To Melinda Cooper - My Sincere Apologies, I Was Wrong

BY Joey Knish ON June 24, 2004
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Women's boxing was dead as far as I was concerned. In my humble opinion women should not have been trading leather in the ring. Leather and rings were meant to be worn by women. Then along came 19-year old Super Flyweight Melinda Cooper out of Las Vegas, and she damn near rocked my world. This girl can box.

After seeing the poor efforts of female "boxers" such as Mia St. John, Freeda George Foreman, super freak Vonda Ward and several nameless female boxers who need testosterone tests after fights, I was ready and willing to stick a fork into the spectacle that had become women's boxing. It was done. The novelty had worn off, and I wasn't buying what the lady pugilists were trying to sell.

That was of course until little Miss Cooper came along. At 5' 2" tall and a tight 118 pounds, Melinda Cooper is the best that women's boxing could ever hope to be. Laila Ali may have the name to keep women's boxing afloat but Cooper has the skills. Mia St. John may have the looks . . . then again, the truth is she doesn't. Undefeated at 11-0-0 with 7 stoppage victories, Melinda Cooper is a knockout.

If you have had the chance to see her you know that from the moment the bell rings that the kid can box. Her jab is head snapping, the combinations poetic. Really, I was wrong, this woman can box. The last real test for Cooper was against fire-plug Jeri Sitzes, a come-forward brawler who will take one to land one, and then come back for more.

Cooper opened that fight with jabs and rights to the body to slow her opponent down. By the second round she was really flowing and started putting her punches together in bunches. Cooper out landed Sitzes 28-4 in that two-minute, second round. Sitzes was schooled over the course of six rounds, but countered Cooper well enough to stay in the fight. The following fight for the young rising star was a two round destruction of Lina Ramirez.

What makes Copper fun to watch, if you appreciate the sweet science of boxing, is that she really has learned to box. To see a 19-year old female slip a jab, hook the body, double the hook to the head and then finish with a right hand to the face is sweet, in a scientific way. Against Sitzes, Cooper would toss left jabs and right hands in succession, continually finding the mark. As Sitzes back-peddled to get out of harms way, Cooper would step with her, moving forward as her opponent moved back and continued throwing. The girl can flat out fight.

If Melinda Cooper is the future of women's boxing, then the future looks bright indeed. This girl is the complete package and she puts it all together with such frightful ease even the most pessimistic chauvinist can't help but be impressed.

Believe me, I am impressed.

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