Jessica McCaskill cannot wait for the opportunity to end any lingering debate about whether she is a better fighter than Cecilia Braekhus.
McCaskill pulled off a huge upset August 15, when she beat Braekhus by majority decision in their 10-round welterweight title fight. Chicago’s McCaskill left Tulsa, Oklahoma, with the IBF, IBO, WBA, WBC and WBO women’s 147-pound championships and proof that the rough road she navigated as a pro was worthwhile.
As proud as she is of her career-changing victory over the previously unbeaten Braekhus, the 36-year-old McCaskill can’t help but feel she hasn’t been properly credited for defeating the woman who was boxing’s longest-reigning champion entering their fight. A motivated McCaskill wants to make sure there is no doubt about who wins their 10-round rematch Saturday night at American Airlines Center in Dallas.
“That’s definitely the goal,” McCaskill told BoxingScene.com. “I wanna beat her up a lot more than I was able to last time. The movement’s gonna be different, the accuracy is gonna be different. The punch count might even be higher. So, those are some of the key points we wanna highlight.”
McCaskill (9-2, 3 KOs) threw almost exactly 50 punches per round at Braekhus (36-1, 9 KOs), which is especially impressive given that rounds in women’s boxing last just two minutes. CompuBox credited Braekhus for landing one more punch overall, but those unofficial statistics indicated that McCaskill threw nearly twice as many punches as the former champion (85-of-269 to 84-of-499).
“I felt like my output was massive,” McCaskill said during a virtual press conference recently. “The punch count showed that, almost 500 punches for the whole fight, which was good. We do count punches here in the gym, so I kind of have a feel for what I’m putting out in the actual ring. So, I felt like I had edged it over and I felt like I showed a lot more drive, and just willingness to take it.”
The 39-year-old Braekhus believes she should’ve retained her titles. The Colombian-born, Norway-based boxer told BoxingScene.com that, at worst, their fight should’ve been scored a draw.
Judges David Sutherland (97-93) and Gerald Ritter (97-94) credited McCaskill with a decisive victory. Judge Karen Holderfield scored their closely contested bout a draw, 95-95.
Braekhus, who went off as an 8-1 favorite versus McCaskill, exercised her contractual right to an immediate rematch soon after suffering her first defeat. That was fine by McCaskill, who went back to the gym the week after she beat Braekhus.
“I’m really excited about showing what we’ve been working on,” McCaskill said. “We’ve been working tirelessly on different combinations and a lot of pressure. I mean, my confidence is through the roof and I can’t wait to show that.”
DAZN will stream the McCaskill-Braekhus rematch immediately before its main event, another rematch between Mexico’s Juan Francisco Estrada (41-3, 28 KOs) and Nicaragua’s Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez (50-2, 41 KOs).
Estrada, 30, and Gonzalez, 33, are set to fight for Estrada’s WBC and Gonzalez’s WBA 115-pound championships. Gonzalez defeated Estrada by unanimous decision in their 12-round, 108-pound title fight in November 2012 at the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.