Tony Thompson: Thompson’s surprising second-round knockout of David Price on Saturday in Price’s hometown of Liverpool, England, doesn’t mean that Thompson (37-3, 25 knockouts) suddenly is a great American hope. He beat a prospect, not a Klitschko. That said, this kind of victory translates to dollars. Thompson, 41, might’ve been finished had he lost Saturday. Now, after stunning Price and his fans, he’s in the thick of a weak heavyweight picture and figures to make at least one more good-sized payday. The knockout punch itself was hardly earth shattering; Thompson’s short right seemed to land on or near Price’s temple, which can relieve a fighter of his senses. That’s all it takes sometimes to pump life into a career that seemed to be all but over. Thompson deserves the spoils that will follow.
David Price: Lennox Lewis was knocked out by Oliver McCall and Hasim Rahman. Wladimir Klitschko was stopped by Corrie Sanders and Lamon Brewster. Yes, even the best fall victim to the punch of another big man. Price’s setback doesn’t mean his career his over; it doesn’t even mean he must start from scratch. It merely means that he was caught by a good punch and lost a fight. Price (15-1, 13 KOs) can go one of two ways. He can go the way of Lewis and Klitschko, who used their ugliest moments in the ring as learning experiences and recaptured their status as top heavyweights. Or he could fade away if his confidence is badly damaged. Price doesn’t strike me as the type to give up. Two or three fights from now we might look back on Saturday night as an aberration. We’ll see.
Lamont Peterson: The best word to describe Peterson in his fight against Kendall Holt on Friday might be “fierce.” Peterson, who hadn’t fought in 14 months, looked a bit rusty but withstood Holt’s fairly effective aggression early in the fight. Then, when he found his footing, he basically beat Holt down until the fight was stopped in the eighth round. Holt probably wasn’t as big a threat as many believed he was; after all, he is now 3-4 in his last seven fights. Still, Peterson deserves considerable credit. Holt (28-6, 16 KOs) reportedly looked sharp in camp and seemed to be in a very good frame of mind. He also has world-class power, which didn’t seem to bother Peterson (31-1-1, 16 KOs). Indeed, it was an impressive return to the ring after Peterson tested positive for excessive amounts of testosterone. He appears to be ready for the best in the 140-pound division.
Ishe Smith: A lot of boxers become emotional when they win their first world title. Smith (25-5, 11 KOs) took it to a new level after outpointing Cornelius Bundrage (32-5, 19 KOs) to take K9’s IBF junior middleweight belt Saturday in Detroit. He could barely get words out between sobs in his post-fight interview. And no wonder. It wasn’t long ago that Smith had all but given up on his career and life; he considered suicide. To bounce back from that to realize his dream 13 years after turning pro was difficult for him to wrap his head around. The fight was ugly. Bundrage, a limited boxer, normally wins fights with his aggression but left that precious commodity in the dressing room. And while Smith did enough to win a split decision, he wasn’t particularly impressive. Who cares, though? He got it done. He became the first Las Vegan to win a title when that once seemed unfathomable. You have to be happy for him.
Bundrage is 39. After a weak performance like that, it’s difficult to imagine him bouncing back. He’s a warrior, though. Anything is possible. ÔÇª Bad decision alert! Malik Scott (35-0-1, 12 KOs) outboxed Olympic bronze medalist Vyacheslav Glazkov (14-0-1, 10 KOs) of Ukraine but had to settle for a puzzling split-decision draw in a 10-round heavyweight fight Saturday in Huntington, N.Y., on NBC. The scores were 98-92 for Scott, 96-94 for Glazkov and 95-95. I had it 97-93 for Scott. Scott controlled the fight with his left jab, which scored points on my card and kept Glazkov at bay. Scott could be a factor in a weak division, although his lack of power could hold him back. ÔÇª Former Olympic champion Audley Harrison (31-6, 23 KOs) has failed miserably in his attempts to become a top heavyweight in the pro ranks. He certainly does well in the U.K.’s Prizefighter competitions, though. He went 3-0 on Saturday in London to win the heavyweight portion of the tournament. It was his second Prizefighter title.