(AUG 7) After more than four years of reflection, I can only conclude one
thing: I must have hit Christy Martin too hard.
I faced and defeated Christy Martin in
December of 1998 in a ten round contest. It was my twelfth fight as a
pro and that fight established my name on the landscape of women's
boxing. Martin is credited as being a pioneer of women's boxing,
a profession that I have been a part of since 1996.
When I first heard that Christy Martin was
going to fight Laila Ali, I dug up an article that Christy wrote in 2002
titled How Women Hurt Women’s Boxing.
I have never forgotten Martin's article because the hypocrisy of the title
compared to her actions make me laugh. While Martin was receiving the
accolades of helping bring women’s boxing to a greater viewing audience,
many of her actions since her debut on the cover of Sports Illustrated
mirrored exactly what her article was critical of!! While I found the
irony a bit amusing, I also found Martin's actions to be damaging. Martin
herself was, and is, in fact hurting women's boxing.
Christy’s article and many interviews, are filled with a preponderance of
contradictions and inconsistencies that I really think I hit her too hard
in December 1998.
Many people in the press ridiculed the Ali/Martin press conference as a
hair pulling ‘catfight.’ I feel it was a final, desperate, strategically
staged attempt by Martin to con the public into buying another PPV fight.
She remembers her last PPV numbers because she never got paid, and
realizes that her ability to draw a crowd is not what it used to be. I
KO’d Lisa Holewyne in five rounds (who Christy went the distance with) in
Detroit the month before Martin/ St. John fought in the same city. As a
main event, Lisa and I drew a crowd of 10,000+ people, and all that St.
John/Martin could draw in the same city the following month was about 500.
Martin and St. John claimed, at the time, to be the biggest names in
women’s boxing. How come the two “biggest” names in women’s boxing,
fighting each other, couldn’t sell a measly 500 tickets? I have to applaud
boxing fans for seeing through the sham that the Martin/St. John bout
turned out to be.
In an interview on www.insidewomensboxing.com interview, she said that she
“didn’t fight for the money, but for pride.” First of all, the Martin/St.John
fiasco was motivated by greed. Period. The end. It was not a professional
challenge and did not reflect the realities of supply & demand in the
sport. The same can be said for Martin/Ali.
Secondly, if she fought in the ring for pride, she would rematch me. If
she were in it for pride, she couldn’t stand to have someone beat her and
not try to avenge the loss. Maybe she won’t rematch me because I made her
cry on national TV in her post fight interview. Maybe she won’t rematch me
because she left the ring with a towel over her head, sunglasses on, and
had to go to the emergency room for the first time in her life after a
fight. Maybe she won’t rematch me because her eyes were swollen shut for
weeks after the fight. Maybe she won’t rematch me because her jaw was sore
for a month. It must have been really hard for her to accept her defeat
against someone with the limited experience that I had.
No one likes to lose, but you never forget taking a beating. I am not
saying these things to brag. I could have said all this almost FIVE years
ago when I beat her. I am stating the facts now because she uses excuses
and lies about why she really won’t fight me again.
In September 2000, veteran fighter Britt Van Buskirk won a split decision
over me in her backyard. After I lost, I had to wait ONE YEAR before I got
a chance to rematch Britt. But it was pride for me, because I knew that
when I lost, it wasn’t because she beat me, it was because I beat myself.
“The toughest opponent is the one you see in the mirror.” ~unknown. But I
didn’t whine about it. I accepted my loss graciously, congratulated the
winner and her team, and just hoped for the chance to fight her again. Not
only did I rematch her once and win, but twice, so there would be no
questions in my mind.
If Martin isn’t in it for money, as she claimed, why is she fighting
someone who weighs 20+ more pounds than her? Hmmm. Maybe it is because the
fighter has the last name Ali and that will draw more attention and more
money for Christy. Maybe, no matter the outcome, Christy will always have
an EXCUSE, “She weighed so much more than I did.” Maybe it is because she
is doing anything she can to avoid ‘cleaning out’ her own weight division
because she knows she CAN’T.
In another interview, Christy was asked about the weight difference
between Laila and herself. First, on www.boxinginsider.com, she said, “I
have fought taller and heavier opponents before and whipped them all.”
When has she fought someone heavier? Who? I was ¾ of a pound heavier. No
one has been close to Laila’s size.
She then used Jones/Ruiz as an example of a smaller fighter beating a
bigger fighter. “Certainly if Roy Jones is the best male fighter
"pound-for-pound," and I'm the best female fighter "pound-for-pound," then
you can see the situations mirror each other." Roy Jones Jr. moved up to
heavy weight AFTER becoming the undisputed champ of his own weight class.
Roy avoided no one. It’s an insult to Roy Jones Jr. comparing her to him.
The only pound-for-pound title Christy holds now is for contradicting
Here’s another quote from this interview. “Martin says upsets happen in
sports all the time and points to the stunning British Open victory by
relatively unknown Ben Curtis on Sunday.” Hmmm. Seems like she’s
“conveniently” forgotten the biggest upset in women’s boxing was when the
relatively unknown ‘Island Girl’ defeated the poster girl of women’s
boxing--‘The Coal Miner’s Daughter.’ She then offered Ben Curtis ringside
seats as her guest. Does that offer stand for me, too, Christy? Ha Ha.
She was quoted “If she <Ali> wants to prove she’s the best, then she’ll
fight me.” Christy, did I really hit you that hard? Beating Christy now
proves what? That a fighter on the way down can be beat by a much heavier
fighter on the way up. The most recent proof that Christy has past her
better days is Mia ‘running’ the distance with Christy. In an interview
with Michael Rosenthal of the LA Daily News, Christy said she didn’t train
properly for the fight with St. John, and that she didn’t fight as hard as
she could have. Isn’t that conning the fans again when she’d
predicted/promised a KO of St. John? WHY should she get paid $300,000 for
admitting that she did NOT train properly and that she did NOT fight as
hard as she could have?????
Christy claimed she was playing possum to lure Ali in the ring, when
bottom line, it was only an excuse for her poor performance. Period. The
end. It wasn’t the first time she has been out of shape, but on some of
those other occasions she was fighting featherweights and inexperienced
fighters with losing records. At Christy’s peak, years ago, Mia couldn’t
have run one round with her. But Christy’s getting older, and her
motivation to train is obviously not what it used to be. That is a reality
ALL fighters will face if they stay in the sport too long. Now Christy is
trying to live off the reputation of the old ‘Coal Miner’s Daughter.’
Christy brought up yet another inconsistency in her article How Women Hurt
Women’s Boxing when she said “Some fights are made because the public
wants to see them and are not necessarily the best match-ups.” Martin/St.
John proved to not be the best match-up, but, obviously, the public did
not want to pay to see it either.
Martin/Rijker was another story; the public
wanted that bout for years, and given Martin's position in the sport,
at the time, she could have made that bout happen.
Anani (l) Martin (r)
Christy chose not to! The public wants a
Martin/Anani rematch, but everyone knows that will never happen. Instead,
Christy LIED (liar, liar, pants on fire) and said that I wanted a million
dollars for a rematch. So instead of fighting who the public wants to see
her fight, as she claims, she is trying to CON the public into buying
another fight on PPV with someone outside her weight division. If she were
so sure that the public was clamoring for Martin/Ali, would the ‘catfight’
at the press conference really have been necessary? Incidentally,
the Rijker/Anani bout was voted 2nd in
the WBAN poll most wanted fights. Let’s give the fans what they
Christy contradicts herself so many times. I’m convinced that I hit her
too hard and too many times.
Women’s boxing is spelled with an e-----women; not an a-----woman. This
sport would be nowhere without the dedication of many. This is another
reason why I feel Christy Martin almost single handedly stunted the sport
of women’s boxing. She became representative of the entire sport, but made
it clear that she wasn’t interested in promoting the sport, only herself.
She was very adamant, from the beginning in the Sports Illustrated
article, that she was “not out to make a statement about women in boxing,
or even women in sports. I’m not trying to put women in the forefront.
This is about Christy Martin.” But then, reading through the interview
with www.insidewomensboxing.com, Christy contradicted herself again by
saying that the reason she was interested in fighting St. John was because
Mia “is tearing down all the work I’ve put into women’s boxing.” Eeny
meeny miney moe. Which is it?
In July, on www.fightnews.com, Ralph Gonzalez attended the Perfect 10
press conference for Martin/Ali in LA. “The two women posed off with a
glass barrier between them in order to keep them separated. Ali on the
outside while Martin stayed on the inside and made a throat slashing
gesture.” Hmmm…more proof that I hit Christy too hard…she forgets the last
time she made that ‘throat slashing gesture.’ She made that same gesture
to my trainer right before the introductions in the ring and ten rounds
before I ……………… if history repeats itself, I think that ‘throat slashing
gesture’ is a good omen for Laila.
The final shred of evidence of is this. I’d make this the No. 1 reason on
the top ten list on Late Night with David Letterman of why I know I
definitely hit Christy Martin too hard. She complains in every interview
when asked about our bout that I used “street fighting” tactics to win.
She has forgotten that she’s won many of her fights using these same
“street fighting” tactics. She knows that I can box too, because I’m sure
she’s seen some of my other fights, notably the Denise Moraetes and Jane
Couch bouts on ESPN. She’s upset that I won, and not only fought HER
fight, but beat her in her prime!! She should just be thankful that the
timekeeper “accidentally” stopped the final round 21 seconds early.
Maybe in a rematch, I could knock some memory and some sense back into her
head. A press release said, “After almost 14 years in the ring, Christy
Martin is ready for anything that the sweet science could possibly throw
at her.” Well, she’s obviously not ready for anything I throw at her!! "I
have the biggest heart in boxing," Christy said. "... I have no fear." Do
the contradictions in her words and actions ever stop? How is avoiding a
rematch with me showing the big heart she claims she has?
Women’s boxing would be on a whole new level like women’s basketball or
soccer, and Christy would be leaving a different legacy if she had
supported the sport when she was at the top.
Her actions that got her on the cover of Sports Illustrated initially
helped women’s boxing, but then her choice to represent the sport by not
fighting the best hurt women’s boxing. She had the opportunity to do some
real good for both herself and the sport. She can’t take credit for
women’s boxing becoming so popular without acknowledging the big part she
played in the decline of the sport, as well. Her lack of concern for the
sport did put money in her bank account, but it did not help the sport
itself. “We are not here to merely make a living. We are here to enrich
the world, and we impoverish ourselves if we forget this errand.” ~~
Woodrow T. Wilson. She could have gone down in history as a great female
fighter in her time. Period.
I think she is one person, of many, who believes on some level that there
are scarce resources available. People with these unconscious thought
patterns cling possessively to the money, the attention, the
opportunities, the success, they even cling to love because they fear
there is a limited supply. People with these thought patterns think that
if someone else ‘gets a piece of the pie’, then there won’t be any for
them. The truth is…the Universe is very bountiful and there is enough for
In spite of all of Christy’s lies and damaging behavior, I feel compassion
for her. At one time, she was looked up to as an inspiration to me and
other female fighters. The way that she chooses to represent this sport
now is embarrassing. The damage she continues to do only manifests greed,
untruth, and corruption in a sport that is already infested with them. The
really sad part is people I meet tell me they watch her fight now because
they want to see her get beat up. But Christy was certainly right about
one thing—women do hurt women’s boxing. But she needs to turn that finger
of blame at herself.
You can contact Sumya through her UPDATED website (with pictures now) at
www.sumya.com. She will do her best to
respond between doing the dishes, playing Make-Me-Laugh with her son, and
‘sparring’ with her German Shepherd.