ATLANTIC CITY, JUNE 25 -- Sunglasses are likely to be the mainstay of Andrew Maynard's wardrobe for the next few days but the young light heavyweight, in the aftermath of Sunday's knockout loss to Bobby Czyz, said he is willing to accept that in exchange for some long-term benefits.
"All things considered, I think I did a good job," he said today of his first defeat in 13 professional bouts. "I'm learning; there was a lot of pressure on me and I handled it."
Part of the pressure for the Laurel, Md., resident came from fighting against a more experienced boxer with three times as many bouts, as well as the knowledge that a victory by Maynard probably would have brought a title fight against the winner of a July bout between Jeff Harding and Dennis Andries.
Those hopes were dashed 42 seconds into the seventh round. Czyz (36-5) connected first with a right that staggered Maynard, then he knocked down the 1988 Olympic gold medalist with an overhead left that Maynard couldn't see, because his right eye was swelled shut from the pounding it had taken earlier in the fight.
After the knockdown Maynard quickly rose to one knee. He thought he was up before the end of the 10-count but referee Frank Cappuccino said he delivered the full count. This morning, Maynard admitted that the last thing that he remembered was Cappuccino saying the number seven.
"I thought I had gotten up then but it might have taken me longer than I thought," he said.
Maynard's facial swelling (there was a huge knot just outside his left eye as well) began after a second-round head butt between the fighters and foiled what he and trainer Jose "Pepe" Correa thought would be an effective plan to defeat Czyz.
During his amateur career and early days as a pro, Maynard has become labeled as a brawler, with little regard for boxing skills. At the start of Sunday's fight, however, he was content to lay back and flick jabs at the shorter Czyz.
"That was what we wanted to do; we felt he would be expecting me to come right after him but we wanted to frustrate him, make him miss with a lot of punches," Maynard said. "The plan was that from the seventh round on we would press the issue and go after him because he'd be tired by then and might make a mistake."
But Czyz scored early with some combinations from short range, and Maynard's face started to swell, reducing his vision. There came a point when it became obvious that Maynard would have to press more in order to score but he couldn't really see well enough to do it, and, he said today, even when he tried, the effort didn't feel quite right.
"I think what happened was when I was training everyone was concerned about putting pressure on me," he said. "Everyone kept telling me, 'Relax, relax.' That was the game plan, for me to be relaxed.
"And I was, I was being patient, just waiting for Pepe to tell me to let loose, but when I tried to get it going it felt like my punches were moving in slow motion."
The prefight strategy may have been contrary to Maynard's personal wishes or nature, but he is willing to accept the results if it will further his development..
"Somebody like Bobby Czyz has been through things like this nine or 10 times; this was only my second time going through it," he said, refering to a hard fought 12-round victory over Mike Sedilo that brought him the North American Boxing Federation title in April.
"I'm 26 years old and I'm used to doing things in a certain way but you can't always do that at this level. It's hard sometimes trying to do this when you're used to doing that but, hey, it really is a learning experience."