by Johnny Walker
American veteran Malik Scott’s career appears to be back on track after he scored a wide unanimous decision win over Australian Alex “Lionheart” Leapai earlier today at the Logan Metro Sports Centre in Queensland, Australia.
The ten-round heavyweight fight was a crossroads bout, with Scott (37-2-1, 13 KOs) coming off of an embarrassing (and some say suspicious) first round KO at the hands of good buddy Deontay Wilder, while Leapai (30-6-3, 24 KOs) was crushed and never landed a glove on world champion Wladimir Klitschko before getting stopped in round five of their title bout last time out.
Increasingly, it seems that Leapai’s title shot came at the expense of an out of shape and overconfident Denis Boytsov, formerly hyped as a “next big thing” in the heavyweight division, in a title eliminator.
Boytsov was the man most expected to be taking on Klitschko, but Leapai took advantage of his opponent’s hubris and defeated him.
The Scott-Leapai bout was originally scheduled to be televised, but had the plug pulled when the event was rescheduled and inexplicably relocated after Leapai was sidelined by a calf injury.
The decision to take on a slick, negative boxer like Scott in a “comeback” match following an embarrassing defeat must have the Aussie questioning the decision-making of his team today, as Scott is very hard to look good against (unless your name is Wilder).
A more popular Samoan fighter from Down Under, David Tua, made a similar mistake when he took on giant Alex Ustinov in a disastrous “comeback” fight in 2013. Tua also lost by a wide unanimous decision.
From all accounts, Scott spent the evening in cruise control against Leapai, who mostly failed to connect with wild power punches. Scott connected often enough to leave the Aussie with a black eye and swollen face. The scores were 99-91, 100-90, 98-92, all in favor of the American.
Scott, who had vowed to retire should he lose to Leapai, will now look to gather new momentum, perhaps with a bout against the winner of the upcoming Kali Meehan versus Shane Cameron heavyweight tilt scheduled for November 22.
Alex Leapai will be left to pick up the pieces and ponder the wisdom of fighting Malik Scott at all.