Saturday night on DAZN (8 pm ET), Matchroom Boxing returns to the United States with a card in Tulsa, Oklahoma, headlined by undisputed welterweight champion Cecilia Braekhus (36-0, 9 KO) defending her crown against 140-pound titleholder Jessica McCaskill (8-2, 3 KO) in the 10-round main event.
Will Braekhus stay unbeaten and move on to a possibly bigger fight, or will McCaskill end the long championship run of “The First Lady”?
Our staffers make their picks.
I really do think Braekhus is going to meet the end of her unbeaten streak sooner than later, unless she retires in the next 12 to 18 months or something. She’s 38, and while she hasn’t had a terribly hard career in terms of getting abnormally beaten up or anything, 38 is 38, getting near 40 bouts is what it is, and she’s fought a lot of rounds over the last 13 years.
But as much as I like Jessica McCaskill and her fighting style, I don’t think the Chicago native is the one who’s going to take Braekhus down. Braekhus, to me, just seems too technically skilled, too experienced, too sound a fighter all around. She may not be at her peak anymore, but she’s still very, very good at the very least. McCaskill has proven she can fight since her loss to Katie Taylor in 2017, but I expect this fight will be a bit like that one in that McCaskill will be very game, have her moments, but just not quite good enough to make a real argument, let alone actually win. I have been wrong before and honestly, I kind of would like to be wrong here, but I just can’t figure how McCaskill, determined as she is, will get to Braekhus consistently enough to win enough rounds. Braekhus UD-10
I’m gonna skip the bullshit - I’m rockin’ with Jessica McCaskill. There’s just something about her. I like the way she fights. She’s definitely not timid about letting her hands go, but she’s also not just some rugged brawler either. I wish she were a bit tighter defensively, but it is what it is. Still, McCaskill is a thinking fighter who places some well-timed punches to the head and body, and that’s going to be important when going up against a very technically sound fighter like Cecila Braekhus. I mean, McCaskill isn’t as refined a fighter as Braekhus, but she makes up for it in tenacity.
Braekhus is obviously an undefeated champion, but she’s 38 now and her last several fights have been against weaker opposition than McCaskill, which could be an indicator that she’s getting long in the tooth. Unfortunately, boxing being boxing (and McCaskill not being a knockout puncher), McCaskill can put on a career performance and still lose it on the cards if it’s at all close. Therefore, my pick for the official result is Braekhus MD-10, but I’m really backing McCaskill.
Patrick L. Stumberg
Not to malign Jessica McCaskill’s abilities, but this looks like a technical wash. Her lethal close-quarters bruising isn’t much use when she lacks the tools to get past Braekhus’ jab or shut down her footwork, and her habit of throwing unsafe leads means she’s in for a world of hurt against the “First Lady’s” razor-sharp punches.
“CasKilla” needs to rely on attrition to get this victory; she’s unlikely to force or goad someone as experienced as Braekhus into brawling with her. If this were a 12x3 fight, that would be feasible, as Braekhus turns 39 later this year and has far more mileage on her. Unfortunately, 20 minutes just isn’t enough. Barring a massive, unprecedented technical and physical decline since her last appearance, Braekhus takes her apart at distance. Braekhus UD-10
All good things must come to an end, eventually. As impressive as Braekhus’s string of defences is, she has kind of cantered along without really being made to work too hard to break Joe Louis’ record. Kali Reis got some success against the champion a couple of years back through getting inside the jab and working in the pocket.
Braekhus is 38 and must be considering her future in the sport. She’s not a power puncher – as her record confirms – with a real reluctance to sit down on her punches or turn into her right hand an obvious shortcoming. Keeping the distance, circling the ring with her jab will become more and more common as Mother Time (?) creeps up on her.
McCaskill will fancy her chances at outworking the champion. Two minutes goes in a flash when you are trying to impose yourself round-after-round on a champion, but I’m expecting her to come flying out of the traps. Braekhus knows how to get over the line and if she can get her left hook working may stunt the attacks of McCaskill.
McCaskill can walk forward, grit her teeth and throw some fairly healthy combinations. IF her power up at welter is enough to trouble Braekhus or demand her respect, we could see an upset. I’ve talked myself into it, so I gotta back it. If Braekhus wins I’ll just blame the judges and take the moral victory. McCaskill SD-10