Klitschko vs Haye: Insight from a Heavyweight Who's Been in the Ring with Both MenWritten by Leroy Cleveland
Heavyweight contender Tony Thompson spoke candidly about Klitschko vs Haye.
In a Thursday night interview, Top 10 Heavyweight Tony "The Tiger" Thompson (36-2, 24 KOs) provided some solid insight into Klitschko vs Haye. Thompson fought competitively in his loss to Klitschko in 2008 and has been a sparring partner for Haye. "The Tiger" is one of very few men who's had the opportunity to face both of tonight's combatants in the ring.
Considered by some as America's best heavyweight, Thompson will be the IBF's number one contender if he defeats Eddie Chambers later this year.
Thompson believes to beat either of the Klitschko's, a fighter must be more than in-shape - He must be in "good boxing shape." Simply having good cardio is not enough. A fighter must be supremely conditioned and 100% prepared physically and mentally. That stated, Thompson admires Haye's training routine saying, "David has a legitimate shot to knockout Wladimir... I've seen his workout regimen and know he's in great shape."
What's most surprising is what Thompson said about Haye's punching power (even at 212 lbs).
"He (Haye) hits just as hard if not harder than Wladimir," stated Thompson. "It's unbelievable - I couldn't believe it myself. There's not many people who hurt me to the head and he's one of the very few people. He busted a blood vessel in my eye... He's just a natural puncher."
Thompson went on to say, "Guys like him (Haye) can hit you on the side of the head and knockout you out, clip you, hit on you on the small part of the chin and knock you out... It doesn't have to be a clean shot"
After watching Haye on video, Thompson admits he wasn't impressed initially - But after sparring with Haye and experiencing, firsthand, the "Haymaker's" speed, power and athleticism he became a believer. Thompson also praised Haye's thinking in the ring, "A lot of people don't put the thought process into boxing. You can see him thinking in the ring on how to do this and how to do that."
Wladimir can hurt you but this guy (Haye) has some explosive power."
The Tiger's Pick
When asked if he favored Haye, "The Tiger" said, "If I had to put my money on somebody, I'd still have to go with the heavyweight champion of the world because Haye is a smaller guy and he doesn't take a punch well. From the cruiserweights, he didn't take a punch well so imagine when he takes a punch from one of these hardest-hitting heavyweights. I can imagine what that will be like for him."
The Top 10 heavyweight contender believes Wladimir will try to keep Haye on the end of his jab, force Haye to throw wild, looping punches and then counter right down the middle with hard, straight punches of his own. But unlike his brother, Wladimir typically stops punching when his opponent goes on the offense. Thompson believes if Klitschko is brave enough to throw punches while Haye is punching, he'll knockout Haye early.
The fight will air on HBO in the United States at 4:45 PM ET.