Tony Thompson vowed to “methodically” dismantle Malik Scott at The Venue at UCF in Orlando, Florida, on Friday, but it was Scott who owned the ring most of the night in the meeting of veteran American heavyweights.
With world champion Deontay Wilder looking on from ringside, 6-foot-4 Malik Scott (38-2-1, 13 KOs) was the slicker fighter throughout the 10-round bout, surviving a ninth-round knockdown to earn a unanimous decision over 44-year-old Tony Thompson (40-6, 27 KOs).
The 35-year-old Scott looked the fresher fighter the entire fight, and dictated the tempo from the start. The Philadelphia native used his jab and lateral movement against the 6-foot-5 Thompson to land his right hand seemingly at will.
Scott also employed spin moves to force Thompson to the ropes before getting off several more shots. He continued to outmaneuver the plodding Thompson into the third, where he shook him on two occasions, the second time with successive left uppercuts.
“My skill set was good, but this is one of those tapes I will hate to look at when I get home,” Scott said. “Tony got away with a lot. I was making him miss and not making him pay.”
Although Scott absorbed some body blows along the ropes in the fourth, his head feints and angles were still enough to set up right hand and left-hook counters.
Starting in the fifth, an increasingly relaxed Scott dangled his hands and commanded the middle of the ring. In the sixth, he increasingly loaded up on the sluggish Thompson with lead rights, left hooks and uppercuts—often uncontested.
“He was just too fast. If I was 43, I would have caught him,” Thompson said. “A prime Tony would have kicked his ass, but I’m 44 and the years are starting to pile up.
“Malik did a great job of staying away until I was able to catch him with one good shot. He just pitty-patted his way to victory. I would rate my performance a ‘D’ at best.”
Thompson did his best work to the body during the rare moments when he got Scott on the ropes, but the former title contender floored Scott with a big right hand to the temple in the ninth.
Scott was able to survive the knockdown and make it to the final bell, winning 95-94, 96-93 and 98-91 on the judges' scorecards.
“I was hurt in the ninth, definitely,” Scott said. “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.”
For complete coverage of Thompson vs Scott, visit our fight page.
Sergey Lipinets pounds his way past Lydell Rhodes in 140-pound battle
Lydell Rhodes vowed to make Sergey Lipinets “look like a C-level or D-level fighter,” but it was the Kazakhstan native who received the passing marks in the battle of unbeaten 140-pound prospects at The Venue at UCF in Orlando, Florida.
The 5-foot-7 Lipinets initially had trouble getting a bead on the 5-4½ Rhodes, but he eventually cut the distance, cut of the ring and simply broke down the smaller man over the course of the fight en route to winning a unanimous decision.
Rhodes circled and moved in and out behind a rapid-fire jab over the first couple of rounds as Lipinets initially failed to cut off the ring while searching for a spot to land his right over an occasional jab of his own.
Although the fighters exchanged toe-to-toe over the final 10 seconds of the first round, Lipinets was largely frustrated early on by Rhodes, who continually beat him to the punch from distance.
“I had him hurt in the eighth, ninth and 10th rounds. I was definitely hurting him with every punch,” said Lipinets, who had stopped his six previous opponents. “But he was holding so much it wasn’t easy to finish him off. Plus he takes a good punch. I learned to put more combinations together.”
Rhodes added three more right hands in the fourth, standing his ground more as Lipinets’ corner implored their fighter to cut the distance.
On separate occasions in the fifth, Rhodes connected on three straight jabs to set up follow-up right hands. But Lipinets timed the Oklahoma native more in the seventh and eighth, finding the mark with several big right hands and a few follow-up combinations.
Called for an unpenalized low blow early in the ninth, the hammer-fisted Lipinets stunned his opponent with a head-swiveling right hand within the final 30 seconds as Rhodes clung on in desperation to finish the round.
Lipinets, who now fights out of Russia, badly wobbled Rhodes in the ninth with a head-swiveling right hand, and nearly finished him in the 10th with a succession of big rights and an assortment of other blows.
Referee James Warring penalized Rhodes for excessive holding in the final round as the fighter simply tried to survive the round.
In the end, it didn't matter as Lipinets (8-0, 6 KOs) won a unanimous decision by scores of 98-91 twice and 96-93 over Rhodes (23-1-1, 11 KOs), whom he outlanded 122-79 in total punches and 79-57 in power shots.
Despite scores and statistics that said otherwise, Rhodes was defiant about his loss.
“I won this fight. I felt I controlled most of the fight until the last couple rounds,” Rhodes said. “He came on strong in the later rounds. He caught me in the seventh, eighth and ninth rounds, but I controlled the first six. He wasn’t that strong. He had good pressure, but I was never hurt in the fight.”
Lipinets clearly disagreed with that assessment.
“He thinks he won the fight? He’s the only one in the whole arena,” Lipinets said. "I won every round. They gave him a few rounds. He should be happy about that.
“He ran too much. He didn’t want to fight. It’s very difficult to fight someone who doesn’t really want to fight. I came to fight, not run.”
In other bouts shown on the Bounce TV broadcast, 134-pound southpaw Gervonta Davis (13-0, 12 KOs) scored two knockdowns during a third-round stoppage of former champion Cristobal Cruz (40-19-4, 24 KOs), and Samuel Figueroa (10-0, 4 KOs) won his 149-pound bout by unanimous decision over Jervontae Starks (13-1, 7 KOs).
For complete coverage of Rhodes vs Lipinets, visit our fight page.