By Jake Donovan
One common theme in each of Thomas Mattice’s four appearances on Showtime’s ShoBox series is his being a notorious slow starter.
This time, it caught up to the Cleveland-bred lightweight, who suffered his first loss as he was outworked by Will Madera over eight rounds Friday evening at Main Street Armory in Rochester, New York.
Scores were 78-74 and 77-75 (twice) all in favor of Madera in the co-feature attraction of Showtime’s Shobox telecast.
Albany’s Madera opened up like a boxer who had his opponent well-scouted. While Mattice struggled to find his rhythm, Madera employed a steady and active attack, working well behind the jab and letting his hands go in taking advantage of his opponent’s in-ring inactivity.
The same pattern held true over the next couple of rounds, although Mattice began closing the gap in round three before getting tagged late in the frame. Madera never showed any fear, continuing to come forward and outworking the favored Mattice in nearly every round.
It was well reflected on the scorecards, with Madera sweeping the opening three frames.
Mattice ultimately threw more punches over the course of the contest (690 to 523), but Madera landed more (150 to 124) and at a much higher connect percentage (28% to 20%).
The final three rounds was where Mattice made up the most ground, but was too far in a hole by then to preserve his unbeaten record. Mattice has his best technical round of the night in the 6th, using lateral movement and a consistent jab to keep Madera off-rhythm.
The damage was already done by that point, but Madera refused to rest on his early lead. The 28-year old Albany product outworked Mattice enough to take rounds seven and eight on two of the three scorecards to preserve victory.
Madera improves to 13-0-2 (6KOs) with the win, by far the most impressive of his young career as he stepped way up in class for this contest.
Mattice suffers his first career loss, falling to 13-1-1 (10KOs). Shobox regulars will argue that moment should’ve come a year ago, when many considered him fortunate to escape with a split decision win over Zhora Hamazaryan. Ironically, Mattice was forced to settle for a draw in their rematch last September, where most felt he deserved to win.