Fair or not, Melissa McMorrow won’t quit
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Fair or not, Melissa McMorrow won’t quit
By John J. Raspanti, Doghouse Boxing (Sept 25, 2014)

“Mighty” Melissa McMorrow
“Mighty” Melissa McMorrow
Former WBO and WBIF flyweight champion “Mighty” Melissa McMorrow hasn’t fought in the United States in over three years.

Circumstances have forced McMorrow, and former champions Ava Knight and Ana Julaton, to become road warriors—which is almost always a disadvantage.

Four weeks ago, McMorrow, 33, traveled to Ecatepec, Mexico to face popular Jessica Chavez.

She had a pretty good idea what to expect, after tangling with Mariana Juarez in Pueblo last February.

The fight was close. Juarez used her jab, but McMorrow, although the shorter boxer by five inches, was the aggressor. She appeared to have done enough to deserve the win.

But when the decision was announced as unanimous for Chavez, nobody was surprised.

Understandably, McMorrow was angry.

“I’m still pissed about the last loss because I do not feel that Mariana deserved that decision,” said McMorrow in a press release after the fight.

McMorrow was hoping for a different outcome when she fought Chavez.

“I took the Chavez fight because the scenario of money flowing to the right people was more in my favor,” McMorrow told this writer via email. “Chavez was currently holding the WBC International light flyweight title and we were fighting for the vacant WBC International flyweight title. In the event that Chavez lost, she could still defend her current title and continue to make money for the promoter and the WBC, while I did the same under the flyweight title.

“I thought I would get more of a fair shake because of the different political landscape surrounding the fight. I thought the fight with Chavez was closer than the fight with Juarez because I feel like I landed a higher percentage of shots on Juarez, but many people have told me that the Chavez fight was a clearer victory. It is hard to be unbiased as a fighter, but all the feedback I receive is from Mexicans complaining about how unfair boxing has been to me.”

Granted, most of the fights that McMorrow competes in are closely contested affairs. She’s always moving forward in an aggressive way—and throwing punches. To score points, they have to land. It appeared she connected with more blows than her opponent did.

Other than the last round, in which Chavez landed a good punch that knocked McMorrow back into the ropes, her volume should have given her the edge.

The three Mexican judges didn’t agree. They had Chavez the winner by a combined eight points.

Why can’t McMorrow, who lives in San Jose, Calif., get a fair shake in Mexico?

“There are no checks on authority in boxing-especially in the women's game,” McMorrow said. “I think judges do have a certain amount of bias where they see the home fighter more favorably. Promoters are always marketing shows as MEXCIO vs. USA, so there is always this undertone of nationalism. Also, promoters want to build their fighters.

“In addition, there is a strong connection between the promoters and the WBC. If one group turns their head to something questionable, so does the other. I am not insinuating that either group is corrupt in itself(,)but the joining of the two creates an additional nationalistic force behind every Mexican fighter.”

What about the promoters? Do they put pressure on the judges to score a fight a certain way?

“From what I have seen, the Mexican promoters are kingpins and carry a lot of influence,” said McMorrow. “The same seems to be true for the WBC and notable trainers such as Nacho Berestain, who is the trainer of Jessica Chavez. People seem to want to work with them in hopes of cashing in on something, not because they are being compensated directly.

“It seems more like the, ‘I wanna be the cool kid in school’ dynamic. However, I have no idea what goes on behind the scenes of these promotions and if there is an additional fear factor or money changing hands. Honestly, I am probably a bit too naïve to even really imagine how business transactions in Mexican boxing materialize.”

McMorrow did capture a world title in her opponent’s backyard when she traveled to Frankfurt, Germany, to face undefeated hometown hero Susi Kentikian. After 10 exciting rounds, McMorrow, a decided underdog going into the bout, was declared the split-decision victor.

After two heartbreaks, would she consider returning to Mexico?

“It depends on the opportunity,” McMorrow said. “There is not much women’s boxing happening in other parts of the world. I am confident in my fighting ability and I box because I love it. I still welcome all challenges and continue to want to fight the best.”

And that, in a nutshell, says all you need to know about McMorrow.

She’s a fighter in more ways than one.

- TO WRITE FOR DOGHOUSE BOXING: E-mail John now at: marlow_58@hotmail.com
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