At 44, does Tony Thompson have what it takes to upset Luis Ortiz?
Hopefully Tony Thompson is as entertaining against Luis Ortiz on March 5 at the DC Armory on HBO as he was in his conference call on Thursday.
Admitting he wasn’t in the gym when he got the call for the fight and that he’s considered retirement, Thompson didn’t exactly cut an imposing figure as he spoke of upsetting Ortiz (24-0, 21 knockouts) at the age of 44.
But Thompson – candid, funny and endearing – promised to put his best foot forward against THE RING-rated No. 5 heavyweight Ortiz in an amusing conference call to hype the fight.
As for not being in the gym when the fight was announced on Monday, after a previous opponent dropped out, the DC native said he had enough time to get in shape for his fellow southpaw.
“It don’t matter because I’m working my (tail) off,” he said of his training. “And I didn’t want to talk myself into this fight to get embarrassed in my hometown or HBO at that.”
Thompson (40-6, 27 KOs) dropped his previous fight to Malik Scott in October and he’s lost four of his last eight. Best known for losing twice to Wladimir Klitschko in 2008 and 2012, he’s toyed with the idea of retirement recently, he admitted. But that doesn’t mean he’s not focused on Ortiz.
“I mean, at this age, honestly, it’s a fight-by-fight basis,” Thompson said. “I’m not 24. Hell, I’m not even 34. I’m 44. So what I say changes fight to fight, how I feel. Yes, I have been thinking about retirement. I’m 44. Who doesn’t think about retirement as a fighter or any professional athlete at 44? Does it mean I’m not wound up for this fight? Hell no!”
Ortiz, who stopped Bryant Jennings in seven rounds in December, admitted he wasn’t overlooking Thompson despite his opponent’s age or late start to training for the bout.
“I won’t (overlook him),” Ortiz said through a translator. “Not Tony Thompson, who is an old-school boxer, a wise boxer. So I’m not comfortable at all. I’m coming in taking it real serious. I’m going to come real aggressive now.”