The loss stung, hard.
It looked to me like Alantez Fox didn’t have it from second one against Liam Williams on Saturday in England, in a battle of WBO top ten middleweights.
“I’m ashamed of that performance,” Fox said hours after the battle, which saw Williams getting a stoppage win, in round five.
The bout screened on ESPN+, and was a support battle for the main event, Daniel Dubois versus fellow heavyweight Kyotaro Fujimoto.
Boxing can be such an unforgiving sport. You train your tail off, fueled by the optimism of future triumphs, and the possibility of an uptick in fortune and fame. Maybe camp went real well, and then, on fight night, it just isn’t there. The energy, the snap, the fire…They did a disappearing, and how frustrating is that to the athlete?
OK…so what was it…did he overtrain?
I don’t think it was over training,” said Fox, age 27, who was rated No. 1 by the WBO, and craved a rematch with WBO champ Demetrius Andrade. “I may have lost weight a little too fast. I wasn’t at my best while Williams was. I felt just as terrible as I looked.”
So, it looked like he couldn’t move like he wanted to. Did his limbs, on that 6-4 body, feel leaden?
“Entire body felt that way. I was seeing the shots and eating them on the chin all the time,” said Fox, who was joined in England by his father/trainer Troy and brother Mykal, a welterweight contender. “I was thinking “slip, counter, slide out. Nothing was coming to fruition. I was too small. I was small. I got on the scale and was 176 coming back in my room. I don’t know the last time I weighed that walking into a fight. He definitely seemed stronger than I could be. I’m typically much stronger and have more gas. I was drained from the weight cut. No excuse but we have a system in place for a reason.” He didn’t do a pre-fight weigh in, and those are helpful to a fighter to force them to pare down over a sensible time frame. “Typically going into the ring I’d have been about 180-182 pounds. The country doesn’t sell Gatorade or Body Armor,” he continued, chuckling.
“Coming back after the fight I might’ve been 178. My brother 2 (below, middle, dad Troy on the left, Alantez on the right) said the same thing. I didn’t look the same. I didn’t look big enough.”
Yes, walking to ring, Alantez (now 26-2-1, with 12 KOs) didn’t feel like his best version.
“I felt a little bit off. I love this shit. I just thought I could push through whatever it was eating me,” he said. “I think I was just dehydrated and not there. My dad said the same thing. He told me he should’ve stopped it earlier because I didn’t look at all there. Or normal, actually. He told me I looked too drained.”
Fair to say fighting in England didn't infuse Alantez with a security that comes with being in a more familiar atmosphere. “My dad wanted to stop the fight earlier but wasn’t sure that you could throw the towel in, because here you can’t.”
On Sunday, he watched the fight on video. “Just watched it,” he reported. “My bad habit caught up with me, of not keeping my damn left up. I just felt like I was tired enough in that fifth round that it looked like it was the 12th. That wasn’t from him more than it was from me I believe. Dehydration. I wasn’t looking like me at all in there and I didn’t feel like me either. Also that elbow he caught me with was crazy. Man, it’s hard to think about or watch but what can I say?”
And so, time to look forward, mostly. It's the holiday season, after all. And will Alantez be able to summon up some good cheer?
“Of course man. That ass whipping wasn’t for free and what I know is people will want to fight me,” he said with a smile. He might hit his cousin's joint for her annual Christmas Eve party, he reported. And what's the bottom line, on Christmas Eve, then?
“We have and have had world champions that’ve been knocked out before,” Alantez said. “I won’t be stopping at all. You can quote me on that!”