an insane 39-2 against U.S. boxers. His last loss was nearly a decade ago in 2004. 

Even though the Klitschkos—Wladimir and his brother Vitali, whom he refuses to fight—have been the main force in heavyweight for a long time, they're practically unheard of to the average American.

Compare that to the aforementioned all-time greats in heavyweight that most of those same Americans could identify by their first and last names.

Unfortunately for Klitschko, if he's looking for international admiration, his supreme reign over the heavyweight class came at the wrong time. Just a few decades prior and he would've been a major contender to affect the legacies of The Greatest and many other boxers who made immovable contributions to American sports.

Even though he dominated yet another formidable American fighter Saturday night and won his 58th fight, he's all but an afterthought to American sports. You won't see his name on ESPN's front page or on the cover of any newspapers, save for maybe in his native Ukraine.

Maybe Klitschko is just fine cruising through the class with little struggle like he has in the last eight years, but maybe it eats at him that his name likely won't be remembered with the greatest when it's all said and done.