The road to titles can travel a lot of paths.

In women’s boxing, those paths can go in some wild directions. 

Amanda Serrano, currently the featherweight champion of the world, has won titles in every weight class from junior bantamweight (115 pounds) to junior welterweight (140 pounds). She won her title in the latter one fight before the former, moving down nearly twenty-five pounds for the feat.

The defending champion in the main event Saturday (ESPN+, 2 PM EST) hasn't traveled as wild a route, but consider how Natasha Jonas arrived at her current welterweight title. She drew in a challenge of then-junior lightweight titlist Terri Harper, lost her next fight in challenging Katie Taylor for the lightweight crown, and then two fights later won a title at junior middleweight.

It was part of a 2022 campaign that saw Jonas win three belts at 154 pounds, nearly unifying the division, before moving back down last year to win a belt at welterweight. 

The challenger has gone a more orthodox, if rapid route. Mikaela Mayer, a 2016 US Olympian, won a belt at junior lightweight and lost it in a unification match versus Alycia Baumgardner. Here she is after rebound wins that saw her gradually move from lightweight to welterweight, chasing a second crown. 

Whose path will arrive at glory this weekend?

Let’s get into it. 

Stats and Stakes

Natasha Jonas

Age: 39

Titles: Ring Magazine Jr. Middleweight (2022-Present, 0 Defenses); IBF Welterweight (2023-Present, 1st Attempted Defense)

Previous Titles: WBO Jr. Middleweight (2022-23, 2 Defenses); WBC Super Welterweight (2022-23, 1 Defense); IBF Jr. Middleweight (2022-23) 

Height: 5’8 

Weight: 146 lbs.

Stance: Southpaw

Hails from: Liverpool, England

Record: 14-2-1, 9 KO, 1 KOBY

Press Rankings: #2 (, #3 (BoxRec)

Record in Major Title Fights: 4-1-1, 2 KO

Last Five Opponents: 71-22-4 (.753)

Notable Outcomes, Ring and/or Rated Foes: Terri Harper D10; Katie Taylor L10; Chris Namus TKO2; Patricia Berghult UD10; Marie Eve Dicaire UD10

Additional Current/Former Titlists Faced: None


Mikaela Mayer 

Age: 33

Current Titles: None

Previous Titles: WBO Jr. Lightweight (2020-22, 3 Defenses); IBF Jr. Lightweight (2021-22, 1 Defense)

Height: 5’9   

Weight: 146 ½ lbs.

Stance: Orthodox

Hails from: Woodland Hills, California

Record: 19-1, 5 KO

Press Rankings: #1 at 147 (BoxRec), #4 at 140 (Ring)

Record in Major Title Fights: 4-1 (5-1 including interim title fights)

Last Five Opponents: 73-9-2 (.881)

Notable Outcomes, Ring and/or Rated Foes: Erica Farias UD10; Maiva Hamdouche UD10; Jennifer Han UD10; Alycia Baumgardner L10

Additional Current/Former Titlists Faced: Ewa Brodnicka UD10

The Pick: While Mayer is slightly taller, Jonas has the slight edge in reach and can employ it well to let loose a heavy left hand. Mayer hasn’t had the same opportunity to acclimate to the higher weight classes and may be surprised by the strength of Jonas early on. Mayer hasn’t scored a stoppage since 2019 and while Jonas has been stopped once her durability has been an asset. For Mayer to win, on the road with Jonas holding homecourt in Liverpool, Mayer will have to be first all night, keeping Jonas off balance and unable to push the fight forward. Mayer is capable of it. She might be a hair quicker and her shots, to the head and body, are shorter and straighter than Jonas more often. However, Jonas will have the crowd on her side and if her power punches move Mayer back, it could be hard in the two-minute round environment to create enough margin for victory. The pick is Jonas to win a close decision.              

Rold Picks 2024: 1-0

Cliff Rold is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene, a founding member of the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board, a member of the International Boxing Research Organization, and a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America.  He can be reached at