I've been high on Pulev for a few years now. His 17-0 heavyweight resume is at least 3 times better than Deontay Wilder's 29-0 mark. Wilder has the Olympic medal Pulev could never get but his amateur credentials in general don't remotely compare. But forget Wilder. This is about Pulev and Thompson. Pulev's prior experience against the 6'7+" Alexander Dimitrenko and Alexander Ustinov will serve him well against Thompson (6′ 5″). Pulev is very durable. Thompson's chances of an early knockout are slim and his advanced age will fail him in the later rounds. Pulev TKO-12.
Taking nothing away from Tony Thompson's 2013 career rebirth via two TKO wins over David Price, Pulev is a different kettle of fish. Price had long had chin issues or at least the suspicion of chin issues, and indeed those and some lousy stamina made him ripe for exposure against Thompson, who took advantage. Pulev is a much more well-rounded fighter than Price. He's gone deep against better fighters than Price had faced, and he's largely dominated over his pro career. It's nothing against Tony Thompson, an awkward, determined veteran fighter, but Pulev looks like the real deal to me. I'm going with Pulev comfortably. Pulev TKO-9.
Two wins over the now-comprehensively chin-checked David Price might well have hauled Tony Thompson back into fringe heavyweight contention, but it doesn't necessarily mean he's a threat to the real elite of the division, as the lifeless surrender to Wladimir Klitschko - let's not forget - only a year ago probably proved.
Is Pulev the real elite of the division? No. Well, at least, not yet. The Bulgarian appears to have all the fundamentals to be, if nothing else, the next challenger dismissed without much ado when it comes to a title shot, but equally there's been little to really dislike about him so far. We've been here before.
The hope is that a surely-now-revitalised Thompson does at least give this a real go. The expectation is that Pulev deals with it, and perhaps forces a late stoppage against Thompson, who probably had his last hurrah - twice - back in Liverpool. Mrs Thompson can rest easy. Pulev TKO-10.