Knight (left) had earned a win and draw against West (right). Both ladies took aim at Esparza for her Tweets. (Katherine Rodriguez photo)
Women’s bantamweight champion Kaleisha West has had enough of Marlen Esparaza’s twitter antics. The 25-year-old from Moreno Valley, California released the following statement via her official social media accounts on Twitter and Facebook.
“This chick will get her ass whooped by me or Ava [Knight]. Amateur boxers don’t realize how different the game is when the headgear is off, rounds are increased and gloves go down to four ounces. This girl is a clown act, a disgrace to women’s boxing and has never truly been tested. She was handed a bronze medal. You would’ve thought she’d be humble. I have absolutely lost respect for her.”
What’s gotten West so riled up? It all started a few months ago with something Esparza tweeted about women’s professional boxing.
““I don’t really plan on going pro right now,” Esparza tweeted. “I haven’t seen a pro girl that I can respect yet.”
West and fellow women’s champion Ava Knight took immediate offense to the matter, and made sure Esparza knew about it, too. Esparza seemed to back off her comment afterwards, saying she didn’t really mean it the way it all came out. All seemed fine.
Fast forward to the end of last week, when after a long hiatus, the feud came roaring back. Esparza lashed out at Knight for refusing to spar with her while the 23-year-old Houstonian visited California.
“A few months ago, Ava Knight was feeling that internet courage and wouldn't stop talking. Now she doesn't want to spar. Scared? I think so! I didn't say much [then] because I don't talk over twitter, but I have to now. She's saying she's too good to spar me! Ava Knight, if you’re so good, show me!”
She continued. “Now you can't get in the ring and spar because you’re a pro? Your record is not all that. You went pro because you couldn’t win at Nationals. I’m telling you to spar me! We can record it and show everyone. You don't want to talk anymore? What happened, Ava?”
“I didn't want to talk over twitter like you did,” Knight responded.
You can run all you want,” Esparza retorted. “I let you talk. You think your pro status makes you legit. I’ll play with you. Spar me!”
“I don't need your sparring,” said Knight. “If you want to talk, take off the headgear and talk with the gloves. P.S. stay amateur.”
“After I get gold [in 2016],” said Esparza. “I’m going to have one pro fight to whoop you, if you’re not a baby mama by that time!”
TSS caught up with Knight afterwards to get her side of the story, since she seemed less interested in twitter beefing than her amateur nemesis.
“Someone called my coach before my fight [to see] if I wanted to spar and I simply said no thanks,” Knight said. “He told whoever [he talked to] no. Nothing was thought of it. I was getting ready for a fight, and didn't need her sparring.”
Meanwhile, West simply isn’t having it. She told TSS last week she didn’t think any women’s boxer who has been put in the limelight of popular culture thus far, especially Marlen Esparza, was the right person for the job. She’s disappointed Esparza hasn’t used the platform provided to her by her multiple endorsements to speak out on the current state of women’s boxing.
“The state of women’s boxing is horrible,” she said. “It’s crap right now.”
“Ava doesn’t need sparring with an amateur…Marlen needed her, and if she hadn’t have bit the hand that fed her, Knight would have still worked with her. But who in their right mind would want to help an ungrateful, stupid little girl? This girl doesn’t even know what it means to struggle in a sport. Her testimony is whack, and she’s immature. She needs to get the pampers off and grow up.
“I speak truth when champions are disrespected. I speak up when undeserving people are naïve, arrogant, and dumb. I stand behind my word when people are wronged, and I give respect where it's earned. This girl needs a professional mentor. This is my response to her disrespecting tweets toward women's pro boxing, her baby mama comment, and her arrogance about how much money she makes. It's different for us women. It's different for us women in boxing, and for the current face of women's boxing to act inappropriate as an ambassador? Disgrace, embarrassing.”