Malik Scott wants to make sure that nobody mistakes his pad work with the flashy yet ineffective variety that racks up likes and retweets. (photo by Ryan Hafey)

In recent months, the former heavyweight and current trainer has popped up on social media feeds working the mitts with his top client, former heavyweight titleholder Deontay Wilder. The videos have prompted some critics to point out that the boxing staple would not help Wilder (42-1-1, 41 KOs) in his forthcoming third rematch against Tyson Fury (30-0-1, 21 KOs), pencilled in for Oct. 9 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. (The fight was rescheduled from the original date on July 24 after Fury tested positive for Covid-19). 

Pad work is a boxing staple, but many coaches and pundits (particularly of the older generation) have criticized the practice for being all flash and no substance, with no real utility in an actual fight. Scott understands the philosophical disagreements regarding the drill but stressed that his version with Wilder is strictly functional. 

“We’re living in the mitt era where everyone is doing mitts and looking good on mitts,” Scott said on The PBC Podcast. “In my opinion everybody doesn’t look good on mitts though. Everyone is just looking like copy cats, throwing a bunch of punches and slipping and dipping. That right there fakes the consumer out that doesn’t really know much about boxing but they see something that looks good and they think it is.

“Me and Deontay’s pad work is not fabricated pad work at all. We’re not looking like Roger and Floyd Mayweather on the pads. We’re doing sufficient combinations that he has done before, we’re just doing it more consistent, more sharper, more surgical mindset behind it, and we’re just doing that and working.”

Mayweather, in addition to his Hall of Fame credentials, is famous for producing aesthetically pleasing, rapid-fire combinations on the mitts with his late uncle Roger, which has inspired the practice habits of an entire generation of hobbyist-boxers and professionals. Scott, however, says Wilder’s size and power call for a more measured method.   

“I don’t have Deontay throwing 18 punch combinations, four pivots, 18 slips – that’s not what I’m doing, that’s not what we’re doing,” Scott said. “I have him doing sufficient things that he actually does in fights. I just have him doing it more because he is going to do it more when he is in the trilogy with Tyson Fury. You get what I’m trying to say?

“Nothing about our work is fabricated. Number one, Deontay doesn’t really like all the fabricated pad work. He’s not that kind of fighter. And me as a trainer and being a student of the game, I know the kind of fighter that I’m training. I’m not training a welterweight. I’m not training someone that has 200 punch output in a round. No, I’m training the most dangerous puncher in the history of the sport. His one punch is equivalent to most people’s 10 punches. His two punches are equivalent to most people’s 13 punches. If I have Deontay on a four punch combination, that’s realistic, because there are times he’s throwing four, five, six-punch combinations.”