Layla McCarter Stops Szilvia Szabados in Las Vegas
By David A. Avila
LAS VEGAS, Nev.-Eight was enough for Layla McCarter in winning by technical knockout of rugged and determined Szilvia Szabados on Saturday.
McCarter (39-13-5, 10 Kos) showed that 10 rounds was not necessary but eight rounds was just enough in defeating Hungary’s Szabados (15-10, 6 Kos) at Sam’s Casino in Las Vegas. The Mayweather Promotions female fight was televised live on Fox Sports 2.
Though she won by stoppage, McCarter was disappointed in her performance. Her trainer Luis Tapia was not.
“Layla is a perfectionist,” said Tapia who also manages her. “She always wants everything perfect.”
McCarter is considered by many – including this publication – the best female fighter pound for pound. Others may be undefeated but some of those others are in her same weight class and will not meet her in the boxing ring. Yet.
Szabados was more than willing.
The Hungarian welterweight fought exactly two weeks ago and won by knockout. Before that, she clashed with American two-time Olympic gold medalist Claressa Shields in March. Though she lost by knockout to Shields, she was eager to fight in America again.
In her fight with McCarter, she immediately showed her willingness to exchange and move forward. You could tell in her eyes she loves the sport. For the female warrior from Hungary, it’s all about competition and competing with the best. She was fighting the best and taking punishment from the first round. It did not slow her down.
McCarter, 38, has uncanny timing, especially on her exchanges on the inside. Several times she slipped short, crisp rights to the chin of Szabados whose head would snap back, but it only sparked more aggression from her.
“She was a tough girl,” said McCarter who has not lost a fight since 2008. “She could really take a punch.”
During the first six rounds McCarter used Szabado’s own aggression against her. Numerous times the Las Vegas fighter connected with left hooks on the button and overhand rights. But every time a blow was landed, it seemed the Hungarian fighter would get angrier.
In the seventh round, McCarter slipped under a Szabado’s punch and countered with a left hook to the belly. After a second or two the Hungarian turned her back and waved to the referee Tony Weeks as she took a knee. He called the fight off as Szabado’s held her stomach with her hands. The end came at 56 seconds of the seventh round.
“I thought the referee could have stopped it in the second round but that’s OK,” said McCarter. “I needed to get some rounds in. I felt very rusty.”
Szabados did not feel rusty. It was her third fight in a month. But she felt she made a critical mistake by waving to the referee.
“I should not have waved to him (the referee). I should have just taken a knee,” Szabados, 26, said. “It was a big mistake by me. I could have still fought more.”
For the sharp-punching McCarter it was a much needed fight.
“I did a lot of sparring and I felt good. I had my timing,” said McCarter. “But tonight I felt rusty. I just couldn’t throw the combinations like I usually do.”
One thing McCarter did want to covey is her opponent’s zeal to fight.
“She had a lot of heart. She was like a lioness in there. She would not quit,” said McCarter. “She didn’t show a lot of skill but she can learn skill. She can be one of the best in time. She has what you can’t teach-heart.”
Szabados said her dream is to return and fight again in America against Alicia Napoleon.
“I don’t know why, I had a lot of fun fighting her,” said Szabados who has a real love for boxing. “We have a lot of fighters in my country.”
McCarter said she looks to return to the boxing ring this coming June.
“We’ll see what happens,” McCarter said. “I was glad to get these rounds in.”
Photo by David A. Avila