By Jake Donovan
It was a result that shocked next to nobody, and a rematch that almost wasn’t.
Nearly a full year after Tony Thompson delivered the latest setback in the underachieving career of Odlanier Solis, the two heavyweights get to do it again Friday evening in Antalya, Turkey.
The middle-aged Thompson resurrected his own career while nearly putting the final nail in the coffin of Solis’ disappointing run with a narrow points win last March in Turkey. Solis swore going into the fight that he was fit for combat and ready to take his career seriously in hopes of working his way towards another title challenge.
Nobody believed him, so in that regard he didn’t disappoint.
For Thompson (39-5, 26KOs), it was hardly his first time upsetting the apple cart. The American contender has become best known in recent years for his pair of upset knockout wins over England’s David Price, an unbeaten prospect prior to their first meet, and now a heavyweight on the rebound thanks to Thompson’s pair of shocking wins.
The only drawback to Thompson’s past success was that it was immediately followed by a letdown. A pair of surges towards title contention both ended with knockout losses to Wladimir Klitschko. The aforementioned wins over Price were followed by a points loss to Kubrat Pulev.
Last year’s minor upset over Solis was met with a points loss to Carlos Takam three months later.
As for Solis (20-2, 13KOs) – well, his entire career has been one big letdown. Once a gifted amateur and a Gold medalist for his native Cuba during the 2004 Olympics, the jumbo-sized heavyweight – who turns 35 in April – went from an ambitiously matched fighter on the rise early in his career to perhaps the division’s greatest disappointment in recent memory.
Solis managed to make it to a heavyweight title fight, but was forced to quit inside of a round in his March ’11 scrap with Vitali Klitschko when his knee gave in. Just four fights have come since that night, with three wins spray painted over a three year stretch before falling short versus Thompson.
As always, the promise then and now was a career rebirth and dedication in training. There was nary a supporter to be found heading into their rematch, which was almost canceled due to a dispute in the promotion of the event.
Now with a home, Thompson and Solis get to once again throw down, in a fight that will deliver more bad news for the loser than it will for the winner.
Read on to see how the staff at BoxingScene.com believes the action will play out.
BOXINGSCENE.COM PREDICTIONS: ODLANIER SOLIS vs. TONY THOMPSON (REMATCH)
Jake Donovan (Thompson SD): “Prior to Thursday, I couldn’t see Thompson scoring a close decision twice on the road. Now, I can’t help but pick the American to once again prevail after seeing Solis once again not bothering to train for what is a do-or-die moment in his career.”
John MacDonald (Solis UD): “If Solis is in anything that resembles shape, he should do just enough to get the nod second time around.”
Takahiro Onaga (Thompson Dec.): “Tony Thompson to take another decision over disappointing Cuban.”
Reynaldo Sanchez (Solis KO): “I believe in Solis’ focus and concentration for this rematch.”
Alexey Sukachev (Solis UD): “The Cuban's career will virtually be over if he loses to Thompson the second time. With his back against the wall, Solis, who is in more need of the victory, will finally be ready to move and box at least two minutes of the round, which will be enough to outpoint the veteran American just nearly.”
Odlanier Solis – 3
Tony Thompson - 2
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox