Golden Boy Promotions came through on a promise they made in January 2016 at the WBC Female National Convention in Tijuana, that of signing and promoting female boxers. After signing their first female boxer, 2012 Olympic flyweight bronze medalist Marlen Esparza from Houston, Texas, they set her up to win her first fight. With all the support needed and millions waiting to see her perform, she did as expected when facing her 26-year-old, 5’1” tall, 109 lb. opponent, southpaw Rachel “The Black Widow” Sazoff on Thursday evening March 23, at the Fantasy Springs Casino, Indio, Calif.
Esparza won every round on her way to the easy victory. Sazoff, who hails from Hamilton Township, New Jersey, impressed no one, unless that onlooker is a fan of a fighter showing tremendous heart while getting punished one nasty blow after another. Without any boxing background, Sazoff resembled someone in their first fight, not their first pro fight but first Amateur bout. As a student of the sport, the very first thing you’re supposed to learn is how to throw a jab. Sazoff hardly ever used the jab to set anything up. Without a schooled opponent and Sazoff’s head being snapped back continually, we’re going to have to give the popular Olympian a pass on this one. Hopefully Esparza will be fighting a more challenging opponent in her next fight.
At 27 years of age, Esparza has now been boxing for 16 years. Her accomplishments: 180 wins, two losses in the U.S., 8 losses outside the U. S., 12 consecutive U. S. A. Boxing National Amateur Championships, first U. S. woman boxer to medal in the Olympics and Gold Medal winner at the 2014 World Amateur Championships. After all that success, Esparza now has (what we hope are) lucrative endorsement deals with Cover Girl cosmetics and she’s also appeared in several Spanish language television ads promoting Coca-Cola and McDonalds.
With better opponents on the horizon, Esparza needs to be better prepared. Improvements to be made? 1) Esparza neglected to braid her hair and since there is no headgear in the Pro ranks, her hair was flying every which way and ended up in her face obstructing her vision. 2) Esparza needs to stay on weight which means weighing in at 105 to 108 lbs., the weight limits for a Light Flyweight/Junior Flyweight. For this bout, she weighed in at 110 lbs. 3) In the final round, Esparza had the hair in her face plus her hands down by her side. A good female boxer/puncher from Tijuana could have exploited that opportunity and put Esparza on her back. You don’t often get second chances in the Pros. You do it right the first time and every time.
End of the preaching to the choir. Joe Vargas, the Arena’s head boxing coach, likes the 27-year-old Marlen Esparza and says we should all get behind her – get on her bandwagon. And I quote: “Do what ever you can to promote her career because she is a delight – a wonderful person.” Joe fails to realize, that the 28-year-old Ibeth “La Roca” Zamora Silva, the reigning WBC Female Light Flyweight Champion of the World, who lives in San Cristobal Huichochitlán, Mexico City, Mexico has an even bigger fan club. Please Joe! Don’t be another Donald Trump and make us choose or even worse turn our backs on the beloved Mexican champion.
Below are some of the stunning photos taken of Marlen Esparza – the first one is actually from the popular Vogue Magazine.