It would’ve been tough to blame anyone within the fighting Fox family for not wanting to set foot in the state of Minnesota again, let alone in the same Armory boxing ring where Mykal Fox was the victim of one of the most reprehensible scoring scandals in this sport’s recent history.
Mykal Fox forgives those that wronged him the night of August 7, though. The way Mykal, his older brother, Alantez, and their father/trainer, Troy, approached Alantez’s fight against David Morrell Jr. on Saturday night is that they were willing to go wherever was necessary for Alantez’s potentially career-changing opportunity.
As usual, Mykal will work his brother’s corner during the main event of a “FOX PBC Fight Night” broadcast from Minneapolis. Mykal has kept the focus since they arrived in town Wednesday, however, on Alantez’s fight, not his infamous loss to Gabriel Maestre four months ago.
“As far as coming back out here, my perspective has been just this is Tez’s fight, his opportunity,” Mykal Fox told BoxingScene.com. “We’ll just have to hope that the sport does right by him. I still look back on my own situation like something good came of it, you know, a lot more notoriety, my followers on social media went up, I did about a hundred interviews between August and September.
“So, my name’s out there. I try to look at the positive side of it for me. But I’m not trying to bring any negative energy, any skepticism to Alantez Fox’s opportunity. This is his opportunity. He has to make the most of it.”
Mykal Fox’s positive approach aside, there are obvious parallels between Mykal’s dubious defeat to Maestre and Alantez’s shot at Morrell. The Cuban-born Morrell clearly is better than Venezuela’s Maestre, yet they both were fast-tracked to WBA secondary title bouts before either fighter had four professional fights in the 168-pound and 147-pound divisions, respectively.
The 23-year-old Morrell is a strong southpaw who knocked out previously undefeated Mario Cazares (12-1, 5 KOs) in the first round of his last bout. Morrell (5-0, 4 KOs) has been promoted as a future star, but Mykal Fox feels he is prone to be upset by Alantez Fox (28-2-1, 13 KOs, 1 NC) in the featured fight of a three-bout broadcast scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. ET and 5 p.m. PT.
“I think [Alantez’s] chances are very good,” Mykal said. “I mean, David Morrell, he’s making a lot of noise and everything, but there’s no amount of money that can buy experience. I think Alantez Fox is the best fighter he’s gonna have been in with. And at the pro level, he’s gonna find out that the pro game is a different monster.”
Mykal taught Maestre that lesson fairly obviously in their 12-round fight for the then-vacant WBA interim welterweight title. He picked apart his inexperienced opponent and should’ve been rewarded for seemingly winning at least nine rounds.
Judge Gloria Martinez Rizzo ridiculously scored Maestre a 117-110 winner, which almost made Adalaide Byrd’s absurd scorecard from the first Canelo Alvarez-Gennadiy Golovkin fight appear reasonable. The two other judges, Minnesota’s John Mariano (115-112) and Panama’s David Singh (114-113), strangely scored a fight Fox undoubtedly won for Maestre as well.
The WBA suspended Florida’s Martinez Rizzo for six months for her controversial scorecard and racist Tweets from her since-deleted personal account in 2020. The WBA itself received long overdue admonishment from the Association of Boxing Commissions for its process of recommending officials and other unscrupulous practices.
The WBA subsequently eliminated all of its interim titles, which confusingly created as many as four WBA champions in many of boxing’s 17 weight classes.
Others questioned WBA president Gilberto Mendoza’s cozy relationship with Maestre, a two-time Olympian for Venezuela, where the WBA was once based. Mendoza denied that he has any vested interest in Maestre’s career in a Yahoo! Sports story written by Kevin Iole.
The result of the fight between Maestre (4-0, 3 KOs) and Fox (22-3, 5 KOs) wasn’t changed to a no-contest, as requested by Fox’s team.
The Minnesota Office of Combative Sports again assigned officials for this WBA championship bout between Morrell and Alantez Fox. The WBA, now based in Panama, recommended Martinez Rizzo to judge the Maestre-Fox fight and another pool of officials for Morrell-Fox.
Whereas the judges for Maestre-Fox were from Florida, Minnesota and Panama, Pennsylvania’s Lynne Carter, Nevada’s Tim Cheatham and Texas’ Jesse Reyes will work the Morrell-Fox fight.
Alantez Fox’s detractors doubt their scorecards will matter, based largely on Fox’s one-sided, fifth-round, technical-knockout loss to Wales’ Liam Williams in a middleweight match that took place in December 2019 at Copper Box Arena in London.
Mykal Fox feels his 6-feet-4 brother has been a different fighter since he moved up from the middleweight limit of 160 pounds to the super middleweight maximum of 168 last year. He also has seen flaws in Morrell’s game he believes his brother can exploit.
“Morrell seems like he likes all action, but I think that leaves some chances for him to be countered,” Mykal Fox said. “We’ll try to use his aggression against him. He hasn’t been in with anyone who can make him pay for his mistakes. I think that’s gonna be the difference in who he’s faced up until now. Alantez Fox has a lot of experience, so we’ll be looking to use that experience against him.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.