Mayer vs Baumgardner: A Fight That Needs To Happen Next
Boxing isn’t a sport for security or making long term plans. Everything can change extremely quickly. One punch can change the course of a career or even boxing history. Long term plans should always be made with a large degree of caution. On Saturday night in Sheffield, Terri Harper found out the hard way that boxing can make the immediate future redundant.
Matchroom was intent on unifying the super-featherweight division, three of the four more recognised champions were in the Matchroom bubble, only the American Mikaela Mayer threatened to gatecrash the party. And she did.
Mayer was told to get a belt for a shot at Harper, she did, now she has two. In boxing’s karma way, Harper now doesn’t have any.
The plan was for Mayer and Harper to fight for everything undisputed in 2022, but another American Alycia Baumgardner came to Yorkshire at the weekend and left it with the WBC and IBO world titles safely in her possession.
Harper was dispatched with relative ease in 4 one-sided rounds, the big comeback turned into a nightmare, a defeat that will be hard to overcome in many ways. We can all speculate what if anything was wrong with Harper, for those in the Harper inner circle, it might be a painful inquest.
But we shouldn’t ignore what Baumgardner did right on Saturday night. Harper was blown away in those 4 rounds, nothing went right for her. It was about as conclusive a fight as you are likely to see. Nobody should be fooled that this was just a win about the finishing punch that froze many things. It was more than that. Much more. Baumgardner announced herself as a real force in her division.
Baumgardner was seriously impressive, she came to England with a reputation as a big puncher. It’s safe to say that reputation has been enhanced.
Harper has that rematch clause, but to face Baumgardner again seems an incredibly risky manoeuvre, stupid even. They got it badly wrong the first time, to do so again could have career-ending implications. If Harper wants to jump straight back in at world level Hyun Mi Choi the WBA champion would seem a safer option. But even that might be too soon, too much for a fighter who has the look of someone who needs a gentler rebuild.
With 4 belts on the line and a rivalry that is now boiling not merely simmering, Mayer vs Baumgardner is the fight to make, maybe not just at super-featherweight but in women’s boxing period.
Shots have already been fired on social media.
Baumgardner has said: “I will dog walk this bitch.”
Mayer responded with:
“Can’t fucking wait. Don’t try and baby that belt either. Time to back up your big mouth and unify.”
Too many fights get lost in a sea of boxing politics, avoidance and protecting, it is hard to see what is real in a sport where it should be a whole lot simpler.
Mayer vs Harper now looks dead in the water, but Mayer vs Baumgardner has the look and feel of a much bigger and better fight. Sometimes when something is lost, something greater comes along.
Baumgardner beat Harper in perhaps the performance of the year, Mayer recently beat Maiva Hamadouche in potentially the fight of the year. Putting Baumgardner and Mayer together is truly a mouth-watering prospect. It’s a fight that is way too good to be lost. It needs to happen next.
Photo Credit: Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing