Lionell Thompson took a risk at age 34, moving down to super middleweight after spending his entire 10-year pro career at light heavyweight, and the move paid off tonight, as he outboxed and upset former super middleweight titleholder Jose Uzcategui on Showtime.
Judges had the fight 95-94, 96-92, and 96-92 for Thompson. Bad Left Hook scored it 96-92 and 97-91 for Thompson.
Thompson (22-5, 12 KO) set a tone early, dropping Uzcategui (29-4, 24 KO) late in the first round. Referee George Chip tried to set his own tone early, being overly involved in the fight in the first handful of rounds, and took a point from Thompson for holding in the fourth, which was a lousy call, as it as actually Thompson being held at the time.
But Chip, to his credit, would settle down a bit as the fight went on, and Thompson simply got the better of the Venezuelan, earning the decision behind a solid jab and Uzcategui simply not getting enough noteworthy work done. Uzcategui also ate a fair amount of hooks from Thompson, who has always been a skilled boxer but just never did break through. This is certainly the biggest win of his career, and another addition to a year of notable upsets in boxing.
Uzcategui will be back to the drawing board in 2020 after a year that saw him lose the IBF super middleweight belt in January to Caleb Plant, win a nothing fight in Mexico in September, and then drop this one. For Thompson, he’ll have a chance to get in the mix; Uzcategui wanted a rematch with Plant next year, but Plant-Thompson is a distinct possibility now, too. Plant is set to go out on Feb. 15, facing mandatory challenger Vincent Feigenbutz.