Mikaela Mayer: The Search For Undisputed
If ever a performance deserved a big fight it was the one Mikaela Mayer gave in her unification fight with Maiva Hamadouche last year.
Mayer and Hamadouche went to war in one of the best female fights we are ever likely to see. Mayer has made no secret of her desire to unify the super-featherweight division with a clash against her fellow American Alycia Baumgardner. But with the WBC/IBO champion opting to go in another direction, Mayer had to look elsewhere for an opponent.
Mayer (16-0) will instead defend her WBO and IBF titles against the former IBF featherweight world champion Jennifer Han in California on April 9.
“Everyone knows I have been in pursuit of undisputed, but since the other two champs are being reserved for each other, I had to look elsewhere to stay busy,” Mayer recently said with an obvious hint of frustration.
Han was beaten by Katie Taylor in Leeds last year in a bid for the undisputed world lightweight titles and will drop back down in weight to challenge Mayer for her world super-featherweight titles. The challenger will look to rip up the script but Mayer has big plans ahead.
Baumgardner is the number one target as Mayer looks for undisputed status in her current division. The American hopes it will be her last year at 130 and is already targeting the winner of the big lightweight clash between Katie Taylor and Amanda Serrano which takes place at Madison Square Garden in April.
The win over Hamadouche really should have propelled her into another major fight, but there seems a reluctance to let her into the Matchroom bubble. At least for now.
Mayer vs Baumgardner is too good a fight to be lost in a sea of boxing politics. There is a real edge to their rivalry, and it is these types of fights that her sport needs to take it to the next level.
With Terri Harper losing to Baumgardner in Sheffield last year and subsequently moving up to lightweight, that rivalry didn’t reach a natural conclusion. But the one with Baumgardner carries more spite to it, and could be a fight that rivals even Taylor/Serrano in terms of importance, and could easily be a much better fight.
Despite being with Top Rank and a unified world champion, I still think Mayer is on the outside looking in. Mayer is too good for her own good and is a serious threat to anyone in and around her division. Let her in the door, the in house titles might leave with her on the way out.
With Taylor and Serrano likely to fight again unless the April encounter is definitive beyond repair, and the possibility of being frozen out for the early part of next year,
Mayer could be left in the proverbial boxing limbo.
Mayer might have to take the Natasha Jonas route and look for a fight above her more natural fighting weights. Jonas recently jumped up to super-welterweight to finally get her world title, Mayer might take a similar course. With a budget and platform to match, and with the Sky/Boxxer/Top Rank links Jonas vs Mayer could be an easy fight to make and one that would satisfy both for many reasons. But Jonas or not, Mayer needs that career-defining fight that will further enhance her standing in the sport.