ATLANTA — Lionell Thompson knew the risk in dropping down to 168 pounds after a 10-year career spent at light-heavyweight. The ambition paid off with Thompson notching the biggest win of his career in outpointing former title-holder Jose Uzcategui over 10 rounds.
Thompson set the tone in round one by scoring a flash knockdown off a straight right. In rounds 2-3, Uzcategui rebounded by pressing Thompson behind head-snapping jabs and power shots to the body. The Brazilian also received some unintentional help from the referee when Thompson was docked a point for holding in the fourth without a hard warning.
The deduction may have been a blessing in disguise. Thompson switched tactics, upping his punch output and keeping Uzcategui at bay with a pumping jab and lateral movement to control in rounds 5-6.
Although Uzcategui would keep pursuing, his punch output was minimal. Thompson would only need to land a few shots, mostly jabs and an occasional snapping right, to outland Uzcategui in most of the remaining rounds.
This difference was reflected in the judges’ scorecards. Thompson was unanimous decision win via scores of 95-94 and 96-92 twice.