Upshaw and Fort fought September 9, 2011 in Tampa, Florida. The fight somehow ended in a six-round split draw with Upshaw winning on two of three judges’ scorecards (58-56, 58-56) with the other a draw (57-57).
"I won the fight, two of the judges had me winning, but I guess they didn’t want to give him (Fort) his first loss and it was called a draw," Upshaw said. "It’s just going to be me and him in the ring and this time it isn’t going to go the distance. I should have gotten him out the last time. I don’t know why I didn’t win a split decision.
"He’s a brawler. If you keep popping him in the face, he will ’nut up.’ If you let him get off, he’ll back you up and get his rhythm. He fights like (Marco Antonio) Rubio (Upshaw lost to Rubio in his last fight by 12-round unanimous decision on March 23 in Mexico) but Rubio is a lot better and more technical. I’m going to keep doing my thing - fighting anybody, anywhere - and showing my character."
Fort lost his unbeaten record in his last fight, dropping an eight-round decision last April to 15-1 John Jackson in Atlantic City. "He’s coming off a loss like me," Upshaw noted, "but the difference is I’ve stepped up my game in the last two years and he hasn’t. He hasn’t beaten anybody and the only good fighter he faced was Jackson who out-boxed him.
"If Fort has improved in the last two years, it’s only a little bit, and I just went 12 hard rounds with Rubio. Fort doesn’t have a jab or counter, and he loops his right hand. He may be a little better but he ain’t beating me Saturday night. I’ve been working hard in the gym every day and was already at 158 last week for our fight at 160."
In 2001, Upshaw derailed 19-1 James McGirt’s rise to the top with a controversial 10-round majority draw, in which most fans felt Upshaw should have won. Two fights later, he upset 10-0 prospect Ashandi Gibbs (10-0) by way of a fourth-round technical knockout for the Florida State middleweight championship. Upshaw traveled to Quebec City in 2010 and registered his most significant victory to date, a startling 10-round decision over 21-1-1 local hero Renan St. Juste in his opponent’s backyard, pushing Upshaw up in the world ratings (IBF #6, WBO #9, WBC #11) at that time.
Two fights ago, Upshaw traveled to Connecticut and stopped local favorite Vladine Biosse (14-1-1) in the eighth round.
"Marcus is one of those fighters who can’t be judged by his record," his manager Si Stern added. "He was terribly mismanaged earlier in his career but I’ve been with him the last four years and we eventually got him on the right track. Marcus is a very good fighter who can give any middleweight in the world a tough fight."
Upshaw has rich athletic bloodlines. His uncle, the late Gene Upshaw, was an NFL Hall of Fame offensive guard for the Oakland Raiders; younger sister, Antonette, played professional basketball in the WNBA and Europe; his brother Harry III played pro basketball in Italy.
The upset specialist in on the road again but this time to complete some unfinished business.
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