Tony “The Tiger” Thompson, 40-6, 27 KO, challenges WBA interim heavyweight champion Luis “The Real King Kong” Ortiz, 24-0, 21 KO, this March 5th at the DC Armory, in Washington D.C. Despite his age, 44, Thompson has beaten some notable names the last few years including highly touted Olympians David Price and Odlanier Solis twice each in their home environs. Such heroics elevated him into the pantheon of favorite American heavyweights after a painfully slow early career development.
The tubby, awkwardly fighting Thompson is, of course, not the usual life saving public service stereotype touted as a hero, but me thinks many boxing fans have come round to him no matter his setbacks because he gives it his all. He’s done his part to save the soul of old school boxing that made America great with his heady risk taking and confidence, something that has been missing in American boxers. That has allowed him to extend out his career that was teetering on the brink too many times in his prime due to general lack interest boxing had in him. Doubtless he’s also made considerably more money these past few years than the long years that proceeded him, so amen to that.
The Solis name is noteworthy in that he was also a heavily touted Cubano Olympic Gold medal compatriot of Ortiz for whom big things were predicted to no avail when Thompson beat him up and nailed his coffin shut for the duration. Ortiz is certainly no spring chicken himself, soon to be age 37 in a couple more weeks, with near 400 hundred of amateur bouts on his odometer, but professionally he is most certainly fresher than Thompson. Thompson claims a couple of amateur wins over him before they turned pro, but that was ages ago and little relevance to today’s cutthroat pro game when Thompson has started to wind down. In otherwords, Ortiz will be heavily favored. Also interesting is this a battle of two heavyweight southpaws for a title.
The cutthroat that the WBA recently announced that this is a nontitle fight, so if Thompson wins, he can’t take the title away from Ortiz who they are trying to prop up for their upcoming cornball heavyweight tourney. Needless to say, if the steroid cheat Ortiz already didn’t have enough suits lined up in his corner before, now he’s got the WBA suits as well. He can’t lose his title no matter what…only in boxing.
In other heavyweight action this week, WBA “Regular” champ Ruslan Chagaev does indeed defend his title against Aussie Lucas Browne in Grozny, Russia. Chagaev has the credentials, but he’s done little these past few years. Browne has been a project from the start, but from recent activity, Chagaev is overrated and Browne underrated. We’ll see how it goes.
And last but not least in Mexico City, everyone’s favorite infidel and all around dartboard, Antonio Margarito, returns from retirement to fight Jorge Paez Jr on Saturday. Interesting week for boxing, perhaps a prelude of heated bouts to come.