Mary Ann Almager vs. Suzette Taylor
May 5, 2000 at Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada
by Rod Mahaffey
originally published on the Women's Boxing Page
In what was arguably one of the goriest and most brutal battles in the history of women's boxing, Suzette Taylor and Mary Ann Almager staged a donnybrook that had a
screaming crowd on its feet from start to finish. The beneficiary of this outstanding setto was Cedric Kushner Productions
whose lackluster program was literally rescued by Taylor and Almager. Once again, the gals put the males efforts to shame.
Almager, obviously smarting from KO losses to Lucia Rijker and Ann Wolfe, came prepared this Friday night to
do some 'serious battle'. Taylor was happy to oblige. The difference in the contest was conditioning. Taylor appeared to
tire in the late stages. Almager didn't. The result was a split-decision loss for Taylor, the reigning IBA heavyweight
titlist. Since the fight was a six-round non-title affair, Taylor retains her IBA world hardware but this pier-sixer reeks
of 'championship rematch'. Any promoter so disposed to pick up a title fight between these two might have the fight of the
year on his card.
The bout opened in a 'blaze of gunfire' with the fresh Taylor controlling the action in round one. Both
fighters fired fusillade after fusillade of heavy artillery, landing many power shots but Taylor's weaponry was the heavier,
dropping the Texan with a pile-driver right hand late in the set. Almager rose, took the mandatory 'eight' and roared back
into the fray. But Taylor had her 10-8 stanza and an early lead.
Round two saw more give-and-take. Despite the ebb and flow of the action, Taylor continued to land the
crisper punches. A close round but give the edge to Taylor and a three point cushion 20-17 after two.
The third set continued the brutal pace and assaults of first Taylor, then Almager in immediate response. A
delighted crowd roared its approval with every power-laden flurry. Both fighters appeared to get mad if the other fighter
'missed' with anything. By now the blood was flowing in copious quantities from each combatant. To this juncture the CKP
production had been 'sleep-inducing' but now the place was 'electric with excitement'.
Round three belonged to Almager, 10-9, as she scored with more effective counters in heavy exchanges, cutting
Taylor's margin to two points after three. Running tally- 29-27 ...
Taylor was perceptibly showing signs of fatigue entering the fourth
stanza. Still, she battled furiously with the ever-aggressive Almager.
Again, both fighters were subjected to powerful right hand shots and vicious
uppercuts that continually had heads snapping back on the pair of
concrete-chinned gladiators. The crowd continued to roar with each volley.
Give this round to Almager as she closed the gap to 39-38 with her 10-9
A now obviously fatigued Taylor continued on gamely, tank nearly empty
but refusing to yield an inch. Toe-to-toe exchanges throughout the fifth
round found both still landing heavily but Almager's pressure and aggression
carried the close set 10-9 to even the tally 47-47, going into the final two
minutes of action.
The final chapter of this six-round mayhem continued to be played out amidst the splattering of considerable
gore. Both fighters knew the result was 'up for grabs' and neither left anything in their tanks. Taylor, though bushed,
threw everything in her arsenal and Almager responded with every punch that she ever learned. Mary Ann, noticeably the
fresher of the two, controlled the final two minutes with her bruising attack. Score it 10-9 for the Texan and a final
tally of 57-56 in favor of the gal from the "Lone Star State'.
This was my unofficial scoring of the bout. The judging was generally in agreement. One arbiter scored it
by a point for Taylor, one a close win for Almager and the last official gave it to Almager by a tally of 57-54, thus making
Almager the split-vote victor.
With the 'win', Almager boosts her formidable log to an impressive 11-3 while Taylor's personal resume drops
to a still healthy 9-3-1.
Women's boxing, on the whole, was the big winner in tonight's fray. A more exciting match would be difficult
to find anywhere in male or female generated action.
Both Taylor and Almager had to add scores of new fans for themselves as well as for the sport itself. This
was what 'women's boxing' is all about and many other females should learn a lesson from it.
For those who want fights where they can simply 'mail in the result', these two were REAL fighters and Suzy
Taylor accomplished more for herself in a 'losing effort' than she ever did with a victory.
Let's not forget the victor...Mary Ann Almager, a former champion herself regained a bit of esteem after her
last two defeats. What an incredible fight and what incredibly courageous young women boxers!!!
© Rod Mahaffey
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Page last updated: Sunday, April 25, 2004