When an opportunity comes knocking at your door, you take it. Jessica McCaskill was rewarded for doing just that, beating Cecilia Braekhus last August to become the undisputed welterweight champion. It was a historical fight that saw both women give it their all.
Now, they will look to run it back on March 13 from inside the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. A lot is riding on this fight, which has turned into a true rivarly in some eyes.
Braekhus, one of the top boxers on the planet, was ready to break Joe Louis’ record for most consecutive title defenses. She first won gold, the WBA and WBC Welterweight Titles, in 2009. “The First Lady” would add more gold over time and defend the titles 25 times in a row. Losing the fight to the 36-year-old McCaskill via majority decision, the 39-year-old is ready to reclaim her status as champion.
“I’ve been in so many fights in my career and I knew that I did enough to win the first fight,” Braekhus stated during Matchroom media day. “I was a little bit naive. I didn’t consider that I was on her home turf, I won’t make that mistake again. Those belts are rightfully mine and I want to make a statement on Saturday, I’ll be completely different from the last fight, I’m in peak shape and I am happy.”
Braekhus, who has nine wins via knockout, was contemplating retirement following the fight. If it happened, she would have still been considered one of the most influential athletes in the world. Braekhus instead opted to stay active, but not fight anyone else before the rematch. Motivated, Braekhus is ready to show she still has some tricks up her sleeve.
The win was a career-defining moment for McCaskill, who holds the WBA and WBC Super-Lightweight Titles. Following a loss to Katie Taylor in 2017, McCaskill won three in a row before facing Braekhus. From Chicago, McCaskill was praised for how she was able to outmaneuver someone considered unstoppable for years.
Thanks to her skills, as well as guidance provided by Rick Ramos, the world was able to witness a historical moment come into play. McCaskill is ready to prove her win was no fluke. She is also looking to expose some doubts Braekhus may have, especially following the tease of retirement.
“This is the biggest retirement party DAZN has ever hosted – there’s probably going to be cake and juice afterwards,” McCaskill would say. “This is going to be it. She’s the one that alluded to it after losing in Tulsa, she seemed super relieved after losing and I am just giving her what she wants.
“Once someone shows that weakness, shows they are not in it and talks retirement, that shows that they are mentally out of the game. We’ve never been given a whole lot; we’ve taken really big risks and they have gotten us to those higher places. I don’t want to take on anyone else’s legacy, I’m building my own and making history every step of the day and that’s what I want to continue to do.”
This fight is much more personal compared to the first clash on the literal streets of Tulsa, Oklahoma. During a heated e-press conference not long ago, Braekhus made sure to tell McCaskill that their resumes are completely different. McCaskill also called out Braekhus’ team for not preparing her for a loss. The former wants the credit for beating a world champion and another win could end up doing that.
Despite taking Braekhus’ status as the undisputed champion, McCaskill doesn’t want anyone to think it is a temporary position she is in. She also doesn’t want any comparisons between the two.
“We’ve never been given a whole lot, we’ve taken really big risks and they have gotten us to those higher places, I haven’t been given anything, I don’t want to take on anyone else’s legacy, I’m building my own and making history every step of the day and that’s what I want to continue to do,” McCaskill stated during the e-press conference.”
As far as how the fight can go, McCaskill is coming into this as the younger fighter, but with less experience. Her hunger, however, thanks to her experience fighting in and out of the ring, is something to look into. Braekhus ended up looking better in the later rounds following a questionable first few rounds last time out. Her movement is still there and she can still land volume shots.
If both fighters, especially Braekhus, are truly motivated, it won’t be an easy rematch for either. Even with shorter rounds, these women are ready for another battle to remember, while also proving a point.