Layla McCarter Pounds Her Way to Win at MGM Grand in Las Vegas
By David A. Avila
LAS VEGAS-Layla McCarter battled her way through Argentina’s rugged Yamila Reynoso to win by unanimous decision in a welterweight fight on Thursday.
“She was a tough girl,” said McCarter.
A large crowd of supporters saw McCarter (43-13-5, 11 KOs) finally fight at the MGM Grand but it was far from easy against Reynoso (11-6-3, 8 KOs) whose young legs kept her in the fight. But just not enough to win.
“Do you know she (Reynoso) was two years old when I made my pro debut,” said McCarter chuckling. “She never quit.”
McCarter, 39, started the fight with a sharp piercing jab in the first two rounds. And when the 22-year-old Reynoso attempted to close in for an exchange, she was met by a fierce three-punch combination that snapped her head. It caused the Argentine fighter to be more wary.
Around the third round Reynoso gathered the guts to burrow in for another stab at an exchange of blows. She plowed in with her head and butted McCarter who winced from the collision. After that, it was all hands on deck as Reynoso ran into combinations and blows but didn’t seem to care. She was determined to slug her way in.
“In the first two rounds I did what I was supposed to do. But then I allowed her to gain confidence. From then on I had a little trouble fending off her aggressiveness,” McCarter said.
Reynoso was feeling cocky and despite warnings from the referee she repeatedly hit McCarter behind the head. Though the Las Vegas fighter was clearly out-punching the Argentine fighter, Reynoso would always managed to land at least one clean blow. Just never flush.
“I was not as sharp as usual,” said McCarter who weighed 142 after eating the last week to gain the weight. Reynoso was unable to fight below 140 pounds and looked at least 10 pounds heavier than McCarter during the fight. But she had made the required weight of 147 pounds at the weigh-in.
McCarter had a pivotal round in the sixth as she landed three consecutive one-two combinations that rocketed off Reynoso’s head. But the Argentine fighter showed nary a sign of being wobbled though she stopped her aggression. McCarter finished the round with a three-punch combination.
“I think she is going to be good,” said McCarter. “She just fought Amanda Serrano too. She keeps fighting girls that are too experienced for her but look out.”
Another collision of heads resulted in McCarter slowing a bit, but she kept her poise and maneuvered around Reynoso with precision and deftness. Reynoso tried her best to land the big blow but wasn’t allowed to connect with full force.
After 10 rounds two judges scored it 98-91 and a third 99-90 for McCarter. It was her 20th consecutive win and first at the MGM. She hasn’t lost a fight in more than 11 years.
“I learned from this fight to always be ready. I was told just two weeks ago they had a fight for me against Reynoso for 10 rounds. I couldn’t say no,” McCarter said. “I learned my lesson to always be ready. I can be better than this.”
That’s a scary thought for other potential opponents. McCarter is willing to fight from 135 to 147.
“I’m going to be much more ready from now on,” said McCarter who’s won world titles from 126 to 154. “I can be better.”