12.7.08

Round By Round: W. Klitschko v. Thompson

HBO World Championship Boxing comes to us several hours earlier than usual in order to bring us the heavyweight title fight between Wladimir Klitschko and Tony Thompson live from Hamburg. The place looks packed, which is not surprising considering Klitschko's popularity in Germany.

Jim Lampley asks Lennox Lewis what Klitschko can do to improve upon his stinker of a performance last time out, and the former champ says the best thing Steelhammer can do is to forget about his previous fight and concentrate on doing what he wants to do tonight. Larry Merchant compares the chances of Thompson winning tonight to a person learning to spell for the first time in mid-life and then going on to write the "Great American Novel."

Next up is a video package that details how the unlikely pairing of Klitschko and trainer Emanuel Steward came to be. Interesting stuff, but it also underlines how uninteresting this match-up appears to be when the broadcast doesn't spend much time on the fight at hand. One interesting fact about Thompson: he'll earn more for this bout (roughly half a million dollars) than he's earned in all of his previous pro fights combined.

Now they do show a few highlights from Thompson's career, including wins over Dominick Guinn and Tigor Ibragimov. Merchant interviewed Thompson earlier in the evening and he comes off as a thoughtful, well-spoken guy, for what it's worth.

The tale of the tape shows Klitschko with advantages in height and youth, though Thompson actually has a small edge in reach. It takes a while, but Thompson finally comes to the ring accompanied by his entourage and the sounds of DJ Khaled's "I'm So Hood."

Klitschko has a dramatic, back-lit entrance as he strides to the ring. He has an intense, focused look but does raise a hand to acknowledge his fans when he steps between the ropes. Michael Buffer introduces the U.S. and Ukranian national anthems and handles the fighter introductions so we're finally ready to go.

Round 1

Klitschko lands the first significant punch, a straight right. Both men trying to jab but not hacing much success. Wlad tries to let the right hand go again and Thompson covers up. Nice left-right combo by Thompson coming in. Tony gets hit with a left to the body and a right upstairs. He comes forward but isn't landing much unless he is in real close. Not a super exciting first round but already more interesting that Klitschko's last fight.

Franchise: 10-9 Klitschko

Round 2

Right out of the gate, Thompson goes down - looks like it could have been a glancing right but it is ruled a slip. A right hand backs Thompson up for a moment. Now another big right by Klitschko and he batters Tony back into the corner. Thompson is staying aggressive but doesn't have much working at the moment. Klitschko has a small cut above his right eye; Thompson is bleeding as well. Wlad tries to measure another right as Tony thuds away with small body shots.

Franchise: 10-9 Klitschko

Round 3

Klitschko staying very cautious as Thompson is the early aggressor. Now Wlad settles for a left-right combo upstairs. Thompson looks light on his feet and is jabbing more. Big right just misses for Klitschko. More combos to the head but Thompson picks off some of the shots with his gloves. Lennox Lewis thinks Wlad needs to mix up his attack a bit more. Thompson handled himself well there but just didn't land much.

Franchise: 10-9 Klitschko

Round 4

Thompson coming forward again, sometimes leading with his head. The announcers discuss how big this ring is tonight. Again, Thompson seems to be frustrating Klitschko but isn't getting off any shots. Nice left hook by Wlad. Thompson responds to the body with multiple shots. Those could add up over time. Now Klitschko goes to the body as well. Closer round but still likely to go in Klitschko's favor.

Franchise: 10-9 Klitschko

Round 5

Larry Merchant wonders if stamina will become a problem for Klitschko as this goes on. They wrestle to the ropes. Thompson just misses rushing in and they need to be broken up again. Body shot and left to the head by Tony. He takes a few rights well and goes back to Wlad's body. Klitschko partially lands a pair of right hands. Right and left to the body in response by Thompson.

Franchise: 10-9 Klitschko

Round 6

Left to the body by Thompson - that's been working well. Jab to Klitschko's head. Wlad scores with a right. Thompson backs Klitschko up and scores with some glancing blows; Klitschko retaliates with a body-head combo. Nice left by Thompson but a better right coming back from the champ. Again, Thompson was close but probably didn't do enough to take the round.

Franchise: 10-9 Klitschko

Round 7

Klitschko backs Thompson up but he escapes any real danger. Wald jabs his way in and tries a right to the body. A left staggers Wlad a bit but he looked like he was just off-balance. Both men score to the body and Klitschko lands a right to the head. Ineffective jabs both ways. Short left by Thompson. Right and a left by Klitschko just before the bell.

Franchise: 10-9 Klitschko

Round 8

Manny Steward told Klitschko his experience is showing now. A little bit of a brawl breaks out and the champ gets the better of it. He works the body with two shots. Straight right down the pike from Klitschko. Short-range exchange turns a bit scrappy. Several clinches in a row. Thompson lands a left and Klitschko responds with two nice rights. Tony has a good chin, that's for sure. Quick right by Thompson and he eats a bigger one at the end of the round.

Franchise: 10-9 Klitschko

Round 9

Referee Joe Cortez calls time early on as the tape on Thompson's right hand comes unraveled. Tony coming forward but not landing much of note. Wlad not really putting the pedal down in this round. Klitschko just misses with a big right before they clinch. Right to the body by the champ. Thompson delivers a left upstairs and a right downstairs for his best offense in some time.

Franchise: 10-9 Klitschko

Round 10

Both men trying to throw hard straight shots but Klitschko still looking light on his feet. Body shots come from Thompson; right hands in response make Tony cover up. There's a right from Wlad. More follow and Thompson tries to dig to the body in return. Klitschko jabbing and circling. He looks very comfortable. All of a sudden both men go down out of a clinch and Thompson looks like he hurt his leg. Weird moment as the fighters got their feet tangled and fell on each other.

Franchise: 10-9 Klitschko

Round 11

Thompson's corner was imploring him to do more down the stretch and the fight does turn a little more intense to start this round. Klitschko tossing his foe around and trying to go for the KO shot. A right hand comes streaming in and catches Thompson square and he's down. He looks like he wants to get up, but he can't, and Klitschko has the KO. Replays show the right hand connected right after Thompson had missed with a left.

The winner by KO at 1:38 of round 11... and still WBO and IBF heavyweight champion... Wladimir Klitschko.

Lennox Lewis thinks this fight had to have been good for Klitschko's confidence. They discuss a possible fight with Nikolay Valuev, and Lewis feels Dr. Steelhammer would break down the big Russian because he can just do too many different things.

In the ring, Klitschko says Thompson fought perfectly and frustrated him in the middle rounds. Wlad admits that boxers are judged on their most recent performances, so he is happy he was able to close the show tonight. He also feels he was never hurt despite getting cut.

4 comments:

gridiron said...

By the scorings you've gave us after six rnds, it just seems - for us poor creatures that can't watch this live - that it's another heavyweight bore (so perhaps we ain't missing anything after all). Though,your coverage of the bout is exciting and excellent. Greetings from Sweden!

Liam Widdows said...

My I congratulate your coverage of this fight. I never knew such a website existed.
Let's hope that Haye is next up for Klitschko. That will be one explosive fight.
Thank You.
Liam Widdows
Nuneaton, England

uatu said...

Excellent coverage. It saved Uatu the trouble of having to travel somewhere to watch it. He was able to follow the action and balance his intergalactic checkbook. Will catch this one on OnDemand. Now that this is out of the way, bring on Cotto-Margarito!

The Franchise said...

Thanks for the kind words everyone...

gridiron - It wasn't the most exciting fight ever, but it was more interesting than Klitschko's previous bout and at least he closed the show.

Liam - I also would love to see Haye in with Klitschko, but maybe not right away. Let's see him get his feet wet at heavyweight first.

Also I echo Uatu's sentiments: I can't wait for Cotto-Margarito!