is an adage in high stakes poker that advises, "If, after a half hour, you
don't know who the weakest player at the table is, get out of there fast".
Mia St John may have taken that advice when she backed out of her bout
with Lucia Rijker, scheduled for June 21, underneath the Lennox Lewis/Kirk
Johnson fight. St John's nominal explanation for "getting out of there
fast" was that the bout was not going to be televised and the money was
lacking. Another reason might be that St John realized just how weak a
hand she was playing by stepping into the ring against Rijker.
Throughout her career, St John has exhibited a distinct lack of punching
power. Although she has 13 KOs to her credit, those were achieved against
opposition that was barely deserving of the label. In her last two
fights, St John dropped decisions, in December, to a clearly out-of-form
Christy Martin and, in April, to Jenifer Alcorn. Neither of those
decisions could be termed "disputed". Nonetheless, confirming the maxim
that a celebrity is "someone who is famous for being famous", St John was
propelled into a coveted spot on the undercard of the Lennox Lewis bout
against Lucia Rijker. That the fight was in Los Angeles seemed to confirm
that "celebrity" had much to do with St John landing on the card.
Rijker, on the other hand, has had a quixotic several years. Once
considered the "baddest woman on the planet", she campaigned relentlessly,
and, ultimately, unsuccessfully, to get into the ring with Christy Martin.
Rijker, to date, has fought only four rounds in just under the last four
years. She has established a record of backing out of fights for a variety
of reasons and even prior to the bout with St John being announced, a
report circulated that Rijker was going to fight Jane Couch in Holland on
June 8. The possibility exists that this Rijker/Couch matchup could be
moved to June 21, now that St John has "gotten up from the table".
Couch would seem to present a ideal opponent for Rijker. Couch, a seasoned
veteran and a resolute fighter, comes straight ahead and lacks devastating
punching power, a combination made to order for the Lucia Rijker of
several years ago. Once the bell rings, Couch will certainly not be
difficult for Rijker to find, presuming, of course, that Rijker's long
period of inactivity has not dulled the intense style that resulted in
fifteen straight wins.
Sumya Anani has also been suggested as an opponent for Rijker on the June
21st card. Anani currently occupies the spot in the sport of Women's
boxing that Rijker once held. Anani may be the best female fighter in the
ring today, she certainly is the best in the welterweight division, by a
wide margin. Before Rijker even thinks about stepping in with Anani, Lucia
needs to test herself against other less dangerous opponents and guage,
realistically, where she is, physically, as a result of the long period
Thus, what can be expected on June 21? Lalia Ali and Valerie Mahfood are
already on the undercard in a rematch of their one-sided bout, that Ali
dominated last November. And, while Mahfood has promised to "bring some
changes" this time, it is hard to imagine any way in which she can
overcome what is obviously a unfavorable matchup for an intrepid fighter.
Add to this the fact that HBO, with its usual Luddite programming view
towards Women's boxing, will probably not "air" any of the Women's matches
and it would seem that the angst being expended about filling the card
with an opponent for Lucia Rijker may be "much ado" about something that
will never get on the air.
Its probably preferable that Rijker and Couch either keep their original
June 8 date in Holland, or match up later in the Summer on ESPN, Fox
Sports or the undercard of a PPV bout. If Rijker can prove that she is
still the force she once was, there are several compelling bouts in her
future; Sunshine Fettskether and Fredia Gibbs to mention two. If Rijker
gets through those two formidable foes, Mount Anani awaits. Mia St John?
She was smart enough to "get up from the table" before the Rijker bout and
she might now give some thought to working her way back up the ladder of
the sport, like most fighters coming off two straight losses. Kristy
Follmar and Rolanda Andrews sound like a couple of good places to start.
Unfortunately, its probably inevitable that the next time a prime spot
opens up for a Women's boxing bout, the name of Mia St John will be one of
the first ones called to the table. She might even be "sitting in" with
the likes of Anani, Fettskether, Gibbs and Couch when, where she really
belongs is at the "penny ante" table. Bernie McCoy
Anani Will Fight Mia..By Sue TL Fox - May 26, 2003
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Speaking of Rijker..What is UP with the June 8th card in Amsterdam?..By Sue TL Fox - May 26, 2003
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Another Challenge to
Rijker...No, NO Excuses
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