May was bad month for top ten Heavyweight Boxing, as none were active, but two American hopefuls closed in on regaining their former Top Ten status.
Chris Arreola and Tony Thompson moved up to #13 and #11, respectively, both notching wins this month.
Arreola, in fact, fought and won twice, both times by knockout. First he handled #201 Nagy Aguilera in three rounds, then just 13 days later beat up #266 Kendrick Releford in 7 rounds. Neither fight gained Arreola (32-2) a lot of points but he rose from #15 to #13.
Thompson easily dispatched overmatched #134 Maurice Harris in three rounds, scoring a knockdown in both the 2nd and 3rd round. Interestingly, for Thompson this win avenged his last "defeat," as he lost to Harris in 2002 in the Thunderbox Heavyweight Tournament. Those fights were ruled exhibition fights and thus didn't count toward official records, which is why Thompson (36-2) has just two losses.
For Arreola, more impressive than the two wins was his weight: he came in at an average of 235 pounds for the two fights, his lowest in four years, showing that he is taking his quest for another title shot seriously. He has won four times since losing to #6 Tomasz Adamek; his only other loss is to #2 Vitali Klitchko.
Thompson has won 5 straight since losing to #1 Wladimir Klitschko, and now he's in line for a title eliminator against #8 (and top-rated American) Eddie Chambers.
Both fighters face an uphill battle if they get another shot. While Arreola is in much better shape than before, he's still the same fighter—agressive but lacking defense. Sam Peter tried the same route of losing the fat but keeping the same style; he got his return title shot but lost just as bad as before. Thompson, meanwhile, gave Wladimir his toughest challenge of the last several years, but at age 39 he might be too late. If he can get past Chambers—no guarantee for sure—it's hard to imagine him doing much better the 2nd time around against a Klitschko. Unlike Arreola, Thompson was at his highest weight in many years against Harris.
Regardless, both Americans have shown that they are serious about the sport. Thompson could prove he's the top American fighter with a win over Chambers, and Arreola's new-found conditioning program—if he keeps it up—could put him back in the top ten for a much longer stay this time around.
Other top 25 moves
A few other top prospects were active in the top 25:
- Kubrat Pulev dispatched #101 Derric Rossy and slid up to #17 from #19
- Edmund Gerber's impressive round one KO of #197 Carl Baker helped him hold at #20
- Mike Perez won the latest Prizefighter heavyweight tournament, beating #182 Kertson Manswell, #128 Gregory Tony, and #138 Tye Fields, and he jumped from #41 to #24. It wasn't nearly as impressive as it would have been if the original field—including Juan Carlos Gomez, Kevin Johnson, and Fres Oquendo—had held, but the three solid wins put his potential on display.
The biggest jump in the top 100 goes to Franklin Lawrence, who leapt from #86 to #44 after beating #62 Jason Gavern. Two newcomers join the Top 100 after getting their initial significant win, #63 Ty Cobb and #72 Hector Avila. Cobb previously lost to #80 Deontay Wilder before either was ranked; as every fighter starts fresh with his first win, Cobb will remain incongruously ahead of Wilder for the time being.
As inactive as this month was, June isn't any better as we wait for July 2nd's huge showdown between #1 Wlad Klitschko and #4 David Haye. Once again no top ten fighters are in the ring, and the biggest fight on the schedule is #57 David Price vs. #96 John McDermott, though that one will certainly be huge in the U.K.