With yet another David Haye comeback appearing on the horizon I’m always nudged to remember the night he lost his unbeaten record. It is staggering to consider 13 years have lapsed since Carl Thompson did what Carl always did better than anyone – survive a shelling and then win by stoppage. It was a pulsating evening, hotly anticipated and perhaps the beginning of the golden era we are now enjoying. After all, only ‘flat-earthers’ could deny Audley, Haye, Hatton and Amir were the forefathers of the sport’s current popularity and the inspiration for many of the Amateur champions and emerging professionals superstars fans flock to see.
David Payne reports from Ringside (10/09/2004):
Veteran cruiserweight Carl Thompson tore up the script last night, knocking out British boxing’s pin-up star David Haye in the fifth round of a tumultuous, absorbing and often punishing contest at Wembley Arena, London.
The baying crowd loved every second of the most eagerly awaited all-British encounter of the year. Imaginatively billed as ‘Don’t Blink,’ the contest pitted two of boxing’s biggest punchers together for the IBO belt Thompson secured with his characteristic last gasp, fight saving knockout of Sebastian Rothmann in February.
But the fight meant much more than the peripheral belt. This was a battle of generations, of styles, of pride. A crossroads bout, the gnarled old champion, the photogenic young buck. Name the cliché and you could hang it on the fight.