There are other meaningful fights that interest Alycia Baumgardner, namely a shot at the winner of the lightweight championship rematch between Katie Taylor and Amanda Serrano.
Baumgardner is sure, though, that she will battle bitter rival Mikaela Mayer again. Baumgardner won their 10-round, 130-pound championship unification bout by split decision October 15 at O2 Arena in London, but Baumgardner wants to record a more decisive victory over Mayer in their rematch.
“I definitely see a rematch,” Baumgardner told BoxingScene.com. “Everything has to make sense. I think the next fight will really solidify that I beat her the first time and that the second fight will end by knockout.”
Baumgardner beat Mayer by one point apiece on two scorecards 3½ months ago. Judges Steve Gray and John Latham both scored Baumgardner a 96-95 winner, while judge Terry O’Connor credited Mayer with a convincing victory on his card, 97-93.
A dismayed Mayer (17-1, 5 KOs) claimed O’Connor’s scorecard, on which Mayer won seven rounds, is the real reflection of what happened in the ring on the Claressa Shields-Savannah Marshall undercard. Regardless, Baumgardner left the ring with her IBO and WBC belts, as well as Mayer’s IBF and WBO championships.
Baumgardner (13-1, 7 KOs), of Bingham Farms, Michigan, will attempt to become women’s boxing’s fully unified 130-pound champion Saturday night. She’ll defend her four titles and fight for the vacant WBA crown when she faces France’s Elhem Mekhaled (15-1, 3 KOs) on the Serrano-Erika Cruz undercard at Madison Square Garden’s Hulu Theater in New York.
The 28-year-old Baumgardner, who is trained in Detroit by former WBC super welterweight champ Tony Harrison, is consistently listed as at least a 7-1 favorite to beat Mekhaled. DAZN will stream Baumgardner-Mekhaled as part of a show scheduled to start at 8 p.m. ET.
Baumgardner still makes her division’s 130-pound limit comfortably, but she could see a Mayer rematch eventually taking place in the lightweight division.
“Boxing is unpredictable,” Baumgardner said. “It could be at 130, it could be at 135. I just know that I’m the better fighter and that any chance I get to fight Mikaela, I will beat her.”
Meanwhile, Baumgardner will savor her narrow win in the biggest fight of her five-year pro career.
“It was the best feeling beating somebody who really overlooked me,” Baumgardner said. “Knowing that I’ve been training and working very hard to be in this position, and knowing that the underdog always prevails, it’s great.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.
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