Add to that the fact that by heavyweight standards he's a fairly busy fighter and you have just the kind of guy most ranked heavyweights on the rise avoid if at all possible.
Yet those things don't mean there is no risk involved for Klitschko (50-3, 44 KO) however because Thompson's southpaw stance is an immediate problem for any orthodox fighter and his 81 1/2 inch reach increases the difficulty because it allows him to pump his right jab in the direction of his opponents from an odd angle. Add to that the fact that by heavyweight standards he's a fairly busy fighter and you have just the kind of guy most ranked heavyweights on the rise avoid if at all possible.
Klitschko is not in such a position because when he took Ibragimov's WBO title what also came with it was the baggage of defending it against Thompson immediately. His other choice was to face young Alexander Povetkin, who is his IBF mandatory. That he chose the lighter hitting Thompson may say something about Klitschko's reasoning but neither get him any closer to unifying the title, which he has made clear is his intention because he understands that until only one man has all the championship belts there will be no real champion, as there has not been since Lennox Lewis retired.
Often in his career Klitschko has won by using his own superior jab and a considerable size advantage to beat down smaller opponents. Like a picador, he bruises and bloodies them with his jab for a time before eventually nailing them with a powerful, sword-like right hand coming behind it.
That strategy is not likely to change all that much against Thompson, although against a southpaw it is the straight right hand alone that is often the superior weapon for the orthodox fighter. Klitschko's problem will be that Thompson stands nearly as tall as he does at 6-5 to Klitschko's 6-6 1/2 and his arms are even longer than the champion's.
Although Thompson's half inch reach advantage is not the edge it has been in the past, when his long arms made attacking him all but impossible for smaller men like Krasniqi, it remains a problem Klitschko will have to confront and solve. While the public knows little about Thompson and expects even less from him, Klitschko was at ringside when he destroyed Krasniqi and says, "I saw his knockout win in Germany so I definitely won't underestimate him.''
Thompson's size and his own jab will make it more difficult than usual for Klitschko to keep his distance and control the spacing with a jab that can be used both to score points and to avoid getting into harm's way. Thompson will have the size to negate that, although perhaps not the hand speed, and comes with an awkward style that should put some pressure on Klitschko as much from confusion as from the threat of contusions.
"I'm going to be in his face,'' Thompson claims. "I'm going to be pressing him with my non-stop pressure. I'm going to make him fight. I'm not going to lay back like a lot of guys who fought him have done and let him pummel me. I can't beat him running.''
Thompson may not be able to beat Klitschko fighting either but his awkwardness has given many of Klitschko's predecessors fits. He is not a particularly powerful puncher nor does he have the kind of scoring jab that put Larry Holmes in the International Boxing Hall of Fame earlier this year but what he does have is a style (or lack of same) that can be confusing, confounding and dangerous if not handled properly.