Kubrat Pulev certainly isn't lacking for brass, as the 32-year-old Bulgarian heavyweight contender has responded to Wladimir Klitschko recently stating that he favors Tony Thompson to beat Pulev in their August 24 eliminator by saying that he'll beat Thompson, and then deal with Klitschko, feeling that Wladimir doesn't want to face him.
"I see that [Wladimir] is hoping that he doesn't have to fight me as the mandatory challenger. I plan to disappoint him by beating Tony Thompson first, and then when time comes I will deal with Wladimir in the ring," Pulev said in a statement to BoxingScene.com.
Pulev (17-0, 9 KO) has been in an IBF mandatory chase position for about a year now. He dominated Alexander Ustinov in what was meant to be a semi-final eliminator in September 2012, which is the last time he fought. Pulev was due to face Tomasz Adamek after Adamek's controversial December win over Steve Cunningham, but Adamek decided not to take that fight after all.
Thompson (38-3, 26 KO) has two stoppage wins this year over previously-hot prospect David Price, working himself back into contender status. He's seen as a live underdog at worst against Pulev, a very talented fighter who has seemed a contender in the making since turning pro in 2009.
Klitschko (60-3, 51 KO) has a fight scheduled for October 5 against Alexander Povetkin, and already has two clear-cut stoppage wins over Thompson in the past. Is Pulev the sort of fighter -- assuming they both win -- that can really challenge Wladimir?