At The Armory in Minneapolis, two-time Venezuelan Olympian Gabriel Maestre (4-0, 3 KOs) won a highly controversial unanimous decision over Mykal Fox (22-3, 5 KOs) to capture the interim-WBA welterweight title.
Maestre was able to recover from an early knockdown in round two that Fox scored with a blistering counter left hand that Maestre never saw coming.
"When I was knocked down, I didn't see the punch coming,” said Maestre. “He didn't really hurt me though so it was no problem to get up and keep going.”
From that point, the much taller Fox used his physical advantages with a lot of movement - which frustrated Maestre and forced him to chase after Fox for the majority of the fight.
Maestre was trying to land lot of big punches, but many of them were missing.
Fox, who held an overall edge in punches landed with 157 to 131, was connecting with short scoring blows. He also had the edge in workrate, by throwing 712 to 524.
However, even with a knockdown and what seemed to be a boxing clinic in several of the rounds, the three official judges sided with Maestre.
The scores were 114-113, 115-112 and 117-110.
Maestre admits he may have underestimated the abilities of Fox, who took the fight on very late notice.
"The strategy was just to keep fighting him for 12 rounds,” said Maestre. “I just wanted to stay close to him and make sure I kept throwing punches. Fox definitely surprised me. He was a very good boxer. I think the key was that I was throwing multiple punches and combinations. That was the strategy from start to finish.”
According to Maestre, he's willing to have a rematch with Fox.
"Fox fought very well and he deserves a rematch,” said Maestre. “It was a very close fight. If my team says that's what they want, I'll be ready to fight him again."