By John J. Raspanti
Melissa McMorrow understands pressure.
Last year, the two-time titleholder traveled to Mexico to face hometown hero, Kenia Enriguez, for the WBO flyweight title.
There’s nothing more difficult in boxing than to defeat another fighter in their backyard.
The odds are stacked against you. The promoter isn’t impartial. The ringside judges are supposed to be unbiased, but that’s highly debatable.
Even if you win the fight, in the eyes of most, you’ll likely lose by decision.
McMorrow understands this better than most. She’s been on the short end of a number dubious decisions in her career.
No matter. McMorrow is a battler. The fight was close for five rounds. McMorrow brought the heat in the second half of the match. She pounded Enriguez with a barrage of blows, but would it be enough for her to get the nod?
For once, yes. McMorrow and her trainer, Eddie Croft, let out a sigh of relief as the decision was announced in favor of the five-foot dynamo.
McMorrow, 35, is returning to Mexico this Saturday to fight Esmeralda Moreno in a 10-round bout. She’s excited to be part of a sanctioned woman’s flyweight tournament, recently created by the WBC.
The decisions from the past are on her mind, but, she also has a plan.
"I have to go out there and win every round,” McMorrow told this writer during an interview a few weeks ago. “I’ve planned my training to really make that happen. I know I’m fighting elevation and judging. I don’t get close rounds. It is what it is.”
Though she’s been disappointed by the judging of her fights in Mexico, McMorrow loves the enthusiasm of the Mexican boxing fans.
"I really like fighting there,” said McMorrow. ”The crowds love boxing. I have a Mexican kind of style. My trainer (Eddie Croft) always says, ’Melissa, you can out Mexican the Mexican.’
Unlike the United States, women’s boxing is big business in Mexico.
"I think boxing gets more exposure there,” said McMorrow. "There’s two sports, soccer and boxing. They like competitive fights. In the United States, there’s this idea that the women’s sports aren’t as interesting to watch as the men’s sports.”
McMorrow recently watched video of her October 22 opponent.
“She’s a good fighter, “ McMorrow said. “I look for the rhythm they (my opponents) bring to a fight--so I can get an idea about timing. I feel that it’s mentally comforting to have some sort of visual."
For once in her career, McMorrow has had a full six weeks to get ready for her fight.
"My plan is to win big,” said McMorrow with a smile. “I always want to knock someone out. I know I have to win every round big. I really plan to bring it. Great cardio, hard punching, I’m going to bring all that.”