The alleged robbery happened in a Baltimore boxing ring on the evening of August 15, 2008. It was witnessed by people across the country as the situation was broadcast live on ESPN 2 Friday Night Fights.
The plaintiff – Philadelphia Junior Middleweight contender Anthony “The Messenger” Thompson took a road trip in hopes of furthering his case to become recognized as a player in the deep 154 pound division. It wasn’t a cupcake assignment, as Thompson would have to beat an up-and-comer named Ishmael Arvin in Arvin’s backyard of Washington D.C. to further advance his cause.
The old saying goes something like “if you knock a D.C. fighter out in his home turf, the referee will pick him up and put him on the stool before the count reaches 10”.
For six rounds of a scheduled 10 round bout, Thompson out-everything’d Ishmail Arvin in this contest. Things were going smooth until a clash of heads caused a serious cut over The Messenger’s left eye.
This is where things get cloudy. A ringside doctor to determined that the fight can no longer continue due to the cut. By rule, when a fight is stopped by an accidental clash of heads, it goes to the judges to determine the winner.
But in this instance, referee Malik Waleed mistakenly ruled that the cut was caused by a punch and awarded a TKO win to Arvin who at the time was down on all three scorecards.
Video evidence was immediately made available showing the real cause of the cut but this was disregarded and the erroneous ruling stood to the disbelief of many at ringside and the millions watching at home.
This situation hasn’t gone away quietly as some might have hoped as protests, petitions and more were filed to make this situation right.
We recently caught up with Anthony and his brother Ty to talk in depth about the matter and were where things stand and how Team Thompson plans to move forward.
Philly Keith: As most people know, you were on the wrong end of what many are calling one of the worst boxing stoppages in recent memory. Clearly ahead in the fight, you were cut by a head but which was mistakenly ruled a punch.
The fight was stopped and you were stuck with the loss. What’s the latest with this situation?
Team Thompson: As of right now the sanctioning body is on my side and stripped Arvin of the USBO belt that was on the line that night. A lot of people are upset over this, to see me lose like that.
If I was awarded a win that way, I would have hung my head in shame if I took a butt whoopin’ like that! My people are on it and we are moving in a positive direction. Cameron Dunkin, who is one of the best managers in the business, is working on things.
PK: But the end result still hasn’t been over turned?
TT: The DC commission is on vacation but they will have to answer soon. I can’t lay the blame on Arvin, he is a fighter and came to win but I showed the world that I am a different level fighter. The world knows who won, I was in great shape, came in at 151 lbs. I fought through a big gash that burned like hell. I kept my poise and kept it clean.
PK: Going into the fight, what did you know of your opponent?
TT: We figured they were looking for a local guy in that area to build on for the future; Arvin had a good record but no real name before that fight. They thought if we can get a win over The Messenger, now we have something to sell tickets with and build off of. The fight was in D.C. but it was sold to TV as the return of Anthony Thompson because people know the name and what I bring to the ring.
PK: It was obvious that the fight was a very one sided your favor while it lasted. But the Maryland commission has been put on the spot in the past with some suspect decisions and such. What did you find out after the fight?
TT: It turned out that I was also fighting a politically connected commission. The referee Walid is from Arvin’s region and from the same gym. We hear from very reliable sources that Gary “Digital” Williams, a Maryland boxing writer who was ringside has stock invested in Arvin (A claim Williams vehemently denies). He was the only writer who gave Arvin much credit in the media. There was just a lot of grime involved.
This wasn’t your average fight. A title was on the line, sanctions were involved. It was a main event on ESPN. My career has always had some controversy around it, from the days with Top Rank to my last two losses which had very disputed endings, why would this be any different?
The DC judge only had me up 2 rounds; referee Malik Walid missed a knockdown and calling it a slip. He missed the head butt, even Shannon Briggs called it in the 4th round and Joe Tessatore brought up the video.
After seeing it on the TV the referee even admitted that it was a head butt and he missed the call originally!
PK: Do you want a rematch?
TT: Do you really want to see that again? In this case I don’t see any need for a rematch. The fight was not competitive. I knocked him down 3 times, was never in any trouble.
He might have gotten one round, the 5th which I took off because he wasn’t doing anything. The people know who won that fight.
I am disappointed because I was stripped of the opportunity to be the USBO champion and fight for the IBO title. I found out that I have a lot of supporters out there.
I am a man who stands by his principals.
PK: Moving forward, you still do have that cut over your eye. How long do you expect it to take to fully heal before for can return to the ring?
TT: I think I will be ready in about another month; late October might be a push but definitely by November. We are working on some things; HBO is interested in some Boxing After Dark dates.
It’s funny I am getting more calls after this fight even with the supposed loss. The world knows who won. I am out to prove that I am the best in the world.
PK: Final question, what do you think of the Jr. Middleweight division as it stands right now?
TT: I think the Jr middleweight division is wide open. There are some talented guys but no one superstar talent you can put your finger on. But some of the fighters out there like Sergio Mora got the support and backing to become world champ. You have Verno Phillips who is an older veteran but in this game you can get old real soon.
Training is the hardest part. Can he put out a hard 6 weeks of training anymore? Watch out for The Messenger!
PK: Thanks for your time Champ, best of luck in the future!
Thompson is also an active member in his community, working with VisionQuest, helping juveniles around the city lead better lives.
Contact The Messenger personally on MySpace at www.myspace.com/antthemessenger
If you have any questions, comments or suggestions you can email Philly Keith at firstname.lastname@example.org
Go to www.phillykeith.com for up to the minute info on the Philly boxing scene