Mykal Fox gets Big Opportunity in Ring Return
After being a victim of some of the most corrupt judging the sport has seen in recent years, Welterweight Contender “The Professor” Mykal Fox (22-3, 5 KOs) will be making his highly anticipated ring return against Former Title Challenger Egidijus “Mean Machine” Kavaliauskas (22-2-1, 18 KOs) this Saturday night. This is a great opportunity for both fighters, with the winner reasserting himself as a legit contender in the loaded 147lb division. This fight has hardcore boxing fans excited since it is a fascinating clash of styles between two talented fighters.
Kavaliauskas got a crack at a world title in December of 2019, when he squared off against WBO Welterweight Champion and Pound for Pound Elite Terence Crawford (38-0, 29 KOs). Kavaliauskas fought well early on and was able to take some rounds from the champ, but ended up getting figured out and stopped in the ninth round of the contest. After a rebound victory against Mikael Zewski (35-3, 23 KOs), Kavaliauskas then faced another elite welterweight when he was matched up with one of Golden Boy’s top up and comers, Vergil Ortiz Jr (19-0, 19 KOs). Similar to the Crawford fight, Kavaliauskas tested the young Ortiz early but came up short losing the fight by an eighth round TKO. Kavaliauskas proved that even in losing efforts he c,an compete with the elite in the division; and, he is hoping that with a victory this weekend he will be right back in that world title picture.
Mykal Fox was last in the ring on August 7, 2021 when he fought former 2x Venezuelan Olympian Gabriel Maestre (4-0-1, 3 KOs) for the interim WBA World Welterweight Title. After a feel out round one, Fox started to have more success in round two. Less than ten seconds into the round, Fox landed a sharp counter left hand that caught Maestre on his way in and sent him to the canvas. He would survive the count, but had minimal success getting on the inside of Fox’s reach for the remainder of the fight. I personally scored the fight 117-110 for Mykal Fox, meaning that including the knockdown I had him clearly winning nine out of the twelve rounds. This should have been a career altering victory for Fox, as he thoroughly outboxed an elite amateur and picked up an interim world title in the process.
Unfortunately boxing tends to have its controversial moments from time to time, and this fight was no exception. Maestre was awarded the unanimous decision victory, with one judge having the score as wide as 117-110 Maestre (meaning Maestre won 10 out of the 12 rounds on that card with the knockdown). That judge was Gloria Martinez Rizzo, who was suspended by the WBA post fight for not only her horrific scorecard, but because of some racist tweets she had posted in the past that had been brought to light.
It should not have taken this long for Fox to get another opportunity, but now that we are here it is good to see him back in the ring. Being a 6’4″ southpaw welterweight with an 81″ reach, Fox has an abnormal build that is must see TV whenever he is in action. His style is not one that is easy to beat by any means, and I am sure that many promoters have steered their fighters away from an opponent like Fox and will continue to if they have the chance. This is such a great matchup for hardcore fans because they get a guy like Fox who has been avoided and screwed over by the sport, finally getting an opportunity against a guy who has been competitive with the top of the division and is a legit contender.
The welterweight division is arguably the most talented division in the sport, especially on the PBC side where there are a slew of contenders that the winner of this fight can be matched with in the future. Those possible opponents include young contenders such as: Jaron Ennis (29-0, 27 KOs), Eimantas Stanionis (13-0, 9 KOs), Cody Crowley (21-0, 9 KOs), Radzhab Butaev (14-1, 10 KOs), and the newly signed to the PBC Rashidi Ellis (24-0, 15 KOs). There are also a number of veterans who are promotionally aligned with PBC that could look to fight the winner, including former champions Keith Thurman (30-1, 22 KOs) and Yordenis Ugas (27-5, 12 KOs).
This fight is on the undercard of the interim WBC Super Welterweight Title matchup between Sebastian Fundora (19-0-1, 13 KOs) and Carlos Ocampo (34-1, 22 KOs), which takes place at the Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California. Fundora is red hot coming off of a stoppage victory over fellow top contender Erickson Lubin (24-2, 17 KOs), and hopes to make another statement as he headlines a card in his home state of California. Ocampo got a title opportunity at 147lbs in 2018, but was stopped in the first round by now Unified Champion Errol Spence Jr (28-0, 22 KOs). Ocampo has won twelve fights in a row since the defeat and has looked stronger since moving up in weight, but he has beaten mostly lackluster opposition in Mexico, and Fundora will be a major step up in competition for him. The regular broadcast will be aired on Showtime on Saturday night, with the Fox vs Kavaliauskas bout preceding the main telecast and will be available for free on Showtime Boxing’s YouTube channel. Though I wish this fight was on network TV, I have to applaud the efforts of the PBC to make this fight accessible to the public because there are many boxing fans who are anticipating this showdown.