March 30, 2012

ESPN Friday Night Fights "ALL IN" Results

By Jeffrey Freeman -- ESPN Friday Night Fights was live tonight at the MGM Grand Theater at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, CT. Promoted by Jimmy Burchfield's CES Promotions, the main event featured a battle for the NABF lightweight title between Philadelphia's Hammerin Hank Lundy (22-1-1 w/ 11 KOs) and St. Louis native Dannie Williams (21-2 w/ 17 KOs). The co-main event was originally scheduled to include Hector Camacho Jr but in typical Camacho fashion, the much maligned son of Hector Sr pulled out of his fight against Elvin Ayala (25-5-1 w/ 11KOs) two days before the fight citing a very non-specific hand injury. The notoriously unreliable Camacho Jr was replaced by journeyman Eric Mitchell (23-9-1 w/ 11KOs).

Hank Lundy W10 Dannie Williams (lightweights) - Hammerin Hank Lundy successfully defended  his NABF lightweight title with a hard fought ten round decision over "Dangerous" Dannie Williams who lived up to his nickname in the first, hurting Lundy with a powerful left hook high on the head that caused Lundy to buckle, his knee touching the canvas. That's a knockdown and referee Danny Schiavone issued a standing 8-count to Lundy. The rest of the fight belonged to the left jab of Hank Lundy and he used it effectively to control the tempo and set up his power punches. There were some furious exchanges in the third round but as the fight wore on, Lundy's jab proved the difference in the fight. Scores: 98-91, 97-92, and 97-92. KO Digest scored the fight 97-92, giving Williams the first round 10-8 and the fifth 10-9. NABF lightweight champion Lundy improves to 22-1-1 w/ 11 KO's. Williams falls to 21-2 w/ 17 KOs.

Elvin Ayala W8 Eric Mitchell (middleweights) - New Haven, CT native Elvin Ayala, fighting in front a very partisan crowd, successfully defended his WBC USNBC Middleweight title in a fight that was probably more challenging than it should have been considering that Mitchell was a last minute substitute for Hector Camacho Jr. Working behind a busy jab, Ayala methodically picked his opponent apart with combinations to the head and body. Mitchell had some success in the middle rounds and he opened a cut under the right eye of Ayala but by the seventh round he was visibly tired and Ayala cruised to the decision win. Ayala improves to 25-5-1 w/ 11 KOs while Mitchell falls to 23-9-1 w/ 11 KOs. Scores: 79-73, 79-73, and 78-74. KO Digest scored the fight 78-74 for Ayala, giving Mitchell the fourth and sixth rounds.

Joe Smith Jr TKO2 Dennis Ogboo (light heavyweights) - Working behind a strong jab to set up his punches to the head and body, the much taller Joe Smith Jr poured on the pressure in the second round, hurting his outgunned opponent on the ropes moments before the white towel came flying in from the Ogboo corner. Smith improves to 8-1 w/ 8 KOs while Ogboo slips to 6-5 w/ 5 KOs. Time of the TKO: 2:06

Shelito Vincent W4 Karen Dulin (female featherweights) - Fighting in just her second pro fight against the very same opponent she fought her pro debut against last year, the very popular Shelito Vincent pounded out an easy decision win over the feather fisted Karen Dulin. Vincent improves to 2-0 while Dulin goes to 2-11 w/ 1 KO. Scores: 40-36 and all three cards.

Paul Gonsalves TKO4 Nick Lavin (super middleweights) - In the evening opener, crowd favorite Nick "Victory" Lavin was thoroughly outboxed and outpunched by Paul Gonsalves before being stopped with a brutal barrage of flush shots along the ropes in the 4th. Lavin showed a ton of heart but in the end, the referee did the right thing by stopping the fight. Time of the stoppage was 2:07 of the 4th and final round. Gonsalves improves to 3-2 w/ 3 KOs while Lavin falls to 2-3 w/ 2 KOs. 

March 23, 2012

Friday Night Fight Flashback: Arturo Gatti vs Wilson Rodriguez

Flashback to March Mayhem!

"THE ONLY THING CERTAIN IN THIS WORLD IS DEATH AND TAXES" ... This quote made famous by Ben Franklin has been around for decades, proving his point a valid one. However, if he was born in this century, Ben may have altered the quote and added Arturo Gatti as a third certainty. You were almost guaranteed action, blood, guts, and brutality in every fight involving the fighter. Arturo "Thunder" Gatti first hit the fight scene back in 1991. At just the age of 19, the kid was already playing a man's game. He was a member of the Canadian National Team back then, and instead of representing Canada in the 1992 Summer Games, he chose not to wait and turned pro.  In boxing, this is not an uncommon story. In fact, it happens all the time. What made his story interesting is he was an Italian Canadian who relocated to the United States, and now resided in Jersey City. There he picked up a huge following as he racked up the wins. Forget the reality television series "Jersey Shore," - it was Arturo who first put Jersey on the map. Plus he had a huge Italian following, as well as the Canadians adopting him. Gatti was great for the TV ratings. He quickly flew through the ranks picking up a regional title in 1994, beating Pete Taliaferro for the USBA Super Featherweight title, with a first round KO.

In less than a year, after just two defenses of the belt, he took on Floyd Patterson's adoptive son, Tracy Harris Patterson, for the IBF Super Featherweight championship. Gatti won a close unanimous decision. HBO saw this as a a great opportunity, and they signed him up to a muti-fight deal. It looked like everything was going just fine in Arturo's world. He was a young good looking world champion, he had women throwing themselves at him, and thanks to his deal with HBO, plenty of cash. As a fighter, he was living the dream. What could possibly go wrong? Well, for starters, a tough and experienced veteran fighter from the Dominican Republic, who may have believed this was his last chance at winning a world title, fighting in front of millions of viewers. Wilson "Black Label" Rodriguez was selected as Gatti's first title defense on HBO, and the plan was to impress and move on to bigger pay days. Wilson had plans of his own.

The fight took place at the Madison Square Garden Theater on March 23, 1996. The fight was billed "MARCH MAYHEM" and even the undercard was impressive. In the co-feature of the night, Orlando Canizales, already a legend at bantamweight, took on the tall and lanky Junior Jones at a higher weight class and lost a very close decision. Junior's chin and stamina failed him in some of his other major bouts, and he made it his business not to get it tested this night. Nevertheless, it was an entertaining fight, as Orlando pressed the action, and there were some moments were it looked like "Poison" wouldn't make it to the finish line. Both fighters were applauded as they left the ring. The fight fans were now primed and ready for the main event. Wilson Rodriguez entered the ring first wearing yellow and black. His record is an impressive 43-7 w/ 24 KOs. The champion is next, and the crowd applauds as Gatti is introduced. He is in white and blue, and his record, an almost perfect 24-1 w/ 20 KOs. The late Wayne Kelly gets the call as referee. Michael Buffer does his trademark "Let's get ready to rumble," - and the fight is underway!

Let's get ready to rumble!
The bell rings for round one, and Gatti circles left with a high guard and jabs to both head and body, and fires a straight right hand to the head. He throws an occasional hook. Rodriguez is content for now to just circle and jab. Gatti shoots a hard right to the body, and Rodriguez is trying to time Gatti with his own right. Rodriguez continues to circle and double up on the jab. His hook is starting to land, and he continues to circle away from Gatti's heavy left hook. Gatti is having a hard time trapping Rodriguez as he continues to follow him around, instead of cutting the ring off. Rodriguez lands a straight right, followed by a left hook. The fight is barely two minutes old and Arturo's left eye is already starting to swell. Rodriguez is boxing beautiful and Harold Merchant notes, "Rodriguez is getting more bold, and landing straighter punches." At the bell, Gatti returns to his corner blinking. I can actually remember telling the guy next to me, no way this fight goes another two rounds. In the corner, Gatti is told by team Duva to stay low and move his head. In Wilson's corner, they note Gatti's eye is already an issue, and tell him to throw more left hands. Gatti comes out for the second round using head movement and stays low, just as his corner advised. He is shooting straight right hands and left hooks to the body. Rodriguez continues to use all of the ring, sliding along the ropes and snapping the jab into Gatti's eye. Gatti lands a good left hook to the head. Rodriguez decides to trade, and is now throwing in combination. He lands a right hand and left hook to the head of Gatti. Rodriguez is now dancing on his toes using the ring to inflict more damage.

Gatti now has a mouse under his right eye.

It looks pretty bad for the young champion, and Larry Merchant notes, "Gatti is in real trouble unless he can turn it around." Gatti is blinking and both his eyes are swelling at an alarmingly fast rate. Gatti lands a good left hook and Rodriguez is in the corner with his back near the ropes. He lands a right cross, a short left hook, and another right cross, and the audience gasps as Gatti goes down hard on the seat of his pants! Gatti can't see a thing, no way the ref is going to let it continue. Gatti gets up pretty quick and he gets the mandatory 8 count. Rodriguez is all over him and lands a right cross-left hook, a left hook-right cross, and a left-right-left; all to the head! Incredibly, Gatti absorbs it and is moving forward firing hooks to head and body. Gatti lands a low blow to the hip and the ref warns him. Gatti lands a hard left hook that wobbles Rodriguez just before the bell. Both men look hurt, and they each head to the wrong corner! Arturo's face looks like he went ten rounds, and cutman Joe Souza is earning his salary, trying his best to reduce the swelling. Gatti races out for the 3rd round, and immediately hurts Rodriguez with a hard right over the top followed by a left hook that sends Rodriguez to the ropes. Rodriguez is trying to survive the onslaught. He is forced to trade but Gatti has the edge in firepower. Chants of "Gatti" fill the arena as he repeatedly wings left hooks to both the head and body of Rodriguez, keeping him on his heels. Rodriguez actually lands a couple of head shots in the corner but Gatti fires back and lands a sensational left hook that momentarily stops Rodriguez's forward movement. They both trade at the bell and Gatti heads to his corner with his eyes nothing more than a pair of slits.

The doctor momentarily visits the corner to determine whether Gatti can continue. "This is world class stuff, folks" says Merchant. - "This is World War III folks!" chimes Roy Jones Jr. The visit to the corner by the doctor turns a desperate Gatti into an animal and he comes out for the 4th round looking to do damage. He is loading up with every punch and his right eye is almost shut. Gatti is stalking and lands a right to the body. "Some of the blows are landing on the hip." observes Roy Jones Jr. Gatti is doing well, and no one is sitting in their seats as they chant "Gatti." By now my throat is raw, and I know I am going to pay for it later, but in the moment, you just don't care. Rodriguez comes back with hooks and crosses to the head. "What is keeping these guys up?" asks Merchant. Gatti gets hurt with a hook in the corner, and Rodriguez is firing away. Just when it looks like the ref is going to stop it, Gatti lands a big left hook to the head,and a low blow that goes undetected by the ref. Gatti pulls the round out and incredibly, no one in the Theater has sat for the last two rounds! This is New York City!

How many fingers?
Souza is working hard in the corner and Gatti is in agony."How many fingers?" asks the doctor. "I don't think Gatti can go another round" says Merchant. This is now the 5th round and Arturo shows the world a world class heart. Gatti is landing the hook more often but still landing some shots to the hip. Rodriguez is trying to turn it back into a boxing match by using the ring and jabbing Gatti's swollen eyes. Gatti continues to move forward with the body shots. Rodriguez triples the jab and Gatti lands a right cross. Gatti finally loses a point for low blows while they are trading. Gatti is undeterred and jumps right back on his man and lands a perfect left hook to the body. Rodriguez is down! The ref is in Wilson's face, and he barely makes the count. Gatti races across the ring trying to finish his man by rightfully going right back to the body. They are both firing head shots as they trade at the bell. What a round.This may have been the best round of the fight, so far.

In between rounds, it's almost like a scene from a Rocky movie as Gatti is told "stay to the body, Rodriguez will quit." In the opposite corner, they are literally pleading with Rodriguez. "You are winning this fight, STAY AWAY FROM THIS MAN!" At the advice of his corner, Gatti comes out for the 6th round focusing on the body. Rodriguez is trying his best to just jab and stay away from him but Gatti is now moving his head and cutting off the ring, forcing him to trade. Rodriguez is taking the head shots well but the body shots are sucking the life out of him. The fight fans sense the tide has turned and once again chants of "Gatti" are filling the arena. "Thunder" throws a few more well placed body shots, before loading up with a huge left hook to the head with all his body weight thrown behind it. BOOM! Wilson Rodriguez is no more. He lands flat on his back, and even though he tries, he doesn't even come close to beating the count. What you can't see on HBO is fans racing down the aisles towards the ring to get a better look, the way you would view a car crash.

How about that!
The time of the stoppage is 2:15 of round six. The medics are in the ring immediately and Gatti's handlers are carrying him around the ring. "People will never forget this fight, they will show it over and over" says Merchant. "My new nominee for fight of the year!" says Roy Jones Jr. Larry Merchant does the interview with a victorious Gatti. "I told myself I better wake up when I got dropped" said the bruised but elated Champion. This fight turned out to be Wilson Rodriguez's last hurrah as he went on a 5-3 run before finally hanging up his gloves with a 48-10-3 record. As for Arturo, his career had more highlights than almost any fighter (he won Ring Magazine Fight of the Year honors four times) and almost every fight was memorable. As for his ring accomplishments, he had mixed results. His move up in weight saw losses to Angel Manfredy and Ivan Robinson (twice). James "Buddy" McGirt revived his career, starting with a win against Terron Millett. He then had a controversial win against Joey Gamache, impressive wins against Gabriel Ruelas, Jesse James Leija, and Leonard Dorin, his exciting trilogy with Micky Ward, with 2 of the 3 fights selected as Fight of the Year, followed by brutal knockout losses to Floyd Mayweather, Carlos Baldomir, and finally Alfonso Gomez in 2007. He retired with a record of 40-9 (31 KO's). Arturo Gatti died mysteriously in Brazil on July 11, 2009. To this day, no one really knows what happened, other than a proud warrior was taken from us way too soon.

The Friday Night Fight Flashback you just enjoyed was written by boxing junkie David McLeod, exclusively for KO Digest. Each week, David will flashback to a memorable fight in boxing history. 

March 9, 2012

KO Digest Q&A with Tony "The Tiger" Thompson

Will Thompson's arms be raised against Klitschko?
Not many professional fighters get a shot at the legitimate Heavyweight Championship of the World and even fewer fighters get a second shot at that title but if things go according to plan, Washington DC native Tony "The Tiger" Thompson (36-2 w/ 24 KO's) will get his second shot at Wladimir Klitschko and the heavyweight championship of the world this summer. KO Digest caught up with Thompson following the YouTube announcement from Klitschko that he would seek to defend his title against Thompson, most likely in Germany - following his recent destruction of Jean-Marc Mormeck. During the interview, I found Thompson to be articulate, humorous, and perhaps more than anything: confident.

KO Digest: Hi Tony, thank you for taking the time to talk to KO Digest. You must be very excited to be getting a second shot at the heavyweight championship of the world, what can you tell boxing fans about the negotiations for the fight against Wladimir Klitschko?

Tony Thompson: No date or location is set yet, we are in the very early stages of negotiation. I am very excited. I've worked hard to get back to this position, it's been four hard years and I finally made it so I'm ready to be the Heavyweight Champion of the World. I know that he is going to accept my fight, there's been a lot of talk that maybe he'd vacate the IBF title just to avoid me but that's not true. Wladimir has proven to be a great champion and he's showing it again by taking the toughest fighter out there for him and that's me.

KOD: Where would you like the fight to be held?

Thompson: I'd like the fight to be in the back of my yard! I really don't care where the fight winds up. I mean obviously it would be a great thing to win the Heavyweight Champion of the World here in the United States in my hometown of Washington DC but that's far fetched so I'm gonna go wherever I have to go to capture the title.

KOD: How much do you expect your purse to be for this fight?

Thompson: Ha! I really couldn't tell you but he's selling 50,000 tickets. Maybe no HBO TV but he's got plenty of TV. Whatever it is, I'm expecting it to be a raise from the last time.

KOD: How much were you paid last time you fought Wladimir, back in 2008?

Thompson: A little under a million dollars.

KOD: Some might call you an endangered species, an American heavyweight challenging for the Heavyweight Championship of the World. For the people out there across America who have forgotten there is even such a thing as heavyweight boxing, how do you plan to shock the world and return the title to America? 

Thompson: Well, I have a great game-plan, we're putting together a great team. I'm very confident with the skill-set that I have that I can beat Wladimir Klitschko. The biggest thing for me is conditioning. Everything else will take care of itself. Everybody would love to see me bring the title not only back to America but to Washington DC, the nation's capital.

KOD: It's been over ten years since there has been an American heavyweight champion, 22 years since Douglas beat Tyson, and there has been only one southpaw heavyweight champion, do you think about these things and just how historic it would be if you beat Wladimir Klitschko?

Thompson: Most definitely I think about those things - among the other things I have my mind - a guy walking into the gym off the streets, 27 years old, no experience fighting for the heavyweight championship of the world, for the second time. There's just a whole bunch of things there that's just momentous too so I think about it all.

KOD: What will you do differently this time against Klitschko? Will you take more risks? How far are you willing to go to win?

Thompson: They're gonna have to carry me out of the ring. I don't care about getting knocked out, I don't care about getting hurt, damaged. I just want to do what I have to do to knock Wlad out before the 11th round - like he stopped me- I have to stop him before the 11th round. As far as going all out, I've always been a fighter that went all out. The only difference in this fight will be my conditioning. If my conditioning is what it's supposed to be, I'm not injured anymore, believe me I will bring it to Wladimir. I brought it to him as much as I could on one leg, give me two legs and great conditioning and you'll see a lot better Tony The Tiger Thompson!

How it ended in 2008: Klitschko KO11 Thompson

KOD: Were you injured for your first fight against Wlad? Can you elaborate on that?

Thompson: I had a torn meniscus in my right knee and I didn't know it at that time. I just knew my right knee was hurt, and instead of doing the proper roadwork, I didn't do any roadwork. I resorted to other means to get my conditioning and it didn't work. I didn't know any better at the time but experience is a great teacher. I went through it, I've learned from it and I'm coming out wiser. Since the fight, I've had two operations on the knee. After the fight was over I went to see what was wrong with my leg because I knew something was wrong. You're taught as a fighter to fight through pain so I decided to fight through the pain but eventually I had to check and see what was wrong with my knee. I came to find out I had a torn meniscus.

KOD: How is the knee now?

Thompson: It's sound enough where I can get in condition, believe me. I'm able to do roadwork. I'm able to do everything.

KOD: What was the hardest part about fighting Klitschko and how do you get around that this time?

Thompson: The hardest part about fighting him was chasing him. He's a very defensive fighter. He makes you work for every punch that you land on him. That will probably be the hardest part besides being away, out of America, and a little jet-lagged.

KOD: As somebody who has felt it, how you would you describe Wlad's power and how does it compare with the other  fighters you have faced?

Thompson: Wlad is just so immensely strong. I wouldn't say he's a huge puncher even though it translates into punching power. He's just so damn strong, basically he can decapitate you with a punch. But I wouldn't put him in a class of punchers like DaVarryl Williamson whose so much smaller but hits like a brickhouse. Or somebody like a Hasim Rahman who is also immensely strong but has huge punching power to go with his strength.

KOD: What does trainer Emanuel Stewart add to Wladimir Klitschko's game?

Thompson: Emanuel Stewart added so much to the Klitschko style. I know its very exasperating and frustrating for Emanuel that he can't get Wlad to go out there and totally dominate and humiliate people but he did what he could with the temperament that Wlad had. Not just the physical but also the mental and the confidence he's added to him. He taught Wlad so many things from a mental and confidence standpoint and I think it translates into the ring.

KOD: Since your first fight against Wladimir in 2008, who has improved more, you or him?

Thompson: I have definitely improved more as a fighter. I've improved because of him! He is the pinnacle of the division. I learned so much just being in the ring with him, fighting him, being around the whole hoopla of fighting for the heavyweight championship of the world. He's done nothing else  but the norm for him. So I don't know how else he would be able to  improve. I have to give the edge to me just because of the caliber of competition - he's at the top, I fought him. After me he fought nobody even close to me.

KOD: How do you feel Wladimir compares to the great heavyweights of the past?

Thompson: Well, I think that in any era a guy that's 6'6, 250 lbs with the athletics that he has and the punching power, he will give anybody problems. Wlad is very underrated athletically. In history I put him right below Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson, and George Foreman. Then Wladimir. Obviously Ali is the top choice for me.

KOD: You're from Washington DC, what did you think about the last big fight in DC, Lamont Peterson against Amir Khan?

Thompson: I thought it was great, you could see the city was behind Lamont the whole time, it was electric! Everybody underrates Washington DC as a fight town or even as a sports town. We are some of the best fans a team or a person could have and it showed in Peterson's fight against Khan and it will show again if I get to fight Wlad in DC.

KOD: Are you a boxing fan? Do you follow the sport of boxing closely? Who are some of your favorite fighters?

Thompson: Ever since I started fighting, I follow the sport more. I am a boxing fan but I wouldn't say I'm a boxing historian. I do follow the sport. I started watching boxing when Sugar Ray Leonard was out, people like that. I have people I like in boxing and of course my favorite of all time is Muhammad Ali, and it wasn't even anything to do with boxing, he's my favorite boxer but it went so much beyond what he did in the ring. Lamont Peterson, Ty Barnett, Seth Mitchell, a bunch of my homeboys, those are my favorite fighters right now outside of somebody like an all time great like Floyd Mayweather.

KOD: How did you first get into boxing?

Thompson: Back in 1999, I was just living around in the peaks of my life wondering what I was going to do to make enough money to support my kids. My dream actually was to become a police officer, but once I got into a bit of trouble with a police officer, that dream was squashed so I needed another way to provide for my family. I just had to find something I was good at and obviously I was good at kicking people's ass, so I translate that into money.

Tony The Tiger
KOD: How did you get the nickname Tony The Tiger?

Thompson: Something my kids came up with.

I have a tattoo of a tiger on my right arm. I'm a fan of Big Cats, everybody who knows me knows that. I'm also a big fan of Frosted Flakes, which we were eating for breakfast and one of the kids said 'why not be Tony The Tiger?' - it works for me and it's been that way ever since.

KOD: What is your life like outside the ring?

Thompson: I'm a married man with 7 kids, 2 dogs and a huge extended family. I'm a regular Joe. I bowl on Thursdays in a league. I golf when I get a chance with a whole bunch of buddies. I'm just a regular Joe, nothing special.

KOD: As a professional fighter who is active on Facebook, what are the pros and cons of social media from your perspective?

Thompson: The benefits are being able to let your fans know about your upcoming events or anything that's coming up that might include you, if you're a fan. You're right there listening to fans opinions which you might not agree with all the time  so you have to be able to temper your attitude down and understand, it's just an opinion.

KOD: How do you respond to critics who say you are a boring fighter who doesn't deserve a second shot at the heavyweight title and that you're just going to lose again anyway?

Thompson: Well, if you think I'm a boring fighter, guess what? I used to think I was a boring fighter too! But I think people have to rate me on a curve. I haven't been fighting since I was 10 years old. I started fighting as a grown man. I'm still in the infancy of my learning curve. But having said that, I still think I'm doing great. Critics can say I'm boring or whatever - my temperament is my temperament. I'm coming out of that shell a little more, I'm being a lot more aggressive. I'm knocking people out now. Just sit back and wait, the best is yet to come. Even though I'm at this advanced age, I've always taken care of my body. I'm not beat up. The best Tony Thompson is still yet to come. It might look awkward but it's going to be effective. I am going to win with this style.

KOD: How exactly did you get into this position, as the #1 IBF contender?

Thompson: Eddie Chambers cancelled twice. The IBF made the right decision by declaring me the IBF #1 contender because I already dispatched of a very underwhelming Maurice Harris in a 4-man competition. There is nobody left to fight. It was just me so they did the right thing.

KOD: Do you feel you deserve this title shot over fighters like Arreola, Dimitrenko, and Boytsov, boxers rated in the top 10 by Ring Magazine?

Thompson: Listen, who did those guys fight? It's not for me to say what I deserve. It's for the organizations to say. They saw fit to make me the mandatory challenger so obviously I did deserve it in their eyes and that's all that counts. It does not matter who thinks I don't deserve a title shot. The IBF said I am the top rated contender and here I am.

KOD: Do you have to beat both Klitschkos to become heavyweight champion of the world or does beating Wlad make you THE champ?

Thompson: Beating Wlad makes me the Heavyweight Champion of the World. Beating both of them makes me a legend.

KOD: How long do you think you will be fighting?

Thompson: About five more years, I think I can fight legitimately until I'm 45.

KOD: You've described winning the heavyweight championship of the word as your dream. What is that dream like for you?

Thompson: It's an incredible dream. This is not something I picked up as a kid saying I want to be heavyweight champion of the world - no. It's something that came on later in life and once I started competing in this sport my focus was incredible. To accomplish something this big with that type of focus, with such a late start, would be absolutely monumentous! And to bring the title back to America, I mean, how big would that be?

KOD: How do you envision your life changing if you win the championship?

Thompson: I'd be a lot busier, people asking me to do things, be places. But other than that I don't see my life changing too much. I have a great life, I love my life. I don't require a whole bunch of material things. I just want to make sure my kids get secure. I'm going to go on being the same boring Tony The Tiger Thompson outside of the ring. I'm a very boring person outside the ring so I know how that translates into the ring.

KOD: What is your official prediction for the fight?

Thompson: Tony Thompson inside of ten!