Negotiations are about to begin for arguably the most anticipated match-up in women’s professional boxing history between 14-time, three-division world champion Holly “The Preacher’s Daughter” Holm (32-2-3, 9 KOs) and undefeated Cecilia “First Lady” Braekhus (21-0, 5 KOs), considered by most to be the top two female pound-for-pound boxers in the world, for July in Las Vegas.
Braekhus issued a challenge by way of a video tape shown after Holm’s recent victory against Diana Prazak at Route 66 Casino Hotel in Albuquerque. After introducing herself as the World Boxing Council, World Boxing Association and World Boxing organization welterweight champion, Braekhus said the following, directed to Holm: “I have an important message for you. Your promoter (Lenny Fresquez) has been saying that this fight (vs. Anne Sophie Mathis) confirms that Holly is the No. 1 female fighter in the world. I do understand that you are avoiding me, but listen carefully: next July I will be in Las Vegas. You will meet me there? Let’s find out who is the best female fighter in the world.”
The Colombian-born, Norway-residing Braekhus has fought only once outside of Europe (WDEC6 vs, Nicole Woods) as a professional, in 2008 at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel in Hollywood, Florida. Thirty-four of Holm’s 37 home fights have been in her hometown, Albuquerque, where she regularly sells-out with crowds in excess of 3,000.
“I’d love to fight her to make that happen,” Holm proclaimed as she accepted Braekhus’ challenge. “Lenny (Fresquez) will talk to them. I appreciate her wanting to make the fight, as well; that’s the only way we can get a good fight. Two fighters mutually agreeing to fight is what it comes down to. I’m honored that she has challenged me.
“I would never make a video of myself to send to someone. That’s not my style. I’m open to fighting her, really, wherever. I’ve always been open to fighting, wherever, and I think there’s a big misconception that, oh, I only fight here. I fight here (Albuquerque) because the opportunities have been here, and that’s the bottom line. If there’s an opportunity that it’s going to be in Las Vegas, then, by all means, let’s make it happen.”
Holm and Braekhus, combined, are 33-1-1 in world title fights, as well as 19-1-1 in fights against other world champions (Holm is 22-1-1 and 14-1-1, respectively, Braekhus 11-0 and 5-0). Holm has an overwhelming advantage in experience fighting quality opponents, having defeated a Who’s Who of women boxers, from the light welterweight through light middleweight divisions, including Christy Martin, Jane Couch, Mary Jo Sanders, Chevelle Hallback and Terri Blair twice apiece, Duda Yankovich, Myriam Lamare, and Mia St. John. Braekhus, who has also defeated Hallback, is coming off a 10-round decision over Mathis, whom Holm split two fights with in the past year. An amazing 212 of Holm’s 275 pro rounds fought have been in world championships; Braekhus has 100 of 154
Fresquez hopes that Braekhus and her promoter, Sauerland Boxing, are serious about coming to Las Vegas and fighting Holm. “I’ve been negotiating with them for two years and they’ve avoided Holly,” Fresquez reported. “I sent Katie Sauerland, I think that’s her name, an email but have not gotten a response back. I understand why – Holly is the pound-for-pound champion of the world. Cecilia carries a lot of belts but most are those that Holly vacated. Cecilia is kind of carrying Holly’s leftovers.
“I know who the best fighter is, the reigning Queen of Boxing, Holly Holm! It’s Cecilia’s job to fight Holly and try to take her crown away by beating her. We know that she’s in the top five, pound-for-pound, but Holly is the best. You have to beat the best to be the best.”
The great Lucia Rijker, who trained Prazak for her fight with Holm, added, “That (Holm vs. Braekhus) would be a phenomenal fight.”
Women’s mega-fights are difficult to pull off for a wide variety of reasons. Two perfect examples of mega-fights that failed to materialize are Laila Ali vs. Ann Wolfe and Rijker vs. Martin.
Fresquez is pressing hard to make what potentially could be the greatest fight in women’s boxing history.