Marlen Esparza’s Debut; a Critical Look by an Ex-Fighter

Marlen Esparza’s Debut and a Critical Look by an Ex-Fighter


By Sindy Amador

Marlen Esparza’s long awaited debut finally happened.

The former 2012 Olympic flyweight bronze medalist is the first female to be signed long termed by Golden Boy Promotions. She had incredible success as a boxer during her amateur career. The talented Latina has endorsement deals with Cover Girl cosmetics and has appeared in Spanish language television ads for Coca-Cola and McDonald’s among others.

With all the support on her side and millions of people waiting to see her and expecting an outstanding performance, she came out looking to knock out her opponent Rachel Sazoff (0-3) on Thursday March 23, at the Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, Ca.

Esparza, 27, rolled to victory with a four round shutout decision of 40-36 on all three scorecards. To the average fan this may look like an amazing performance. To the rest of the people it was a good business move by Golden Boy set her out in a televised show against really a pitiful opponent.  Anyone else would have been embarrassed to even be out there fighting with that opponent when there are plenty of talented and skillful fighters waiting for a chance.

New Jersey’s Sazoff, the opponent, impressed many with her tremendous heart by her ability to remain standing after taking a slew of punches during the female combat. But honestly, she was unable to throw a decent punch and it also looked like she was not taught how to fire an adequate jab.

Sadly, this is what media attention does to female fighters; it hypes them so much without any of them facing good competition just because they’re well known and popular. There’s plenty of female talent out there in the dark waiting to shine. Likewise many current and former female champions who nobody knows are out there too. And there are many.

Overall Esparza did her best despite the intense emotion and nerves to make the transition from amateur to professional sport. One of the common mistakes by women is forgetting about braiding their hair since headgear is not allowed. With hair dangling in Esparza’s face throughout the fight it was probably the most uncomfortable she has been in her career and it obstructed her vision during the fight. I’m sure in the next fight it will be a different story with a different and better opponent.

Esparza has way more to grow and shine. This is just the beginning and her fight is opening doors to female boxing with a path toward equality, exposure and more televised fights for the near future.

(Note: Sindy Amador is an ex-world champion light flyweight who fought numerous top level opponents such as Carina Moreno, Marie Suarez and Amaris Quintana. Amador lives in Moreno Valley, California and retired due to a serious eye injury suffered while participating in the sport she loves-boxing. She is now covering female boxing for


Photo by Ray Flores