EXCLUSIVE: Mykal Fox moving on, won’t accept WBA rematch order

Mykal Fox

Sean Michael Ham

LAS VEGAS – Welterweight Mykal Fox will not face Gabriel Maestre in a rematch despite the WBA ordering one in the wake of Maestre being awarded a massively controversial decision on Aug. 7. Fox is moving on, Marshall Kauffman, his promoter, told World Boxing News on Thursday.

Maestre claimed the WBA’s vacant interim welterweight title via a shocking unanimous decision against Fox on a Premier Boxing Champions card televised on the Fox network from Minneapolis.

Fox, a short-notice opponent for Cody Crowley, who had come down with Covid-19, scored a clean knockdown in the second round and appeared to dominate virtually every round of the bout. Fox Sports’ unofficial scorer, Marcos Villegas, had Fox winning 11 of the 12 rounds.

However, judge Gloria Martinez Rizzo had a mind-boggling 117-110 scorecard in favor of Maestre, while judges John Mariano (115-112) and David Sing (114-113) also had it for Fox.

The result caused such an outrage among boxing fans and media that the WBA stripped Maestre (4-0, 3 KOs), 34, a two-time Venezuelan Olympian, of the interim title and ordered an immediate rematch. It also asked the Minnesota commission to change the result to a no-decision, although that seems to be a long shot.

The WBA also suspended Rizzo indefinitely, though not for her outrageous scorecard but because she was discovered to have posted multiple racist posts toward Blacks, namely Michelle Obama and LeBron James, in 2020 to her now-deleted Twitter account; Fox is Black.

“They ordered the rematch, but Fox’s father, Troy Fox, who is his trainer, said we don’t feel that is the right fight for us because what do we have to gain? We already beat him,” said Kauffman, who is in Las Vegas for Saturday’s Manny Pacquiao-Yordenis Ugas welterweight world title fight. “We want to move on to bigger and better things. And there are guys at the top of the list like Eimantas Stanionis and other guys in that division at 147 that we’d rather fight. Mykal feels the same way.”

MYKAL FOX SHOCK

Kauffman said Fox (22-3, 5 KOs), 25, of Upper Marlboro, Maryland, was utterly shocked by the decision.

“He couldn’t believe that it was such a crime like it was because it was a crime,” Kauffman said. “He felt he performed at the highest level, looked very good in the fight, and then for them to turn it over the way they did – and not just one judge. Say what you want about 117-110, but all three judges scored it the opposite way, so it wasn’t good. Mykal felt bad about it. I felt like he deserved better than that, and he’s going to get better than that.”

Mykal Fox Maestre
Sean Michael Ham

Despite suffering an official loss, Kauffman said the silver lining is that Fox got a lot of positive publicity from his performance and the controversy.

“I think Mykal got more publicity from that fight than if he would have beaten Manny Pacquiao,” Kauffman said. “He got a lot of publicity from that fight. A lot of people got to see Mykal, and a lot of people saw him win that fight and went to bat for him, and we really appreciate that.”
The amount of fire the WBA has been under over the result of the bout has led the sanctioning body to promise that it would work to reduce the number of titles it hands out, so there are not multiple world titleholders in the same weight class.

WBA INTERIM

Kauffman said that was another reason why Fox had no need for the rematch with Maestre. “They’re supposedly getting rid of all the interim titles, so why even fight for it again,” Kauffman said.

They would rather turn their attention to Stanionis (13-0, 9 KOs), 27, a 2016 Lithuanian Olympian, and a top prospect. He is coming off a fourth-round no-decision against former welterweight world titlist Luis Collazo in the main event of the Aug. 7 PBC on Fox card. The fight ended when an accidental head butt left Collazo with a bad cut over his right eye and unable to continue.

“There’s been discussions about fighting Stanionis and a couple of other guys as well, but (Stanionis) is the guy we’d like to fight,” Kauffman said, adding the timeframe for the fight would be October. “We wanted to fight Stanionis before, but the fight with Maestre was the right fight for Mykal to get back in the ring, and it was perfect because it was on national TV. So, we’d love to fight Stanionis. He’s tough, but Mykal has the ability and the style, and, as you know, styles make fights. I think Mykal has the style to beat a whole lot of guys who are flat-footed punchers.”

Dan Rafael is the lead boxing contributor for World Boxing News. Follow Dan on Twitter @DanRafael1. Dan Rafael is a full member of the Boxing Writers Association of America.