Nikki Bascome says his devastating defeat by heavy-handed Fabio Costa is a “wake-up call” and must now make significant changes to rebuild his career.
Bascome suffered his first loss as a professional after being bludgeoned to the canvas by the Portuguese in the fourth round of their dramatic six-round contest on Saturday.
It was a vicious three-punch combination that separated Bascome from his senses and stunned those in attendance at a packed Poinciana Ballroom at the Fairmont Southampton.
“I’m sorry I let everybody down; I gave it my best,” Bascome said. “It was a shot I didn’t see and all credit goes to Fabio and his camp. He caught me clean and I don’t even remember what happened.”
The 27-year-old believes Costa’s power punching exposed some serious flaws in his game plan and he must now strengthen his team before a potential return to the ring in February.
“This is a wake-up call for me, as far as I have to go back to the drawing board and change some things,” Bascome said. “I feel I have to get my team stronger.
“Not pointing fingers at anybody, but I feel that as a professional I don’t get the attention I need all around the board, technically.
“I’m at a point in my career where I’m fighting top-level guys and everyone in my team needs to be on the same page as me.”
Costa looked far more muscular than Bascome; not surprising given that he had dropped from 154lb to 147lb to meet the Bermudian at the welterweight limit.
Against a naturally bigger man, Bascome needed to fight in a more calculated fashion, but admits that he was far too willing to trade blows at close quarters.
“I should have stuck to boxing, I’m a boxer, that’s my strong point,” said Bascome, who believes his future could lie in the 140lb super lightweight division.
“But I wanted to trade and paid for it. On top of that, he’s coming down from 154lb and he’s probably 165 right now. That made a big difference.
“I definitely felt his power compared to the guys I normally fight at 147.”
Bascome intends to make subtle alterations to his fighting style after acknowledging that his defensive deficiencies were ruthlessly exposed.
He also ruled out a rematch with Costa, believing it would be career suicide to try to avenge his loss.
“Is that a smart decision right now? I don’t think so because he’s naturally a 154-pounder. Coming down [a weight division], he would always have that advantage.
“I definitely need to make some changes from a training aspect. I need to go away and work on my defence. I was getting hit with too many shots.”
With his partner about to give birth to their first child, Bascome said he will take a short break from boxing.
“I’ve got a baby on the way and I’m just going to relax and wait for the blessings to come and see where my career goes from there,” he added.
Allan “Forty” Rego, Bascome’s long-time trainer, said he was unsure whether Bascome will be able to bounce back from such a brutal knockout.
“I don’t know — I mean, he’s got so many things going on,” Rego said. “Nikki’s confidence was so high and everything. I don’t know if he can bounce back.
“Boxing is not easy and there are a lot of sacrifices you need to make. As much as you want to come back, you may not be able to.”