Southern California’s Mikaela Mayer vs Baby Nansen in NYC
By David A. Avila
New York City has a reputation of being a fast-paced city with zooming subways, and darting taxis. It’s a city of hustlers. Mikaela Mayer fits right in.
Every time she enters a boxing ring you better not blink.
Since dispensing her amateur head gear and gloves for the professional ranks Mayer (4-0, 3 KOs) has racked up four prize fights and gets her fifth on Saturday May 12, against New Zealand’s Baby Nansen (6-2-1). The six round bout takes place at Madison Square Garden. ESPN will televise.
Mayer’s like a speeding bullet you just don’t want to stand in her way.
When the former Olympian signed with Top Rank back in August 2017, the brain trust wanted her to get in the rounds slowly from four to 10-round bouts. The Las Vegas boxing organization has long been famous for analyzing a fighter and creating a plan to build each fighter’s career slowly like a house made of bricks.
Mayer’s a human sledgehammer who knows how to whack, not build.
Top Rank’s experts keep trying to assess Mayer’s capabilities but she keeps exceeding their evaluations. It’s not a bad thing.
“Her strengths, obviously she is out there with competent coaches in Colorado Springs and she is also is a very, very good boxer with a great jab and with a really good right hand,” said Brad Goodman a matchmaker for Top Rank. “I really don’t know what her weaknesses are yet. Questions marks are can she go six rounds. Technically she is a super featherweight but she can go up in weight.”
Though nearly six-feet tall, Mayer fights at the 130-pound super featherweight limit and faces a strong opponent in Nansen, who has already fought for a title but lost by decision to Brooklyn’s Melissa St. Vil in 2016.
“She is looks to be a solid and strong fighter but shorter than me. She is going to try and catch me with that right hand,” said Mayer, 27, of her opponent Nansen. “I’ve been working a lot on my inside game. I expect most to expect me to be on the outside. But my coaches want me to be a well-rounded pro.”
So far only one of her four previous opponents heard the final bell. Most of her foes end up on their back after getting whacked by the tall slender Mayer.
Her first two opponents were annihilated within three rounds. But her third opponent Nydia Feliciano withstood the early storm and was able to hear the final bell. It caused a wrinkle of concern. So a veteran from Greece, Maria Semertzoglou, was brought to give Mayer more rounds against an experienced fighter with 10 pro fights. She had never been stopped.
The fight took place this past March at the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif. and many of Mayer’s family and friends along with her growing fan base withstood a rain storm. As Mayer was entering the boxing ring the doors finally opened to allow the fans in. By the time fans reached their seats the fight was over. Mayer caught the Greek fighter with a right then followed up with a barrage of blows as her foe hung helpless on the ropes.
“It’s amazing the leverage she gets from her punches. She sets it up,” said Goodman of her knockout wins. “A lot of girls are just very wild and go out there. She sets it up.”
Mayer is also setting up her career in her mind. She wants world titles and she wants them fast.
“I want to get 130 pound title shot by the end of the year. Then, next year, 135, then 140 pounds. I’m tall enough. I think I have the speed and I have the power. I plan on dabbling on all three weights. At 145 I wouldn’t be cutting too much weight. I would be interested in doing welterweight too. I’m still young enough and fast enough.”
The Southern California native with the model looks keeps speeding along at a pace too fast to gauge for experts.
“They want to see me go more rounds. But it’s a double edge sword. I knock out opponents in the first round. They want me stopping my opponents,” says Mayer who always looks for openings to fire her power shots. “I really want people to be impressed.”
When she enters the boxing ring at Madison Square Garden it will be the first time fighting in the big arena. Many of the biggest boxing stars in history fought at “the Garden.” Not many women.
“I just want to elevate my career and brand in general, I focus on one thing at a time. I want people to pay attention to women’s boxing,” said Mayer. “Get more sponsors and get more people paying attention to women’s boxing. I know with that will come the title shot and the big headlining fights.”
She’s a California bullet in New York City.
(Photo by JP Yim)