by David P. Greisman
Ronnie Shields (Thompson): “I’ve been thinking about this fight for a little bit now. When I saw the first fight, I realized that Thompson — you know he sparred with Klitschko before, he knows him, he probably got the best of him in sparring, but with the big gloves on and everything it’s like a fake confidence that you get when you fight. And then when he fought him, he found out that it was a different story.
“But I think this time he realizes it’s one thing: There’s a whole big difference between training with somebody and actually fighting him. I think he’s going to learn more from that than Klitschko probably did from the first fight. I pick Thompson by close, close split decision. He sparred with him before and then he fought him. I think Klitschko is going to be really confident; he stopped him late. But I think Thompson, I really just think that he’s an awkward southpaw. He really is.
“But I think his confidence wasn’t as high. When the fight started, I could see little by little that Klitschko took his confidence away. I think he learned more fighting him that fight than Klitschko, who’s thinking he’s going to fight the same guy that he fought last time. I just think it’s going to be a different scenario just time. I just think Thompson, he’s really learned a lot, the mistakes that he made in the first fight. He knows he can’t repeat those mistakes. I just really think that Klitschko is going to take him really lightly. I don’t know that. But I really feel that, reading some of the things he’s saying about the fight. I just think he’s overlooking Tony Thompson.”
Sam Garcia (Klitschko): “I think Klitschko has a repeat performance. I just think he’s good, too big and too strong. Tony Thompson is a solid heavyweight contender, but I just think that there’s nobody that can really compete right now with the Klitschko brothers. I have Klitschko by knockout. I’d say a seventh, eighth round knockout. Thompson may be a little more cautious because of the punching power, but I think Klitschko will eventually get him.”
John Scully (Klitschko): “I’ll go with Klitschko by unanimous decision. Tony knows how to fight him better, but so does Klitschko.”
Eddie Mustafa Muhammad (Klitschko): “Klitschko, knockout, because he knocked him out the first time. I’m not saying that Tony Thompson is a bum. I’m just saying if I was Wladimir Klitschko or Vitali, if I knock you out one time, I knock you out again, no problem. I think that much of Wladimir Klitschko. He has all the attributes to remain champion: height, reach, power with both hands, and he knows how to fight in basic European style.”
David P. Greisman is a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Follow David on Twitter @fightingwords2 or send questions/comments via email at [email protected]