Mikaela Mayer intends to fight her way back to the bouts she craves and a rematch with Alycia Baumgardner is at the top of her hitlist.
Baumgardner unified the WBC, IBF and WBO super-featherweight titles when she beat Mayer by split decision at the O2 Arena in October.
There is no doubt Mayer wants revenge. “I still believe that I won,” she told Sky Sports. “I don’t even feel like it could have been a draw, I think I won quite clearly by at least two rounds.”
That has left Mayer frustrated. She also believes women’s boxing, where world championship fights are still 10 two-minute rounds long, should move to three-minute rounds as in men’s boxing.
“It just made me wish I would have done more. I feel like I was boxing a smart game plan, we didn’t want to engage with her early on because she likes to whip that right hand so it was the feints and taking that step back and making her miss. Which caused me to lose the first two rounds and then I started to get in my rhythm,” Mayer said.
“But I feel like I should have dogged her out a little bit more, just to make it clear. Which is what I’m good at. It’s not that I can’t do that. I was following the game plan I had.
“It’s almost like a strategy like that is hard to do with 10 two-minute rounds. If I would have had that extra time I would have been able to play out that entire game plan. But I didn’t and I knew I only had two-minute rounds so that’s my fault. But with hindsight I would go back and press her more.
“My ring IQ, when it comes to strategy, it’s growing and it sucks to know that you almost have to throw some of that out the window and let your hands go,” she added. “I feel like that’s holding us back from really getting to that next level.”
Mayer is adamant she still remains the biggest fight available to Baumgardner.
“You don’t get what you deserve in this sport or life, you get what you negotiate and we didn’t negotiate a rematch clause. But the numbers are there. People want to see it, the fans want to see it and that should be enough. The fact that the fans want it, that should be enough for Baumgardner,” she said.
“That’s got to eat at her. I think she’ll be pushed into this rematch by everyone.”
But if Mayer cannot get that fight immediately next, she will take the contests that position her for it. Her team approached Delfine Persoon, who pushed Katie Taylor to the limit, for her next fight.
“I don’t want any little fights. I only want to challenge myself against the best,” Mayer said.
“[Persoon’s] team said we want to fight Mikaela but we’re not available for February or March. I don’t know why. Maybe she feels like she’s the next in line for that belt [which Baumgardner holds]. So maybe she doesn’t want to risk losing to me.
“Our next best thought was let’s go for the girl that beat Baumgardner, which is Christina Linardatou. She’s fought Katie Taylor, she’s only lost to Persoon and Katie Taylor. So I feel good challenging myself against someone like her. She’s tough. We’re waiting on that.
“Regardless we’re getting in the ring late February, early March.”
She will not focus solely on a potential rematch with Baumgardner.
“There are other big fights for me. This next fight I’m probably going to take at 135lbs. But I’m going to stay close to 130lbs so I am available for that rematch if she does decide to give it to me. But until then I’m going to go where the opportunity is,” Mayer said.
A fight with unified super-welterweight champion Natasha Jonas would be another blockbuster. But Mayer will not move too far up in weight too soon.
“Natasha Jonas will be a great fight down the line, but not yet,” she said.
“Eventually I know I can go up to those divisions too. But there’s still work to be done lower. There’s a few more things I need to take on before I jump that much weight. Because once I jump that much weight, there’s no coming back down.
“I think people still want to see me versus Katie Taylor, I think that’s going to be great fight, I still want the rematch with Baumgardner.
“I want to go up and challenge myself, there are so many girls at 135, 140lbs that are building their names and I want to challenge myself against them too, if she’s not going to give me a rematch in a reasonable amount of time.
“I’m just going to keep fighting, keep winning and I can’t be denied.
“I’ve already established such a career for myself that you can’t ignore me. I can’t be ignored. I’m still a big fight, still a big draw. Because I have my roots so deep and I built my career from the ground up, one fighter and one loss can’t take that away from me.
“Women are creating a new narrative for boxing where we’re losing and we’re coming back and we’re winning again. We’re taking on the best.
“That’s what’s most important and as long as I continue to do that, I’ll be back.”
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