Male boxing and female boxing are almost incomparable.
As men’s pound-for-pound king Manny Pacquiao, now world-famous for his thumping of Oscar De La Hoya in December, continues to count the millions of dollars he made in 2008, female boxing’s best fighter, welterweight Holly Holm, is in the peak stages of preparation for her title showdown with France’s Myriam Lamare on January 23 – a fight that few people will see and even fewer will pay for.
But by talking with Holm (22-1-1, 6 KOs), you’d never know that female prize-fighting is a near-dead sport. Despite performing in front of humble crowds and making pennies in comparison to most star male fighters, Holm is almost indifferent to the state of her craft. She is instead focused on wiping out competition to satiate the appetite on her provincial fans.
“I’m from New Mexico, and we have great, loyal fans here in boxing and MMA,” said Holm, whose boyfriend is MMA middleweight and fellow New Mexico native Joey Villasenor. “They’re very supportive, and when they talk about me, I want to live up to what they say.”
Holm’s fight with Lamare is her first since a draw with fellow star Mary Joe Sanders in October. That bout was a rematch of a June showdown that saw Holm prevail via comfortable unanimous decision.
Considering the severe lack of depth in women’s boxing, some pundits have already been clamoring for Holm and Sanders to throw bones a third time. But Holm, who has now been fighting for seven years, is in no rush to dance another ten rounds with the daughter of former Detroit Lions tight end Charlie Sanders.
“I don’t want to fight [Sanders] right now,” said Holm. “I think [a third fight] would be too much like the first two, and I just wouldn’t be motivated for it.”
Against Sanders, Holm, who started her career at light welterweight, moved up to fight at the 154-pound limit which she has trouble hitting “even as a walking-around weight.” So the southpaw will move back down to 147 pounds to fight Lamare, who has spent the bulk of her career at 140 pounds.
Holm said she won’t take Lamare lightly, meaning the holidays – and a visit to Villasenor and family in Farmington – didn’t get in the way of her training.
“I ran with him every day up there,” she said. “The only bad thing was that there wasn’t any sparring, but we have plenty of that in my gym.”
“Lamare’s a tough opponent, a strong opponent,” continued Holm. “We’ve fought some of the same opponents and she has a lot of KOs, so we have to be careful.”
Careful not to let down a New Mexico fan base that loves Holm, despite the poor state of her profession.