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*Holly Holm’s Last Hurrah?

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  • *Holly Holm’s Last Hurrah?

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    By Ted Sares

    There are rumors that a fight between unified world lightweight champion Katie Taylor and former boxer Holly Holm might be in the works.

    As Cillian Cunningham, the MMA writer for Pundit Arena, points out, “The Preacher’s Daughter” [Holm] holds an extensive and decorated history in the sport of boxing…. With a (33-2-3) record and eighteen successful title-defenses across three different weight-classes, boxing website BoxRec rates her as the ninth-greatest female boxer of all-time.”

    Despite fighting only three of her 38 professional fights outside of her home state of New Mexico, Holly was The Ring magazine's Female Fighter of the Year in 2005 and 2006.

    That was then.

    Now she is 37 and, at least in the sport of MMA, she is nearing the twilight of her illustrious, albeit grueling two-sport career. In recent years, she has had cage wars with Meisha Tate and “Cyborg,” and most recently suffered a savage loss at the hands of Amanda “Lioness” Nunes, done in by a vicious head kick in the opening round. This quick dispatching took place at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, July 6, 2019.

    Calling it a “nightmare” loss, this is how Holly reacted: “I always say I get to live the life of a dream. I never actually dreamed of getting kicked in the face, that’s never part of my dream…That’s like the nightmare part, living a little nightmare, wake up every morning like, ‘Yup, that’s real, that just happened.’ But I just want you guys to know I’m feeling good and I know one thing: I’m still pushing forward. A lot of heartbreak right now, but I’m doing fine. I just want you guys to know I appreciate the love and support. And if you would like to have free lip filler, just get kicked in the face.”

    As someone pointed out, Holly has pretty much used up the massive capital she gained by beating heavily favored and hugely touted Ronda Rousey in 2015. Rousey, by contrast, has shrewdly converted her career into a number of profitable ventures including different forms of pro wrestling, acting, and writing. Holm, not so much so.

    Holly, who is 2-5 in her last seven Octagon appearances and 0-4 in her last four title shots, has begun to show the effects of her wars as she now has the features of someone who has weathered too many hard knocks. Getting another title shot is going to be daunting. Maybe it is time to return to boxing and maybe a fight with Katie Taylor makes sense, but she hasn’t appeared in the squared circle since 2103 when she beat Mary McGee.

    Over the years as a boxer, she fought and beat the stiffest opposition imaginable, beating the likes of Chevelle Hallback, Diana Prazak, Mary Jo Sanders, Belinda Laracuente, Ann Saccurato, Jane Couch, Mia St John, and Christy Martin.

    However, in 2011, she suffered one of the most brutal knockouts in female boxing history at the hands of Anne Sophie Mathis (25-1). After testing each other early with heavy stuff, things heated up and then the savagery began in the sixth round when referee Rocky Burke wrongly called a clear and hard knockdown of Holm a slip. A then semi-helpless Holm received a nonstop onslaught from the rugged Frenchwoman and was saved by the bell. She was on “Queer Street” as she wobbled back to her corner on legs of jello as the crowd shouted “Holly, Holly.” Inexplicably, she was sent out for the seventh round where she took incredible punishment and ended up like a semiconscious rag doll with only the ropes to keep her up.

    The referee then untangled Holm from the ropes and unbelievably allowed the eager Mathis to render a molar rattling KO that left Holly unconscious. It was terrible to witness. In fact, this writer had that same helpless feeling he had when a seemingly paralyzed referee allowed Roberto Duran to pummel Davey Moore at will years ago. (As for the final blow, it was reminiscent of James “The Heat” Kinchen’s free shot KO bomb against Alex Ramos in 1984.)

    This was Holly’s first loss since 2004, a span of 24 fights. In that one, her corner threw in the towel due to cuts. They should have thrown in the towel in this one as well.

    “What part of white towel didn’t they get?”—Anonymous

    The two fought again on June 15, 2012, for Mathis's various welterweight titles. Bearing witness to her greatness, Holm won a unanimous decision, avenging her KO loss. The fact that the first fight was not career-altering for Holly remains a testament to her grit.

    Back to Taylor

    Katie Taylor (14-0) is coming off a thin and controversial MD win against Belgium’s Delfine Persoon in June in which she became only the third female boxer in history (following Cecilia Braekhus and Claressa Shields) to hold all four major title belts. Since then, she has been weighing her options and now a fight with Holm has become one of them. If it materializes, the Irish fighter and former Olympian will be a big favorite to get a premier notch on her belt. Conversely, should Holly pull off a win, she could retire on a tremendous up-note and restore whatever luster she lost during her recent missteps in mixed martial arts.

    Holly vows to stay around and maybe boxing will become the allure. The key question: Does she have anything left in a boxing ring given that her last fight was in 2013?

    We know the answer for the always fit and ready Taylor who says, “…I think for the first time in the history of women’s sport people are actually seeing the best of women’s boxing, seeing the best of women’s football and that’s why we are in the position we are in. To be actually living in the middle of all this now is actually incredible. It’s very, very exciting.”

    Nostalgia says Holm. Reality says otherwise.

    Ted Sares is a member of Ring 8, a lifetime member of Ring 10, and a member of Ring 4 and its Boxing Hall of Fame. He also is an Auxiliary Member of the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA). He is an active power lifter and Strongman competitor in the Master Class.

    Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel

  • #2
    Ade Makinde posts from London: "Interesting. Many boxing fans celebrated her win over Rousey like she was one of their own. Her footwork and maneuverings were reminiscent of a fancy dan taking on a brawler. But my understanding is that she did not get the "love" back. Boxing didn't treat her right: low wages, minimal recognition etc."

    Ade is correct.

    Jos Pasquale says, "
    good stuff! Thanx ted"

    Thanks Joe


    • Kid Blast
      Kid Blast commented
      Editing a comment
      Pokergasmic says, She is definitely the best boxer in the MMA. She can kick like a mule, too! Just ask Ronda Rousey.

  • #3
    I posted this when I distributed this article: These are at least three who could use some help.
    Last edited by Kid Blast; 07-12-2019, 12:11 PM. Reason: Three who could use help.


    • #4
      A lot of people thought Taylor lost to Persoon. However anyone saw the contest, it was an excellent and thoroughly entertaining fight. As far as who won or lost was inconclusive. Taylor's stock certainly took a hit though and she needs that rematch (and a more definitive performance) to put her back in line to be able to demand more money to fight other stars as well as names. Personally, I don't put much to any rumors on a Taylor-Holm fight as I think those around Taylor know she first needs to take care of business against Persoon before her career can move forward.


      • Kid Blast
        Kid Blast commented
        Editing a comment
        Hmmmm. You may well be correct, but then, what does poor Holly do? Maybe retire is the thing for her.