Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Mykal Fox: Wise Beyond His Years

By Luis A. Cortes III

To say that world ranked junior welterweight Mykal Fox (20-1) (5 KO’s) heads into his main event fight on Saturday night still needing to prove that he belongs as a ranked challenger, or that he still needs to prove that he needs to get his confidence back after a controversial loss back in February on ShoBox against Shohjahon Ergashev, means that one would simply be using boxing clich├ęs to explain just where the twenty-three-year-old talent from Maryland currently is with his career.  It also means that said person doesn’t really understand the mental makeup of the fighter known as the “Professor.”

It’s truly a moniker that fits Fox.  Fox seems to have the ability that not many young fighters who are trying to prove that they belong fighting the elite in the sport tend to have, the ability to understand just where his career is, what he needs to do to enhance his current situation, and the necessity to remain a professional throughout the entire process.  Often in so many young careers on the rise, a good-looking young challenger is willing to do what is needed of them to excel.  However, many times they tend to neglect one of the previously mentioned three phases of a young career.

“I guess it’s part of my personality.  You see guys like Tony Harrison winning a world championship, someone like Shawn Porter being a two-time world champion after two losses.  Julian Williams shocked everybody, and he came back from a devastating knockout loss to become a unified world champion.  So, after my loss we needed to build ourselves back up to the next big opportunity,” stated Fox.  “That’s what we are doing right now, with fights like this.  Staying active and fighting for the next opportunity.”

Fighting for his next opportunity is also a type of mentality that tends to elude the mental makeup of many young fighters in the modern boxing landscape.  Unfortunately, many young fighters notice what elite fighters can do with their careers to capitalize financially, but fail to realize that those elite fighters are in a position with their careers to make those type of decisions.  Fox takes nothing for granted with his career.  Including one of the most precious things that financial success can’t afford… More time. 

“Being six foot four and a southpaw.  Add to the fact that I can fight on the inside and I don’t just fold like a lawn chair.  Not too many fighters want to step up and fight me.  But I’m not going to wait outside of the ring.  I’m not going to sit around waiting for the big opportunity.  When that opportunity comes, I want to be more than ready for it, by being well prepared,” said Fox. 

What is beneficial for Fox is the fact that he fights under the Kings Promotions’ banner, which is ran by Marshall Kauffman.  Kauffman is one of the promoters in the northeast part of the country that constantly puts out a healthy schedule of fight cards.  He has also fostered great relationships with other high-level promoters to put his fighters in the right positions to enhance their careers.  This is key for a fighter like Fox as he tries to navigate the waters of being a fringe contender, yet still having the understanding that national exposure through television dates by fighting better competition is important to his overall success.  “That’s what I love about Mykal and his father.  They want to fight better opposition because they know that they are going to get better from it.  They ask me to get them better opponents after most fights,” stated Kauffman.

With just five knockout wins thus far, Fox is aware that some fans and insiders may think his style is effective in getting victories, but not in terms of excitement.  Fox takes another out look on the way he fights.  “I feel like my body is still developing, I’ll be twenty-four in October.  I’ll be getting my man strength soon.  But even when that happens, I don’t want to be one of those fighters that start always looking for the knockout.  The plan is to let the skills lead the way.  Another thing [regarding his lack of knockouts] is the level of opposition that I’ve fought.  The guys that I’ve fought don’t just fold over,” responded Fox. 

One look at his record and anyone can see that after just his first year as a professional, the level of opposition rose quickly.  His opponents may not have had the best records, but they were live bodies that came to win against Fox.  Unlike other young fighters, Fox admits that he is also a fan of the sport and doesn’t only view it as his profession.  “I make it my business to know what is going on in the division above me, my division, and the one below me.  I like to keep up with what is going on.  If I see a fighter that I never heard of in any of those divisions, I’ll look him up and learn his background because you never know.  He could be an opponent one day.”

Mykal Fox, along with his father Troy Fox, have created a solid foundation for him to achieve success.  Mentally, he shows the understanding of what it takes inside of the ring having been in tough fights against some tough opposition.  Padding Fox’s record to look good for networks so he can get television exposure is not on Team Fox’s agenda.  Working hard, staying active, remaining focused, and above all, having the patience to trust in fight plans and preparation will help Fox gain and ultimately become successful at the elite level when the opportunities presents itself is what is on Team Fox’s wise agenda.   

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