by Jackie Kallen
You hear so little about female boxing these days that even the diehard fans barely know it still exists. Gone are the days of Christy Martin, Lucia Rijker and Laila Ali. Mia St. John recently retired, and I can’t remember the last time I saw a female match on any card, anywhere.
Only two of the Top 10 female boxers are from the US. LA’s Diana Prazak is #2 and Chico’s Ava Knight is #7. It’s apparent that the boxing scene for women here in the States is pretty bleak. Having women fight in the 2012 Olympics hasn’t seemed to encourage many young girls to follow suit: at least in boxing. In contrast, in MMA, heavyweight champion Ronda Rousey has recently captured the public’s imagination through a combination of looks, humor, talent and brains
That’s why it’s interesting that the August 15 fight in Costa Mesa, CA is being headlined by Rhonda Luna and Crystal Morales. They’re fighting for the IFBA Lightweight title. These two just fought in June, and Luna won the 6-round decision. Not surprisng. With a record of 7-9-1 with only one KO, Morales (27) is not exactly the female Mayweather: she is not even batting .500.
Luna, 35, is 17-3 with two KOs. Neither fighter is a power puncher and neither one has ever been stopped. So it will be interesting to see who perseveres this time. Luna has won two out of her last four. Morales has lost five out of the last six.
Morales is taller and younger, but hasn’t displayed the boxing skills to outsmart the more mature Luna. Morales’s last knockout was eight years ago, and Luna’s was six years ago. These women are used to going the distance, so to assume that Morales can pull out a victory is a long-shot. She may not have the talent to accomplish it.
Luna has fought several times for a belt, but has never won one. This fight will be the closest Morales has ever come to a title. To her, just the opportunity to give it a shot is an honor. In men’s boxing these days, a fighter with 9 losses on his record would be unlikely to get a shot.
Maybe when Gold Medalist Clarissa Shields turns pro it will perk things up on the female boxing scene. Or if there is another Playboy cover girl like Mia St. John, who adds some spice to the scene, it will help. Until then, the big female fights will be few and far between, and ceding the media attention that female boxing desperate needs to people from other, related martal arts, scenes, like Ronda Rousey.