Tony Thompson calls Malik Scott the world’s “most talented heavyweight.” Scott returns the respect volley by claiming Thompson is the division’s “most avoided” fighter.
Such mutual admiration might lead one to assume these veteran fighters will be reluctant to trade haymakers when they headline Friday’s Premier Boxing Champions card from The Venue at UCF in Orlando, Florida (Bounce TV, 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT).
The big men insist such an assumption would be dead wrong.
In fact, both fighters predict a bona fide phone-booth brawl in what will be a clash for Beltway supremacy, with Tony Thompson (40-5, 27 KOs) hailing from Fort Washington, Maryland, and Malik Scott (37-2-1, 13 KOs) being a lifelong Philadelphia resident.
“I like Malik, but he’s in my way, and I’m out to destroy whoever’s in front of me,” says Thompson, a 6-foot-5 southpaw who tipped the scales at 263 pounds at Thursday’s weigh-in. “Malik is probably the most talented heavyweight in the world, but nobody’s seen him gut it out like they’ve seen me.”
Scott, 35, acknowledges Thompson’s toughness, but insists his 44-year-old opponent is nothing more than the second stop on his career redemption tour. The first came 364 days ago when Scott defeated former title challenge Alex Leapai by unanimous decision on Halloween in Queensland, Australia.
Before taking down Leapai, Scott had posted one victory—and been knocked out twice—in his previous four fights.
“Tony’s dangerous—the division’s most avoided, awkward fighter,” says the 6-4 Scott, who weighed in at 235 pounds Thursday. “I’m treating Tony like he’s 20. If he turns old, it will be in this fight.”
“ I’m coming for war, so if Tony wants to make it a street fight, we can do that. ” Malik Scott, on Friday's heavyweight bout with Tony Thompson
Nicknamed “The Tiger,” Thompson has been idle since February, when he fought on foreign soil for the seventh straight time, knocking out 2004 Cuban Olympian Odlanier Solis in Istanbul.
It was Thompson’s second victory over Odlanier in as many meetings, and he also has a pair of victories over one-time prospect David Price—one by second-round TKO in February 2013 and fifth-round TKO less than five months later.
Price, who was 15-0 entering his first fight with Thompson but now sports a 19-3 record, hasn’t been the same fighter since first tangling with “The Tiger.”
“A loss to Tony can be severe to a fighter. … It can make him question himself,” says Troy Fox, Thompson’s trainer. “Tony knows how to capitalize on mistakes. He’s awkward, unpredictable and can shock you at any moment.”
One thing that shouldn’t shock Scott is Thompson’s aggressive style. He’s long been a come-forward, willing-to-exchange boxer, and he vows that won’t change Friday.
“I'll throw more punches than most heavyweights, hit him a lot and be in his face the whole fight. I don’t care about getting hit or getting knocked out at this point in my career,” says Thompson, who has been stopped just twice, both times by heavyweight champ Wladimir Klitschko. “I’ve never been the fastest, quickest or slickest, but I’m methodically effective at beating your ass and beating you up, mentally and physically. It’s going to be a rough night for Malik.”
Counters Scott: “My advantage is that I know who and what I’m dealing with. Tony’s going to try to make me uncomfortable, but I’ll offset him. … I’m just as good a fighter as a boxer.
“I’m coming for war, so if Tony wants to make it a street fight, we can do that. He’s fighting the best Malik Scott on Friday.”
Scott looked to be at his best during against Leapai, a victory that followed Scott’s 96-second stoppage loss to heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder in March 2014 in Puerto Rico. His only other career defeat was by sixth-round TKO against Dereck Chisora in July 2013 in London.
When fighting in the United States, Scott is 36-0-1, the draw coming against Vyacheslav Glazkov in February 2013 in Huntington, New York.
“Tony’s a damn good fighter, but it’s time for me to give him his farewell,” says Scott, whose California-based training camps included a stint at Los Angeles’ Wild Card Boxing Club, owned by legendary trainer Freddie Roach. “I’ve got to put it all on the line and show the world what I have.
“I’m on the road to redemption, and Tony Thompson is going to be my second statistic on this road. I can’t afford any more losses.”
For complete coverage of Thompson vs Scott, check out our fight page.