The super flyweight unification bout Saturday between Juan Francisco Estrada and Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez has been getting a great deal of attention, and rightfully so. But the co-main event, which features another rematch — this one between Cecilia Braekhus and Jessica McCaskill — is more than worth your time.
Because this is women’s boxing at its finest.
For those who have been clamoring for the women of the sweet science to get more visibility, McCaskill-Braekhus 2 is in about as good a position as it can be as the co-main event of one of the most anticipated fights of the year. With the women’s undisputed welterweight titles on the line, this isn’t just any fight. It’s a clash between a woman who was once considered the queen of boxing in Braekhus (36-1, nine KOs) and the hard-charging McCaskill (9-2, three KOs), who pulled off the major upset last summer.
Here are four reasons why this high-stakes fight is a must-see event:
Show and prove for McCaskill
When McCaskill steps into the ring, she’s not there to mess around. Her aggressive approach was the reason she was able to squeeze out a decision against Braekhus in their first outing. By constantly pressing forward, “CasKILLA” kept Braekhus on her back foot for much of the contest and forced her to fight her way back into the bout in the later rounds. With women’s boxing still having two-minute rounds, a fast start could put the champion in prime position to retain. It also means that we should have an exciting fight, because what McCaskill lacks in technique, she more than makes up for in heart.
Do or die for Braekhus
Before suffering her first loss in controversial fashion, Braekhus had staked her claim as the best female fighter on the planet. She is one of only eight boxers — male or female — to hold four major world titles simultaneously. That is due in large part to Braekhus mastering her craft as a boxer-puncher who uses skill to outclass the competition. Maybe she was asleep at the wheel for the first half of their initial encounter. But “The First Lady” is incensed by an opponent who promises to hold a retirement party for the former champion by the end of the night. And, honestly, if Braekhus loses, it just might be the end of the road for her. At 39, she could decide that this is it if she comes up short.
Styles make fights
Fights that feature a brawler vs. a boxer tend to be enticing encounters, and given the stakes of this rematch, you can rest assured that neither fighter will be underestimating their opponent. McCaskill’s high-energy approach has worked when it comes to convincing judges to give her the close rounds. Braekhus is aware of what happened and won’t be afforded the luxury of waiting to find openings. When a skilled boxer is forced to fight off a brawler, it usually becomes a treat for the fans.
Women’s boxing deserves our attention
Women’s boxing has been woefully underserved for an incredibly long time, for a variety of reasons. But the current stars have the potential to finally give the women the spotlight they deserve. Claressa Shields, Katie Taylor and Amanda Serrano are just a few of the wonderful fighters who are at the top of their game. And now we’ll see two of the best go at it in a co-main event? If you complained about the lack of visibility for women’s boxing, then you have to go out of your way to watch this one. (It will be on DAZN.) But you can’t just watch it; you have to tweet about it and let the world know that women’s boxing is relevant and the fighters deserve just as much, if not more, attention as their male counterparts. With attention comes money; they deserve that, too.