At 6'5" and with a 79-inch reach, undefeated 20-year-old junior middleweight Alantez “SlyAza” Fox (8-0-1, 4KO's) certainly appears to have a bright future ahead of him.
A veteran of nearly 200 amateur fights, Fox has the amateur pedigree needed to become a champion. Many have compared the Forestville, Md., fighter to former titleholder Paul Williams because of their similarities in height, but according to Fox that is where the likeness stops.
“Paul’s style is almost like the complete opposite of mine,” Fox said. “He throws a lot of punches and he would give up his height a little bit, but all in all he was working and kept working, and I like that.
“Me, I am more tactical, I like to box and make it look a little more pretty, a little more flashy.”
Fox has no problem mixing it up on the inside if that what the fights calls for, but he would prefer to box from the outside.
“I am 6’5" and I have a 79-inch reach,” Fox said. “I got a pretty good inside game, but I am going to keep boxing, keep turning and keep moving.”
Because of his unique physical attributes, Fox, much like Williams throughout his career, hasn’t had the easiest time finding opponents. He has only had nine fights since turning pro at the age of 18 in July 2010.
Early in a boxer’s career, especially when they aren’t signed with a big promoter, it is oftentimes hard to find opponents, but for a fighter like Fox it’s proven especially difficult.
Since signing with promoter Mario Yagobi and his company Boxing 360, Fox hasn't had those issues and plans to be fighting roughly every six weeks in 2013.
“It was a challenge (to find opponents) at first because of my height and the weight I am,” Fox said. “The guy I am about to fight, Julius Kennedy, he’s 5’8"; I know he probably looked and saw this kid is 6’5", that’s ridiculous.”
While most guys with less than 10 fights are fighting pushovers, Fox’s opponent this weekend, Julius Kennedy, isn’t exactly a tomato can.
Kennedy has a win over Aaron Pryor Jr. and sports a 7-2-1 record with 3 knockouts coming into this Saturday’s fight at Rosecroft Raceway in Fort Washington, MD., and has gone 10 rounds twice in his career.
“From what I heard he’s pretty much a pressure fighter,” Fox said. “I know he’s fought 10 rounds so this six-round fight probably isn’t anything.”
Fox should be able to use his superior height and speed to overcome his much smaller opponent and when he does, expect to see him back in action probably some time in February or March.
Although it is too early to anoint him the future of the junior middleweight division, I suspect this is just the beginning of what could be very successful career.
Michael Walters is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained firsthand.