Ninth Life of the Cat?

By Matt Winsper


Ninth Life of the Cat?

Carl Thompson Returns...Again!

Carl "The Cat" Thompson, a British, cruiserweight version of Arturo Gatti, is set to make his anticipated comeback in a couple of weeks time on the already nicely stacked Hatton-Maussa Jr Welter championship card. Thompson, 41 years of age but still an impressive physical specimen, has been inactive since stopping unbeaten hope David Haye back in September of last year. After that sensational win, Thompson was put on the sidelines with a mystery illness that has kept him out of action for over a year now.

"To this day I don’t know what the problem was,” he told British writer Ant Evans recently, “I would go running and get a pain in my insides. I went to the doctor and he said just rest and now it’s gone completely.”

Whatever the illness was, it’s good to see Carl back in action. He has consistently been in some of the finest tear ups British fans have seen for the past decade and more. His devestating punching power, shaky chin and willingness to stand toe-to-toe in the line of fire have seen him engage in a terrific plethora of ding-dong battles. Check this list of classics for proof:

Apr 1998 – Goes head to head with British mega-star Chris Eubank in a dramatic twelve rounder, and after being heavily floored, gets up to pound the smaller man down the stretch for a close decision.

July 1998 – In the rematch, is hurt and rocked several times before closing Eubank’s eye for a tenth round stoppage win...the only inside-distance defeat on Eubank’s record.

Mar 1999 – Comes roaring out at rival Johnny Nelson, but is dumped onto the canvas heavily in the 5th, as is often the way in a Carl Thompson fight. Strangely, the fight is stopped just afterwards with Thompson in a lot less trouble than he has been in other fights.

Dec 1999 – A magnificent twelve round tear up is topped by an incredible twelfth round that sees a hurt Thompson flatten recent world title challenger Terry Dunstan to regain his old British cruiserweight crown.

Nov 2001 – In one of the most breathtaking battles seen in a British ring, Thompson and natural puncher Ezra Sellers trade heavy knockdowns, with both men looking out for the count each time they hit the deck, but bravely struggling up to continue. After an incredible SIX knockdowns, it is Thompson who crumbles first, failing to beat the 10 count in the fourth round.

Feb 2004 – With Thompson down in the 4th and his South African opponent Sebastian Rothmaan down in the 5th, the crowd had already got their money’s worth. However, with Rothmaan battering the British veteran in the 9th and referee Richard Davies about to step in, The Cat suddenly unleashes a knockout blow to leave Rothmaan out cold in the year’s most stirring British knockout.

Sep 2004 – Unbeaten star David Haye predictably bludgeons Thompson around the ring for three rounds, but the older man steadfastly refuses to capsize, instead swinging back viciously and bravely. Suddenly, in the 4th round, Haye looks tired, and Thompson pores the pressure on until Haye hits the deck and is rescued in the 5th round.

See what I mean? A catalogue of British classics right there, all of which tells you why British fans can’t wait to see Carl Thompson back in action. He may have 6 defeats in 39 fights, and he may have mixed results in world class, but Thompson has the punch to take out ANY cruiserweight if he hits them right. Sellers and Rothmaan both went on to challenge for the IBF title, and Nelson still sits atop the rankings, so you know Thompson has not been fighting fairies. He has consistently been taking on top guys, and could therefore be only a couple of fights away from his dream world title shot.

No opponent has been set yet for 26th November in Sheffield, England, but it will probably be an easing-back type match for Thompson, before eagerly anticipated rematches with Haye or Nelson or anyone else in or around the top ten. We in Britain sit and watch eagerly!