The pushes, and they need to be PUSHES, it needs to be a concerted effort, are coming from the left and east coast. They are coming from major league power players. Arguably, no bigger titan of industry to push some chips in to gamble on women’s boxing in the US is Bob Arum, who turned 86 today, and has been promoting prizefights since 1966.
His Top Rank has spent on some chips to play in a not wickedly robust women’s boxing scene. Claressa Shields has been making baby steps up the ladder, and that’s no small feat being that we have to g back to Laila Ali’s time on the stage to find a period when women’s boxing was consistently getting decent ink. But Top Rank has tapped Californian Mikaela Mayer, who was on the 2016 US Olympic squad, and will on Saturday night, show off her skills and the traits that have Arum and company betting that she will be in the top of the heap when and if this nascent movement gets to a more fruitful place.
Mayer–you will learn how to pronounce her last name, if nothing else– took part in a media workout in NYC to help hype the Saturday card, postions of which will run on ESPN, from the Madison Square Garden Theater. The main event pits Vasyl Lomachenko, an assaultive Astaire who gets angles on foes and then hits them with punches they have no hope of seeing, against fellow gold (medal) collector Guillermo Rigondeaux, fighting with a chip on each shoulder after being dissed and dismissed by some media bigwigs, like Dan Rafael. He carped on Rigo’s lack of fan appeal and the fighter saw himself battling a “boring” tag. Rigo, 37, maybe past his athletic peak to the point that Loma could conceivably steamroll him, leveraging a widening gap in athleticism, wants to show those naysayers they were wrong and make them eat their words, which may indeed have taken hundreds of thousands if not millions from his pocket.
I chatted with the 2-0 Mayer, who told me about her plan to fight 9-8 Nydia Feliciano, in a no nonsense manner, acceptably charming but clearly someone who knows that THIS, taking repetitive queries from fightwriters and videographers, is part and parcel of the grind to elevate one’s public profile.
Check out what the lightweight, repping Everlast gear, told us about where she comes from, and where she plans to go, professionally.