Carl Thompson. The Cat. A British boxing champion best known for his craftiness as a ring general coupled with the ability to absorb punishment for the long haul. He would demonstrate that ability to take the pain and recover quickly in the last few matches of his career.
IBO World Title Bid
Following his loss in 2001, The Cat took a break from the ring. He returned in explosive fashion in 2003, winning each of the three bouts he took on that year in strong showings. He kicked off 2004 with an upset victory over Sebastian Rothman for the IBO World Cruiserweight title. For the bulk of this bout, Rothman wailed on Thompson to the point that the commentators for the match were calling for Thompson to hang it up.
The match ended with just seconds left in the ninth round and Thompson scoring an unexpected knockout on the dominant Rothman.
The Last Big Bout: The Cat vs. The Hayemaker
His final defense of the belt came against David “The Hayemaker” Haye who was 11 bouts into his career and had gotten a shot at the title. Haye was very impressive and viewed as a hot fighter for the future and almost forced the referee to stop the match on several occasions. At the time, he was accustomed to bulldozing through opponents and knocking them out. This strategy didn’t work as well on the seasoned Carl Thompson. Haye exhausted himself battering Thompson which resulted in the 40-year old veteran catching the 23-year old young lion with several well-placed blows forced Haye’s corner to call for the end of the match.
Thompson ended the winning streak at ten wins. David Haye wouldn’t get a shot at winning World Cruiserweight gold until late 2007 when he defeated Jean-Marc Mormeck for the WBO, The Ring, and lineal Cruiserweight titles.
“He’d never been in a hard fight but he got in a hard fight with me and failed. I should never have beaten him, I was 40 years old and he was 23, but I took his heart away,” Thompson said as he recalled the brutal match in 2015. “Why do you think he didn’t ask for a rematch? He didn’t have the guts to call me out, but really I can’t blame him because I would have beaten him again. I could take his punch you see. He didn’t have a plan ‘B’ and I hope I taught him a lesson that in boxing you can’t knock everybody out.”
After a points victory in November 2005, Carl Thompson finally hung up the gloves and boots. Across 40 fights, he won 34 bouts with 25 coming from a knockout. He would relinquish the belt later that month. A new champion wasn’t crowned until 2007 with Poland’s Tomasz Adamek taking the vacant title.
-Highlights of Carl Thompson vs. David Haye: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hhheKWYa1Cc