The almost legendary Melinda Cooper returns to the ring tonight in the Aztec City of Tenochtitlan, better known as Mexico City.
It’s been more than a year since Cooper (19-0, 11 KOs) has fought but she faces Mexico’s Miriam Avila at Centro Banamex for a fight that could lead to a bantamweight showdown with Ana Maria Torres who is also on the Mexico City card.
“I’m kind of excited to be fighting,” said Cooper, 24, who has a low-key personality outside of the ring, but speaks loudly with her fists and skills inside the ropes. “It’s been a long time.”
According to American record keepers, Avila only has two fights. But records in Mexico show Avila with more than a dozen pro battles on her resume. It’s quite common.
Cooper had been scheduled to fight Monica Lovato in a bantamweight fight for the vacant IFBA title, but the title fight set for her hometown Las Vegas was scratched three times and eventually scrapped altogether. After six months of training Cooper was left hoping for a match.
Thanks to work from her trainer and manager James Pena, Cooper is fighting immediately.
The past three years it's been pretty difficult to find opponents in her weight bracket willing to meet her. A year ago she met Donna Biggers, a featherweight who also has fought at lightweight. Other than that, the prospects have been dim. Once again Cooper is forced to fight at a heavier weight division, but its only temporary.
But a few fighters have emerged on the horizon to meet Cooper and the petite Las Vegas star will discover tonight what Mexico has to offer. Recently, with fighters like Torres, Mariana Juarez and others, the Aztec warrior locale has seen female fighters crop up.
If successful, Cooper could add another country of followers to her side. For more than 11 years the Las Vegas native has accumulated fame; first as a standout amateur, and now as a professional who remains undefeated after nearly seven years.