News October 2015

Tiger Vs King: Livefight breaks down Tony Thompson vs Malik Scott heavyweight showdown


By Michael J Jones

THIS FRIDAY in Orlando, Florida, an intriguing heavyweight bout takes place between veterans with a combined age of 79. No that wasn’t a misprint as the fighters in question are 44 year old Tony Thompson who takes on fellow American Malik Scott, a mere pup of 35.

With the heavyweight division labouring slightly and both men clearly far from finished, the contest holds some interest with the winner surely not too far from a world title shot of some sort.

The older man by nine years, Thompson is coming off one of his best wins in his 40-5 (27) career. Facing old foe Odlanier Solis in Turkey, Thompson took full advantage of the younger man’s dubious conditioning and put a beat-down on the Cuban who eventually refused to box on after eight one-sided rounds.

That fight was back in February and one wonders how much longer “The Tiger” can continue mixing it with the best after 15 long years as a pro with around ten of those being spent somewhere around the world’s top ten big men.

The Washington southpaw is best known for two world title losses to current ruler Wladimir Klitschko in 2008 and 2012 respectively plus a couple of knock-outs over Liverpool’s David Price in 13’. Thompson turned pro late at 28 and spent the first five years of his career being avoided like the plague.

A 6’5” southpaw with power is not the type of opponent any prize-fighter actively seeks to fight but, apart from an early career reverse against Erik Kirkland, Thompson kept winning to eventually get himself in position to compete for the sport’s richest prize.

Since losing a rematch in Switzerland to Klitschko and those famous victories over Price, Thompson has had mixed success, losing decisions to Kubrat Pulev and Carlos Takam on the road but also scoring those two wins over Solis. The first had been a nip-and-tuck affair but “The Tiger” hammered the tubby Cuban to score an emphatic victory in their rematch.

Thompson looked as good as ever in his last fight and is still a solid competitor who is awkward and carries decent power. The Washington contender also sports a decent chin with only the mighty fists of Klitschko so far being able to make a notable dent in Tony’s only two inside-schedule defeats of his career.

Malik Scott offers similar credentials to his older opponent with 40 bouts to his opponent’s 45. Scott is only an inch or so behind Thompson in the height and reach departments though could be around 20-25lbs the smaller man come fight night.

Scott, just like Tony, turned pro in 2000 and won every one of his first 35 pro contests. The Philly prospect made his name with terrific sparring of the world’s best men including Lennox Lewis. The problem was “King” never seemed to nail that meaningful fight that gets a guy’s status from prospect to contender.

After several low key victories, Scott disappeared after a win in December 2008 and wouldn’t resurface until early 2012. Credit where it’s due; Scott has faced far superior opposition since his comeback.

Just a few months into his return, the talented Philadelphian stopped decent Bowie Tupou in eight before holding unbeaten Vyacheslav Glazkov to a controversial draw five months later.

In July 2013, the American brought his unbeaten record to Wembley to face Brit bad boy Dereck Chisora and boxed well early on but subsequently faded. He appeared to mistime the count after being floored and was halted in the sixth. Nine months later Scott was again the loser by stoppage in another strange-ending fight as Deontay Wilder stopped him in just 96 seconds.

The future (and current) WBC world champion landed a hook and a half-decent right in the first and Scott was counted out but some questioned the ending. Regardless, the Philly veteran came back with a dominant victory over former world title challenger Alex Leapai in Australia a year ago to prove he wasn't finished.

That unanimous points victory saw Scott up his numbers to 37-2-1 (13) and, just like Thompson, is at the point where the fight could prove a door-opener or a career finisher. Thompson has boxed at the top level for longer, is bigger and more powerful and carries the heavier artillery but at just-turned 44 can he deal with a younger, skilful box-fighter like Scott?

Thompson will look to put the pressure on and one can’t help wondering will Malik cave if he starts shipping those jolting left hands. Scott has the faster hands and feet and should look to stay off the ropes, keep the fight long and not get involved in close.

Thompson has a decent work-rate and if he gets into a rhythm and starts punching in combination, it could get very tough for Scott. It’s a good 'pick em' fight between two experienced, quality operators but this writer’s tentative pick is for Thompson to overcome a slow start to stop Scott in eight or nine rounds.

Incidentally, this will be Thompson’s first bout on home soil since May 2011 when he stopped Maurice Harris in three.

A good-looking undercard at The Venue at UCF is headed by the light-welterweight ten rounder between 23-0-1 Haskell Rhodes and 7-0 Sergey Lipinets. Also on the nine-bout bill is Antonio Tarver Jr who boxes his fourth contest against Thomas Allen over four rounds.

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