Maricela Cornejo vs. Claudia Ramirez in Mexico
By David A. Avila
Southern California-based Maricela “La Diva” Cornejo meets Claudia Ramirez in a six round super middleweight bout on Saturday in Quintana Roo, Mexico.
The stylish and attractive Mexican-American fighter Cornejo (10-2, 3 KOs) has taken a sideways path but now with the backing of Golden Boy Promotions stands ready for the elite. But first things first and Ramirez (1-2) is blocking the path.
Or is this a dangerous fight.
Twice, Cornejo fought against opponents unknown to the common boxing fan but now those fighters have more established credentials. Looking back, those respective fighters Kali Reis and Irais Hernandez now look much more formidable.
Two weeks ago Reis battled Norway’s undisputed welterweight world titlist Cecilia Braekhus for 10 rounds and floored the reputed pound for pound best boxer. Though she lost the fight after giving up the early rounds, Reis rallied to make the contest a lot closer in the end.
When Cornejo fought Reis in 2016 they battled for the vacant WBC middleweight world title in New Zealand. It was a bad time mentally for Cornejo but she accepted the fight that ended in a split decision win for Reis. The Rhode Island fighter subsequently lost to current middleweight champion Christina Hammer.
At the time little was known about Reis or Cornejo. Now, after two years, time has revealed their respective talent and they can indeed fight.
In another instance, last November in Cancun, Mexico, an undefeated fighter named Irais Hernandez moved up in weight from super welterweight to meet Cornejo at super middleweight. The two women battled in a see-saw affair and after six back and forth rounds the judges scored in favor of Cornejo by split decision.
Critics wondered aloud if Cornejo was too highly rated.
Then, this past April, that same fighter Hernandez moved up another division at 175 pounds to meet WBC heavyweight champion Alejandra Jimenez who dropped down to 176. After eight rounds the fight ended in a majority draw.
“Alejandra Jimenez faced a very experienced and extremely awkward boxer with the longest arms I have ever faced,” exclaimed Cornejo about Hernandez who she defeated by split decision last autumn. “I’m sure she (WBC heavyweight champion Jimenez) realized the speed is not the same as the heavyweights.”
Suddenly Cornejo’s stock has risen.
Now the Southern California-based Cornejo meets Ramirez a resident of Aguascalientes, Mexico. The native Mexican began her pro career as a welterweight then moved up to the heavyweight class. Now she will be fighting at super middleweight. The match is set for six rounds.
Cornejo doesn’t talk much about what others say or do. She merely trains in Indio, California or in Los Angeles. But she did express happiness when watching her former foe Reis battle Braekhus on the first ever telecast of a female fight on HBO.
“It was a beautiful moment for Kali, Cecilia and all women before us who for so many years dreamt and worked so hard for that particular moment,” said Cornejo of the HBO telecast of Reis versus Braekhus in Southern California recently.
Now the higher weight classes have stirred the pot and with Claressa Shields now winning the super middleweight titles and gunning for the middleweight titles, the door is now open for Cornejo.
First, she has to fight in Quintana Roo against another unknown fighter who could be another Irais Hernandez or Kali Reis. You never know when it comes to middleweights.
“My goal for the next 12 months is to respect my level of skills and fight tougher competition,” Cornejo said.
You just never know who that is.
(Televisa will broadcast the fight.)