By James Slater
On Thursday night (Jan. 10th) in Houston, Texas, local heavyweight Skipp “Strictly Business” Scott overcame two knockdowns against Trinidad’s Kertson Manswell to win his first pro title. 6′ 8″ Scott, in his first scheduled ten-rounder, prevailed by unanimous decision – scores were 93-92 X3. Now the holder of the World Boxing Federation International belt, Scott improved to 16-1(10) with his gutsy effort. Manswell of Trinidad and Tobago, two years the older man at age 36, falls to 23-7(17).
In the opening round, as he was dominating the action with his vastly superior work-rate/punch output, Scott was caught by a Manswell right hand to the head, sending the younger man down for the first time in his pro career. The knockdown may have created some drama, but this was basically the only punch Manswell threw and landed the entire round. Scott beat the count and maintained his composure.
Scott used his boxing skills, height and reach and a fast jab to win the next few rounds. Manswell continued to trudge forward, doing nothing to match the younger man’s output, until he again scored with his right in the sixth. Scott went down again, yet as before he fought back to the point where he dominated the remainder of the session.
Scott continued to work hard in out-boxing Manswell – even if there was a fair amount of holding going on in the fight from the 7th round on (Manswell, a cagey veteran, held on the ref’s blind side). Indeed, Scott was docked a point for holding in the 7th, the scores made even tighter on the three cards. The experienced Manswell looked frustrated that he couldn’t close the show, yet he was simply not throwing enough. Manswell did see his rival go down again in the 10th and final round, but the tumble was ruled a slip by referee Robert Gonzalez.
Then came the final bell and Scott was ruled a winner on all three cards. Manswell later complained that he had been robbed, but after having thrown so few punches, he has only himself to blame. Scott clearly ‘wanted’ the fight more, and he picked up his biggest win thus far.
For Scott, his first acid test now passed, the future should prove most interesting. Manager Kerry Daigle was certainly happy enough with the result, recalling how heavyweight great Joe Frazier had to pick himself up from two knockdowns against Oscar Bonavena, the early-career win proving a worthy learning fight for Joe. Scott has now experienced the same thing against Manswell and he fought back hard after each knockdown.
“Strictly Business” was all but unmarked after the ten rounds, an indication of how little he allowed Manswell to hit him. Now a belt holder, Skipp can look ahead to bigger and better things in the ring.