Sergey Lipinets vs Custio Clayton is a close, tactical fight that ends all square
By Bill Tibbs and John J. Raspanti
Boxing was back in Uncasville, Connecticut on Saturday night with former world lightweight champ Sergey Lipinets back in action, for the first time in over a year, looking to pick up the IBF world (interim) welterweight title against undefeated Canadian Custio Clayton, who fights out of Canada’s capital city of Ottawa, Ontario.
A win would make Lipinets, a former IBF world lightweight titleholder, a top contender to the title held by Errol Spence Jr. Clayton was stepping up to the plate for his first crack at a world title and was also in his first road bout with this being his only fight outside of Canada since turning pro in 2014. He had a lot to prove.
While Clayton was coming in with a perfect 18-0, 12 KO’s record, Lipinets (16-1, 12 KO’s) had faced the better competition with the likes of Mikey Garcia, Lamont Peterson and Lenny Zappavigna on his resume.
Lipinets (16-1-1, 12 KO’s) and Clayton (18-0-1, 12 KO’s) went 12 tactical rounds. Clayton boxed while Lipinets stalked. Neither was able to get an obvious advantage. Lipinets worked the body successfully—while Clayton’s jab was in Lipinets face. Through nine rounds Lipinets appeared to have the edge, but Clayton picked up his pace in the last three heats, sweeping the rounds on all the judges scorecards.
In the end nothing was settled, and it looks like these two might have to have a second go-round to settle things. One judge saw Clayton edging it at 115-113, while the other two were deadlocked at 114-114, 114-114 – the result a majority draw. The title remains vacant.
“I thought I won the fight, but Clayton is a good fighter," said Lipinets. "He was stronger than I thought he’d be. I haven’t fought in a year and it shows. I need to get my rhythm back in a couple of fights before I face the top level fighters.”
“I showed the world that I’m not just a guy from Canada," Clayton said. "I proved I’m a good fighter. People will have to respect me a little bit more. If Lipinets wants the rematch for the interim title, we should be able to make that happen.”
-Unbeaten Xavier Martinez (16-0, 11 KO’s), knocked down for the first time in his career, got up and rallied to win a 12-round unanimous decision over (former WBA interim champion) Claudio “The Matrix” Marrero (24-5, 17 KO’s).
Scores were 115-111 and 114-112 twice.
The fight was a see-saw battle until Marrero floored Martinez twice in round eight. The still undefeated fighter was shocked.
“To be honest, it was weird when I got knocked down," said Martinez. "I just said, ’Let’s get back up.’ Losing wasn’t on my mind. I just thought I have to get up. I’m not happy I went down but it’s all an experience. A lot of guys wouldn’t have fought Claudio. He was tough. But I rose to the occasion and I proved something to myself.”
Marrero, who out landed Martinez 161-128, felt the decision went to the wrong fighter.
“I feel like it was a bad decision," Marrero said. "I don’t think the judges took into account all the hard work I did in the ring. I fought smart and I put pressure on him. He hits hard, but I recovered quickly. I felt like I won the fight.”
-Knockout artists Subriel Matias (16-1, 16 KO’s) stopped Malik “Iceman” Hawkins (18-1, 11 KOs) a second into the seventh round.
Hawkins won the first round with some slick boxing. He didn’t win another. Matias smiled after round two as if to say, ‘It’s only a matter of time.” He was right. Matias stalked and rocked, nailing Hawkins with hard jabs and hooks to the head and body. Hawkins tried to hang in, but couldn’t stop the aggressive Matias – who walked after him with his arms dangling at his sides.
“Malik didn’t have the power to hurt me. In the first round, I knew that,” said Matias.”And that’s when I kept moving forward and starting hurting him in the body. That’s what I kept doing, just going to the body.”