In an unusual win, Jessica McCaskill retained her undisputed welterweight championship, but it might have been the last time she does, and it also came in unusual fashion, with Alma Ibarra quitting in her corner after three rounds.
McCaskill (12-2, 5 KO) was definitely bossing the fight, but Ibarra (10-2, 5 KO) seemed to be having some minor success in round three. In her corner, the word was that she didn’t like McCaskill’s holding, and an interpreter heard he tell her team that she simply wanted to go back home.
“I thought it was gonna be a crazy firefight, Mexican against Mexican, we were ready to go head-to-head and put on a show for the fans, we love fighting,” McCaskill said. “I just had too much power, too many angles, too much pressure. I was the more come-forward fighter.”
Told that Ibarra said she wasn’t going to keep fighting because of McCaskill’s holding, the champ didn’t seem too interested in the explanation.
“OK,” she said with a laugh. “I don’t like to hold, I like to throw. I tried to keep my hands moving as much as possible. I keep my hands in, I roll with punches, I try to block and come back with something, but I don’t hold.”
As for this being the last fight for the 37-year-old McCaskill as welterweight champ, it’s not because she’s retiring or moving up, but because she’s looking to move back down to her natural weight, 140, and possibly take on WBC and IBF titleholder Chantelle Cameron.
“Call me, girl! We’ve been kind of doing this roundabout thing since about 2018. I called her out, she didn’t want anything to do with me,” McCaskill said. “I got my first WBC belt, she called me out, but we had different plans. She’s done spectacular in her career, we’re doing so well at 147. But I think it’s time to move back down to 140. There’s some great fighters down at 140, and 147 doesn’t interest me.”
It’s a very fair assessment of the landscape. At this point, McCaskill has done everything there is to do at 147, and without Cameron or Kali Reis moving up from 140, or maybe Tasha Jonas coming in to fight at 147, there’s just not much out there. Ibarra was as good an opponent as there was available for this fight, and there’s no flood of great contenders coming through at welterweight, either.
So Cameron makes sense, and it would be a big fight for both, and potentially really exciting. Hopefully, that gets made, and if not that, then Reis for the other two belts at 140, or maybe that Jonas idea as a wild card.