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Carl ‘The Cat’ Thompson: Harvester of the Hayemaker

David Haye Wladimir KlitschkoBy Byron Wallin: With the much anticipated heavyweight showdown between champions Davd Haye and Wladimir Klitschko only days away, and a runaway hype train building speed with every passing moment, I feel it only seems fair to offer a nod of recognition to the man who even with all the odds stacked against him managed to vanquish Haye back in 2004. I unlike many others believe that this defeat of Haye still holds a great relevance in regards to analyzing his chances in the upcoming unification bout.

Without delving too deeply into the details of Carl’s career it can be summarized as one compiled of exquisite moments of heart and courage with awe inspiring displays, but also with its’ fair share of disappointments and underachieving. This was clearly evident when in 1999 after coming off the back of two career topping wins over the great Chris Eubank in 1998 he was stopped in the 5th round by WBO cruiserweight champion Jonny Nelson. This was a fight that in my opinion Carl should have won, but whether he was under-trained or took Nelson lightly what transpired was a sad display. Thompson was desperate for a rematch but one was never granted, with Nelson labeling Thompson as ‘damaged goods’

Thompson won his next three fights by Knockout, landing another Word title shot against IBO cruiserweight Champion Uriah Grant. This time Thompson was victorious, knocking out Grant in the 5th round. However, in what appears the typical meandering pattern of a Carl Thompson career he lost the title in his very next fight, getting knocked out in the 4th round by Erza Sellers. Carl drifted into the wilderness, not fighting for two years, and many thought he was shot and had retired for the good of his health, perhaps confirming what Nelson had said years before.

However, in 2003 Thompson laced up the gloves once more knocking out three journeymen opponents in five months and it appeared embers of the once roaring fire still burned. This alerted the Radar of IBO cruiserweight champion Sebastian Rothmann, who probably saw Thompson as a nice shiny name for his resume. The fight was a brutal one, with Thompson being caught over and over with huge shots to the head which forced him to the canvass in the 4th round. The beating continued through to the ninth with Rothmann showboating and leering at the seemingly beaten Thompson who had offered little offense throughout the fight. Then the truly unexpected happened Rothmann leered at Thompson, as he wound up a huge shot and fired at the challengers head. Thompson uncharacteristically slipped the punch whilst throwing his own right hand, that detonated on Rothmann’s chin resulting in one the most brutal one punch knockouts of all times with Rothmann instantly knocked cold and falling head first to the canvass. It was one of the most unforeseen knockouts since Mickey Ward knockout out Sanchez a decade before, and Thompson was World champion once more.

Seven months later David Haye would challenge for this title in only his eleventh professional fight. Haye was 10 and 0 with 10 KO’s, a former Silver medallist at the World championships, and few gave Thompson any chance of victory. Haye started fast, delivering huge combinations of punches and it appeared the fight would soon be over, Thompson was on jelly legs, and the referee was hovering, seemingly ready to stop the fight at any moment. Rounds two and three followed the same pattern with Thompson hanging in for dear life, he appeared totally shot unable to avoid Haye’s punches or land any of his own. It was truly sad and difficult to watch and you felt the now 40 year old Thompson would not be able to endure many more of the young challengers Hayemakers. However, in the fourth round Haye’s work rate dropped, he was tired from his own onslaught, he still won the round but Thompson was now steadier, with his legs back underneath him. In the fifth Haye came out hard again and it appeared he had recovered his stamina, when out of nowhere Carl opened up with a one two combination forcing Haye back for the first time. Haye attacked again with his wild Hayemakers, and Thompson responded in kind sending Haye crashing to the canvass. Haye beat the count and seemingly unable to believe what was happening, he attacked Thompson again. Carl absorbed these punches before throwing a huge right hand that instantly turned Haye’s legs to Jelly with Haye wobbling backwards towards the ropes. Before The Cat could pounce and finish of the defenseless Haye Adam Booth flung in the towel to save his protégé from being knocked cold. Against all odds Carl was victorious, and could bow out on a career high performance vanquishing some of his past demons and proving that a shot old man with a big punch and even bigger heart can still shock the world.

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