Lawrence Lustig, BOXXER
Label it however you want, but to these eyes Mikaela Mayer should've had her hands raised in victory over Natasha Jonas this past Saturday at the Echo Arena in Liverpool. She should have the IBF welterweight title around her waist, but unfortunately as the foreign fighter in someone else's backyard, that simply wasn't going to happen.
After 10 hard fought rounds, Jonas retained her belt by the scores of 96-95, 93-97 and 96-94. But while this was a split verdict, the overwhelming majority of fellow prizefighters, pundits and observers had Mayer winning.
Lawrence Lustig, BOXXER
This isn't to take away from the fine effort of Jonas, but she did not win that fight in the publics eye. For those of you who disagree, ask yourself this: if this contest had taken place in Las Vegas and not Liverpool, do you really think Jonas would've been given that decision?
From my vantage point on ESPN+ the fight was pretty even through five stanzas. 3-2 either way, but it was the second half of the proceedings where Mayer took over with her long right hand, and some well-placed body shots that had Jonas clutching at her liberally. I felt she won at least four of the last five rounds. My personal scorecard read 97-93 Mayer.
Fortunately for Jonas, my tally is anything but official, and she remains the champion.
Jonas said, “I had a good start. I landed harder and cleaner shots. I think toward the end she outworked me a little. I’ll give her a couple of the middle rounds. But I came on strong at the end."
Lawrence Lustig, BOXXER
While Jonas landed some quick combinations out of her southpaw stance early on, as the night went on, it was the taller and rangier Mayer, who steadily pressured the defending champion and was able to have solid moments as she pressed Jonas up along the ropes. While both boxers landed their fair share of leather, it was Jonas that seemed to be more impacted.
“I thought I did enough to win. I would have given her the first round or two," said a disappointed Mayer. ."But after that, I feel like I outpunched her. I landed the cleaner shots. At the end of the day, I think that this fight is worth seeing again. Like she said, it was one of the toughest fights she’s had. I didn’t have a rematch clause on my side, but I’m hoping we can get this fight done again."
For Mayer this is familiar territory, unfortunately. Back in October of 2022, she traveled to England and lost a close split decision to Alycia Baumgardner in what was a three-belt junior lightweight contest. For Mayer pulling out her passport and going to Europe/England has become not just a habit but a necessity. The reason is very simple: womens boxing sells much better out there in that part of the world than America.
Mayer who is an American promoted by Top Rank, was on a BOXXER card in the UK, against their client. Like every other prizefighter (of any gender), they go to where the best financial opportunities are. In this instance, it was fatale for this femme.
OK, but regardless of what I think about the decision, a rematch is warranted. This was a very entertaining bout, a second chapter would most likely garner more interest. The reality is that it would probably have to take place once again in Jonas' backyard. You get the sense that Mayer understands this.
“It’s definitely disappointing. But what am I going to do? I just hope that Natasha will be the standup champ that she is and give me another shot at the belt. I feel like I deserve it. I think they want to see it. I only believe that rematches should happen if they’re warranted.”
- I know there's a lot of talk of having women fight three-minute rounds. There is a case for it, absolutely, but then others will argue that the 120-second stanza's create a faster, more exciting pace to these female fights.
But I do think that championship bouts should be 12 rounds, if you're going to stick with the two-minute segments. Just my view, in modern day boxing, 'championship rounds' are 10, 11, and 12 (they used to be 13, 14 and 15 back in the olden days) but it just feels a bit incomplete when a fight like Jonas-Mayer ends after the 10th.
- Tim Bradley who called the fight alongside Bernado Osuna on ESPN+ made an interesting point about how Mayer's managment (George Ruiz) needed to do a better job in protecting her by having a rematch clause in place. Now, I'm a huge fan of Bradley, but I will disagree a bit here. Given her place in the business, and the fact that she was the road fighter, fighting for Jonas' belt, I'm not sure she had that much leverage to ask for such a clause.
Now, not having one in place for the Baumgardner fight, well, that's a different story.
- Saw some complaining about one of the judges in Jonas-Mayer, who scored it for the home fighter, have a 10-10 round. Now, scoring even rounds is nothing particularly unusual in Britain. However, there is a belief that is used at times to insulate the A-side boxer from a close round that they lost.
So yeah, 10-10 rounds can be weaponized.
Keith Idec is reporting for Boxingscene.com that the ladies grudge/unification bout between Seniesa Estrada and Yokasta Valle will take place March 29 in Glendale, Arizona as part of an ESPN telecast....So Rollie Romero has moved on from the Ryan Garcia fight? So now what?.....Various outlets are reporting that PBC on Amazon will debut on March 30....How bout dem Lions?... I can be reached at email@example.com.