Mikaela Mayer had no real trouble tonight after being bumped to the main event of Top Rank Boxing on ESPN, shutting down opponent Helen Joseph and winning a wide unanimous decision in Las Vegas.
The 30-year-old Mayer (13-0, 5 KO) was able to outbox Joseph (17-5-2, 10 KO) pretty handily. Joseph, 31, wasn’t incompetent or anything, and showed some nice head movement and a lot of determination, but she couldn’t deal with the speed and length and combination punching of Mayer — basically, Joseph needed Mayer to make a lot of mistakes to have a chance to win this fight, and Mayer just didn’t make many.
Mayer won on scores of 99-91, 100-90, and 100-90. BLH also had it 100-90 for Mayer.
“Honestly, ’m a little offended that y’all thought that was gonna be my toughest test to date, because that just means that you guys underestimate me a lot,” Mayer said after the bout. “I still have a lot to show. I am the best in this division. I knew after that first round that she was too slow for me, and I was gonna catch me rhythm and start picking her off.”
Mayer also worked tonight without normal chief second Al Mitchell, who tested positive for COVID-19, with Kay Koroma filling in in the corner. Mayer smiled when asked what Mitchell will tell her on the phone.
“He’s my biggest critic, so even though I won every round, I probably didn’t work the body enough, and there were moments I abandoned my jab at times,” she said. “I know he’s gonna say that off the bat, but I think all in all he’ll be happy.”
Mayer is now focused on landing a title fight at 130 pounds, and said promoter Bob Arum is going to go after it. Her main target in the media has been Terri Harper, the WBC titleholder, who is promoted by Matchroom Boxing.
“Bob said, ‘Great fight, next one will be for the title,’ so I’m gonna hold him to that,” Mayer said. “We’ve been trying to get a world title fight for a while now. I said, ‘Alright, let’s do it, don’t let Eddie Hearn out-buy us.’”
The last bit is a reference to Mayer and Top Rank getting beaten to a fight with Eva Wahlstrom, the former WBC titleholder, who dropped the title to Harper in February, after Hearn made Wahlstrom a stronger offer than Top Rank did. The 23-year-old Harper (10-0, 5 KO) is currently set to defend against Natasha Jonas on Aug. 7.
Clay Collard TKO-2 LT Nelson
Clay Collard continues making his case to be the 2020 Fighter of the Year. Collard has been a diehard sensation in 2020, scoring two televised upsets over unbeaten teenage prospects which came after a win over a different unbeaten prospect in January on a FITE TV streamed event. He’s emerging as something of a cult hero, and in a period where there isn’t a whole lot of “fun” happening in the world, let alone just boxing, Clay Collard has been someone just plain enjoyable to follow.
He got an A-side role in this fight, and he battered LT Nelson, scoring three knockdowns en route to a second round stoppage. Collard (8-2-3, 3 KO) was just significantly better than Nelson (5-4, 4 KO). He put a beating on the underdog and goes to 4-0 in 2020.
“The key is just staying consistent,” Collard said after the fight. “I work hard every day and listen to my coach every day, and he yells at me every day. So it’s just staying consistent and keeping the ball rolling, you know?”
As for whether or not he felt he showed anything new tonight, he did, saying he’s been working on tightening things up.
“I think I fought him a lot more like a boxer,” the former UFC fighter said. “I was picking my shots a little better, not crowding him so much, keeping him at the end of my punches and working my jab. Just boxing, man. Working on my boxing.”
Ruben Cervera UD-6 Clay Burns
Cervera, a 22-year-old lightweight who has been exposed in losses against Miguel Marriaga and Ruben Villa, picked up an OK win in an OK fight here, dropping the energetic Burns (9-9-2, 4 KO) in the opening seconds of the fight, and then once it settled in to be more normal, probably landed the better shots overall, though the punch stats from CompuBox were very close.
Cervera (12-2, 10 KO) is young, but this being maybe his best win to date isn’t saying a ton. I like Burns, always happy to see him fight on the prelims, scrappy guy, but a .500 fighter, obviously, and not really “better” than his record, just always game. But this was perfectly watchable, Burns drops to 0-2 in The Bubble, having also lost to Reymond Yanong in a good fight on June 25, while this is Cervera’s first win in the United States in three tries, and makes him 2-2 outside of Colombia (he also won a fight in Mexico last October).
Javier Martinez UD-4 Jonathan Burrs
This was the pro debut for Martinez, a 24-year-old middleweight standout as an amateur, at least in the U.S. where he was a five-time national champ, but wasn’t picked for the 2020 (now 2021) Olympic team and decided to go pro, finally signing last month with Top Rank.
He’s a tall southpaw from Milwaukee, and he did mostly as expected here, taking unanimous 40-36 scores to win his first paid outing. He showed some nice body work at times, which Burrs (2-2, 0 KO) didn’t seem to like much at all, and maybe Martinez could have done more of that and gotten Burrs out, but he got some rounds in and never struggled much. It’s tough to project him; he’s a little old at pro debut, not that 24 is old, but it’s old for a top-level pro debut unless the fighter was some outstanding international amateur, which Martinez was not. I’d say best course is to not expect the world, but keep an eye on him. He does have talent.