Mikaela Mayer Too Much for Mexico’s Yareli Larios and Keeps NABF Title
By David A. Avila
It was the first time Mikaela Mayer had ever lost a round but after a second frame spent probing she slipped into overdrive and never looked back in her second successful defense on Friday.
“It’s not the amateurs any more. I don’t have to rush it. I can take my time. It’s not score, score, score. It’s about strategy now. I can relax and see what the openings are,” Mayer said.
Mayer (10-0, 4 KOs) defeated Mexico’s tough Yareli Larios (13-2-1, 3 KOs) by unanimous decision to retain the NABF super featherweight title at Grand Casino in Hinckley, Minn. She was the taller, faster and longer fighter and once she figured out how to use those assets it was downhill from there.
The NABF titlist expected a tough fight and was unsure what to expect from Larios, the daughter of former two-division world champion Oscar Larios who was in her corner. What Larios employed was a strategy to punch in between Mayer’s combinations that worked effectively in the opening round. A left hook by connected Larios at the end punctuated the first round.
“We knew she was going to be tough. She has a lot of Hispanic blood in her. She comes from a boxing family,” said Mayer, 28, a former US Olympian.
Mayer began keeping her distance more effectively in the second round, but after firing combinations kept falling too close to Larios and was unable to continue firing. It’s a flaw that allowed Larios to keep the fight within fighting distance.
The long limbed Mayer jumped out of her corner in the third round firing jabs. It snapped Larios head back several times and seemed to slow the Mexican fighter. Soon Mayer began unloading strong and quick combinations to the body and head. It was Mayer’s best round so far.
After the success of the third round Mayer seemed to be in a comfortable gear and was slamming stiff left jabs into Larios face. Then came the strong rights one after another. For the first time in the fight Larios looked worried about the incoming fire. Mayers seemed to be in rhythm and looked confident.
“We wanted to keep our hands high and come right down the middle,” said Mayer. “We studied her she has looping shots right hands, left hooks, which are effective, but we knew we had longer reach and we were going to come right down the middle with our jab.”
Everything was working from the fifth round on as Mayer kept her distance with the jabs and fired whatever blows she desired with little to worry about return fire from Larios. In between rounds Larios looked for advice. She was falling behind and knew it.
In the seventh round Mayer connected with vicious combinations including a right uppercut to the chin. Larios absorbed the contact but seemed on the verge of being stopped. But she nimbly sidestepped out of Mayer’s firing lanes and continued fighting. Mayer was in full control.
The final round saw Larios try her best to exchange with Mayer and both fired until the final bell. After it ended they both hugged and smiled but Mayer was too much of everything.
The judges scored the fight 79-73, 78-74, 80-72 for Mayer who remains the NABF super featherweight titlist. She’s eager to move into a world title challenge.
“It’s been a great year and a half, a lot of great experiences10 fights in less than a year and a half. I think I’m ready for more belts,” said Mayer. “I want those belts this year I think I’m coming through as an athlete and my pro style is coming along nicely. So I definitely want those belts.”
Mayer has put all the super featherweight world champions on notice.
(Photo by JP Yim)