Photo Credit: Todd McLennan/Premier Boxing Champions
ORLANDO, FL. — Malik Scott rose from the canvas to score the biggest win of his career last night in defeating two-time world title challenger Tony Thompson by unanimous decision. Many considered this a 50/50 fight going in due to Thompson’s experience versus Scott’s athleticism. In the end, Scott possessed too much speed and movement for Thompson to neutralize.
CATCHING UP TOO LATE: Although Thompson never stopped pursuing, his ponderous stalking was easily evaded by Scott. When he did close the gap, Scott relied on his quicker hands to land clean right hand counters. On the ropes, Thompson did decent work with clubbing shot, but the attacks were sporadic and not enough to carry rounds over the first half.
As the bout moved into the later rounds, Scott began to tire and gave Thompson more opportunities to punish him. A hard right floored him in the ninth, but unlike previous knockout defeats to Deontay Wilder and Dereck Chisora, Scott was able to survive and make it through the 10th.
The knockdowns narrowed two the of the scorecards, but Scott still took the unanimous decision via scores of 98-91, 96-93 and 95-94.
“He was just too fast,” Thompson confessed. “If I were younger I would have caught him. A prime Tony would have kicked his ass, but I’m 44 and the years are starting to pile up.”
I was hurt in the ninth, definitely. But I’m in great shape and I wasn’t worried about it. I got through it and let him know he’d have to do it again to win this fight.”
AN UNDERCARD BLUEPRINT FOR PBC???
It’s no secret that the PBC roster is massive with over 300 signed fighters. Thus, it has required a lot of TV deals to get everyone showcased. But how many of them are truly ready for TV? And how many are just pretenders masked by glossy records over nondescript competition?
A clear way to sift through the roster clutter is what PBC did with last night’s undercard. Of the three contests, two of them match four undefeated fighters that resulted in good bouts requiring the young fighters to dig deep and show mental fortitude.
147 lbs. – SAMUEL FIGUEROA (10-0, 4 KOs) UD8 JEVONTAE STARKS: This was a fun opener that saw the smaller Figueroa rely on his southpaw stance to beat Starks to the punch and score a unanimous decision (78-74, 77-75 twice). Starks failed to utilize his height and reach advantages, which allowed Figueroa to lunge in without consequence. When Starks did let his hands go, he succeeded in stunning Figueroa several times. However, Figueroa’s clear advantage in punches landed (132-113) kept the scoring in his favor.
140lbs. – SERGEY LIPINETS (8-0, 6 KOs) UD10 LYDELL RHODES (23-1-1, 11 KOs): This was two fights rolled into one. Over the first half, Rhodes channeled Erislandy Lara and kept Lipinets frustrated with movement and counter jabs. Lipinets couldn’t land much beyond occasional jabs to the body and clubbing rights upstairs that were usually blocked or glancing blows.
Unfortunately for Rhodes, he couldn’t keep up the movement and started coming off his toes in the sixth. Lipinets was still fresh and made him pay with hard body shots and forcing exchanges. Rhodes was visibly uncomfortable and flat-out began to run for prolonged periods. Right hands nearly put Rhodes down in the ninth, and in the tenth he was close to being stopped on his feet before being docked a point for incessant holding.
Although both fighters were equal in power shots landed (79), Lipinets clearly landed the more effective blows coupled with effective aggression, giving him the bout by wide scores of 98-91 twice and 96-93.
This was a good learning experience for both guys. Lipinets learned patience, the importance of body work and cutting off the ring. For Rhodes, he’ll have to understand that movement being your primary weapon isn’t enough to win rounds with most judges. He has the speed and power to do damage and keep opponents honest.
140 lbs – GERVONTA DAVIS (13-0, 12 KOs) TKO3 CRISTOBAL CRUZ (40-19-4, 24 KOs): Floyd Mayweather prospect Gervonta Davis landed some wicked power shots on faded vet Cristobal Cruz to score a dominant third round stoppage. Cruz turned pro in 1992, so his mileage is obscene at this stage. He brought his toughness and not much else into the ring. Davis did significant damage with his uppercuts and southpaw straight left, the former being the shot that ended the bout. Davis is getting to the point where we need to see him in there against a solid pro to truly evaluate him.