The Saturday Matchroom card topped by the Chocolatito Gonzalez versus Juan Francisco Estrada sequel is more than a one-trick pony put forth by promoter Eddie Hearn.
For more than a few folks, the Cecilia Brækhus vs. Jessica McCaskill rematch is their main event.
The Norway resident Braekhus, age 39, vowed to ‘take back what’s mine’ during this fight week as the 36 year old McCaskill made clear she thinks she will go 2-for-2 against the ultra-respected veteran.
Both tangoes, and some other good-on-paper scraps play out at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, TX, live worldwide on DAZN. McCaskill on Friday weighed 144.6 and Braekhus 145 on the dot for this battle, set for two pounds under the usual welterweight limit, same as for the first face-off.
Go back in time; you recall back in August, in Oklahoma, Brækhus (36-1 9 KOs) suffered the first loss of her career compliments of McCaskill in Tulsa.
The Norwegian after tasting the L supplied by the lady from Chicago hinted at retirement in her post-fight remarks. But that was a brief wisp of thought which touched down and then quickly jetted, apparently.
“I know I am a better fighter than Jessica in every possible way – I’m back for me,” said Brækhus this week. “I’ve done it all in boxing; first undisputed women’s champion, first Ring Magazine champion, sold out arenas, hit one million viewers, sold Pay-Per-Views – Saturday is just about taking the belts back because I am better. I’ve been in so many fights in my career and I knew that I did enough to win the first fight.”
She confessed that she let her guard down a bit.
“I was a little bit naive,”Braekhus (below, left, in Ed Mulholland photo for Matchroom) said. “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. I feel calm and I am ready to get my belts back.”
McCaskill is in Texas with a 9-2, 3 KOs record.
Is she that extra measure of confident after winning the belts off someone so highly regarded as Braekhus?
Or does she have a sneaking suspicion, which she tries not to linger on, that Braekhus might not have done her finest prep ever for the Tusla bout?
Brækhus is 36-1 9 KOs; she's listened as McCaskill has done a solid job stirring the pot, getting fans more pumped to check out the sequel.
“This is the biggest retirement party DAZN has ever hosted – there’s probably going to be cake and juice afterwards,” said McCaskill, gaining a point for directness which might be the slightest bit useful, in undermining Braekhus' ego.
“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.”
McCaskill (below) showed her Chicago-style grit and fearlessnes, when she added, “I think she’s been struggling since the loss. I don’t know what she is going to do on fight night because we’re coming. I have a b-side mentality, we’re grinding for this, we’re not getting any handouts for this, she’s going to have to fight tooth and nail for anything.”
McCaskill-Braekhus 2 goes on before the Juan Francisco Estrada (41-3 28 KOs) versus Roman ‘Chocolatito' Gonzalez (50-2 41 KOs) bout, for the record.
I gave the final word here to a member of Team Braekhus, because I think vets should be rewarded for longevity now and again.
Trainer Abel Sanchez from Big Bear, CA was comfortable telling me he thinks his fighter Breakhus will be that much better this time, and will take the W, and those belts back.
“McCaskill knows Cecilia was not at her best that first fight, all the talk is to convince herself she belongs in the same ring with the GOAT in women’s boxing,” Sanchez told me.
“Cecilia's accomplishments speak for themselves, others would hope to come close to matching them. It should be a better fight, the first one was not.”