Wladimir Klitschko continued his machinelike demolition of the heavyweight division, knocking out Tony Thompson in the 6th round in a rematch in Berne, Switzerland to maintain his stranglehold on the heavyweight championship.
A crushing right hand from Klitschko in the 5th round dropped Thompson in a heap, but Thompson demonstrated heart and determination that far outweighed his hopes of overcoming the long odds against him. Thompson was never able to regain his senses after the knockdown and Klitschko finished him in the subsequent round with a flurry.
Klitschko managed to dominate Thompson even more decisively than the first time the two met, when Thompson was knocked out in the 11th round. This time, Klitschko did the job in nearly half the time, while avoiding nearly everything Thompson threw in the process.
The fight confirmed the long-held notion that the only potential challenge to Klitschko’s throne is his brother Vitali, and that until one of the burgeoning heavyweight prospects makes serious waves, Klitschko’s title fights will resemble exhibitions more than competitions.
At least this fight featured a novel location, breaking Klitschko’s string of seven straight fights in Germany. The action was far more recognizable.
Klitschko started slowly in a feeling out 1st round, the only round that could conceivably have been given to Thompson on the scorecards. In round 2, Klitschko turned up the pressure significantly and landed several consequential right hands, strong shots that left Thompson wary and defensive for the duration.
The action slowed down in the 3rd round, with Klitschko throwing only 19 punches but matching Thompson in punches landed and doing significantly more damage. Round 4 saw Klitschko once again turn up the heat, as he began mixing left hooks into his 1-2 combination far earlier than he usually does, helping to exacerbate the finish.
The landscape for Klitschko is no different after this fight than it was before. The heavyweight division is a mixture of names that have been conquered by either Wladimir or Vitali and burgeoning prospects that need more development before being ready to challenge for the title.
Until then, Klitschko will face either retreads or fighters too green to challenge him. After the fight, he mentioned Seth Mitchell, Chris Arreola, Robert Helenius and Tyson Fury as potential opponents, but Arreola was already dominated by Vitali and the others are probably too inexperienced. David Haye and Dereck Chisora meet next week on Epix, but both fighters have already been felled by a Klitschko.
So we are left with a peerless dancer without a dance partner, a champion in search of a rival. His dominance inspires respectful awe, but the lack of drama demands little fervor. Such is the state of the heavyweight division in boxing, with little hope for meaningful change on the immediate horizon.