Pulev can force the issue
Our expert Simon Crawford expects Kubrat Pulev to halt the resurgence of American Tony Thompson at the weekend.
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American Tony Thompson has caused quite a stir in the world heavyweight division so far in 2013, with two unexpected victories over British prospect David Price.
The 41-year-old (38-3 26KOs) stopped the Liverpudlian in two and five rounds respectively to reignite his career after two failed attempts to beat reigning world champion Wladimir Klitschko.
However, I expect the resurgence to end when he faces unbeaten Bulgarian Kubrat Pulev on Saturday night in Germany.
The 32-year-old was an outstanding amateur - winning super-heavyweight gold at the 2008 European Amateur Championships, as well as world bronze in Mianyang City in 2005 - but despite winning all of his 17 fights so far in the paid ranks he is still a relative unknown.
Prospective bouts against both David Haye and Tyson Fury fell through this year and the Bulgarian has been forced to wait for his breakthrough chance.
He has beaten one-time prospects Dominick Guinn and Paolo Vidoz, and in his biggest bout to date stopped Russian contender Alexander Dimitrenko in their fight in May 2012.
Pulev has fought once since and inflicted a first defeat on Alexander Ustinov in 27 fights last September so he should be raring to go as this represents the perfect opportunity to stake his claims.
Victory will almost certainly land Pulev a shot at Wladimir Klitschko before the end of the year - and there are many who believe the Bulgarian is the right man to finally end the Ukrainian brothers' dominance of the division.
"I must beat him (Thompson)," said Pulev. "Afterwards, nobody will be able to talk about a worthy world title challenger without mentioning my name."
Pulev is not a big puncher but he is a skilled boxer who I expect to dominate for long spells against the vastly experienced but ageing Thompson.
As demonstrated against Price, the veteran does have power but ultimately I believe he will run out of steam in the second part of the fight so I fancy a Pulev win on the scorecards which is evens with both bet365 and Stan James.