Boxing


Tony Thompson-Maurice Harris Set To Meet In IBF Eliminator On May 27th - Will “The Tiger” Roar Or Will “Mo” Be “Bettah?”

By James Slater: According to ESPN.com’s schedule of upcoming fights, veteran heavyweights Tony Thompson and Maurice Harris will meet on ESPN2 in an IBF heavyweight elimination bout. An interesting-looking match-up that could go either way, Thompson-Harris will go ahead in Reno, on the under-card of the May 27th Josesito Lopez-Steve Upsher Chambers light-welterweight clash.

Thompson may be 39-years-old now, but he remains a talented, tricky southpaw. Winner of four in a row since suffering that 11th-round stoppage loss to Wladimir Klitschko in 2008, “The Tiger” is now recovered from the shoulder injury that kept him out for a while in mid 2010. 35-2(23) overall, the tall lefty might have an awkward night with 35-year-old Harris.

The man from New Jersey who goes by the nickname of “Mo Bettah” may not have a good looking record at 24-14-2(10), but he has won his last four and in each of these four return fights his weight has come down. Critics point to the fact that Harris was stopped by the huge but lumbering Tye Fields in 2006, when he remained on his stool after the 4th-round had ended. But as bad as this loss was, Harris, after taking a near four-year break (with just a 2007 No-contest in between), returned with a newfound belief and determination.

Wins over Billy Zumbrun, Julius Long, Robert Hawkins and, last time out, in August, Nagy Aguilera, have put Harris into the position he is in now: one win away from having earned a shot at the IBF title. A very experienced boxer who has been in with, amongst others, Larry Holmes, Chris Byrd, Siarhei Liakhovich, Jeremy Williams and Fres Oquendo, Harris may have lost 14 times, but he is on a roll right now and he has done his training, proving he is serious.

Thompson, though, should be able to get himself a win on May 27th. Stopped just once (by “Dr. Steel Hammer”) and taller and less worn than Harris, the man from Washington D.C has that excellent jab and so much more punching power than the man who picked up the vacant USBA title in his last fight. What may serve to give Thompson trouble, is his recent inactivity. Never a good thing for a fighter pushing 40, inactivity due to injury and an inability to land himself the fights he wants saw to it that Thompson had just two bouts last year. Harris has been far from active himself as of late, of course, and this fight might boil down to which guy is able to get into his groove the fastest.

A short fight looks unlikely, although Thompson has won his last four by stoppage and he does have 23 KO’s to his name. But Harris has not been stopped in almost five years and Thompson isn’t likely to come out blazing. Neither is Harris for that matter.

If the styles of the two men gel (and there is no guarantee of this being the case. Indeed, the fight could develop into a stinker), we should be in for a interesting boxing match. Thompson is my pick to win a decision. But what will a win mean for “The Tiger?” Wladimir Klitschko holds the IBF title both men will be fighting to earn a shot at in May. Would anyone want to see a Klitschko-Thompson II?

Thompson has for a long time insisted he was carrying an injury in the July 2008 challenge of Wladimir, and that he can do better in a rematch. Will he get the chance to prove this by beating Harris next month?

Article posted on 06.04.2011



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