By Jackie Kallen
Whether you are a fan of women’s boxing or not, the match-up tonight in Albuquerque between Holly Holm and Anne Sophie Mathis is going to be a nail biter. Considering that Duane Ford is one of the three judges for this double IBA/WBF title fight, I’m sure both girls are hoping for a knockout. No one wants to leave decisions in the hands of the judges anymore. Most fighters are going to go for the KO.
Women’s boxing has slowed down over the years and you don’t hear much about it. But Holly Holm has been a constant in the sport. With 35 fights under her belt, this 30 year old southpaw welterweight has been hammering away for ten years. She has amassed an impressive 30-2 record and has only lost to Rita Turrisi (eight years ago) and Mathis. Mathis stopped her in the 7th round last December and this is Holm’s opportunity to get even.
If you ask Anne, Holly doesn’t have a chance to win. That’s why Mathis is willing to travel from France again to put her title on the line. With a solid 26-1 record, this French dynamo hasn’t lost a fight since 1995. At 35 years old, she feels she is at the peak of her career. She has no intention of letting the American blond break her 17-year winning streak.
When it comes to punching power, Mathis has a huge edge. She has smashed nearly 82% of her opponents into pieces. At 5’11” she is a force to be reckoned with. At 5’8″, Holly is giving up three inches in height and she has only stopped one out of four opponents. This is only Mathis’s second fight in the US and she is not planning to head home without the belts.
I know it is pride that is driving Holly Holm to take another run at her, but one wonders if she has the tools and power to defeat her much tougher and taller opponent. I was at Holly’s two fights against Mary Jo Sanders and I know she is an excellent boxer. In order to prevail in this one, she is going to need to box Sophie’s butt off. She will need to use angles, be defensive, and be a moving target. If she stands in front of Mathis, she’s a dead duck.
Known as the preacher’s daughter, Holm takes her career very seriously. She has succeeded at kick-boxing as well and is an entry-level MMA fighter with two KOs to her credit and no losses. She wants to avenge this loss for personal, as well as, professional reasons. It doesn’t sit well with her that a European boxer comes to her backyard and embarrasses her. Holm is hoping to even the score tonight.
Good luck, Holly. I would love to see you win tonight. Go, USA!!
Jackie Kallen is a boxing manager who has been in the business for over three decades. Her life inspired the Meg Ryan film “Against the Ropes” and she was a part of the NBC series “The Contender.” www.JackieKallen.com, www.facebook.com/JackieKallen