Jessica McCaskill Out-Brawls Argentina’s Anahi Sanchez
By David A. Avila
Imagine a brutal brawl in a dark alley between two unforgiving warriors and that’s what fans saw as Jessica “Caskilla” McCaskill emerged the winner by unanimous decision over Anahi Sanchez for the WBA and WBC super lightweight world titles on Saturday.
After 10 violent rounds the fighters and fans were left breathless.
Chicago’s McCaskill (7-2, 3 KOs) and Argentina’s Sanchez (19-4, 11 KOs) showed the crowd at MGM National Harbor and those watching on DAZN that neither was shy about exchanging bombs. Very few jabs were thrown in any of the 10 rounds.
McCaskill’s last fight was a win over another Argentine world champion Erica Farias where she showed her boxing skills including movement and jabs. In this fight the half African American half Mexican American fighter dispensed with the subtleties of the sport.
Jabs were an insult in this fight.
Sanchez walked into the arena with a resume against some of the best fighters in the super lightweight division. In all of those fights she had never been stopped. Most expected a bruising battle and got more than that.
In the opening round McCaskill and Sanchez immediately exchanged with power blows that connected solidly. The Argentine fighter fought while moving backward against the very aggressive Chicago fighter. Both caught each other with riveting shots with McCaskill ending the round with a four-punch combination.
McCaskill seemed to look for a stoppage and opened up the second round with a five-punch barrage that snapped the Argentine fighter’s head back. But Sanchez rallied back with her own power shots that snapped the Chicago fighters head back and now people realized this was indeed going to be a furious fight.
A furious and frenetic pace had been established in the first two rounds and if anything, the tempo seemed to increase. Sanchez stopped fighting in reverse and instead was looking to counter McCaskill’s aggressiveness with counter rights. She also moved into a southpaw stance and found success with right hooks.
The fourth round was even more violent than the three previous rounds as each exchanged monstrous blows with each other. Both seemed to be looking to end the fight with a big bomb. During one exchange Sanchez emerged with a bloodied nose and wiped it at the end of the round.
Sanchez began holding more vigorously and was warned by the referee Bill Clancy. The Argentine then ramped up her offense and delivered a left uppercut and right cross that snapped McCaskill’s head back momentarily. Both fighters barely paused. Sanchez closed the round with a three-punch barrage even after the bell had rung.
McCaskill roared back in the sixth round with a double right uppercut then followed up with two straight right crosses. The Chicago fighter kept the pressure on and had Sanchez moving backward unable to gain traction. It was McCaskill’s best round up to that point. For the next three rounds the Chicago fighter seemed to gain momentum as Sanchez looked weary.
Though Sanchez connected with several good shots in the ninth, the overwhelming majority of blows was being delivered by McCaskill who seemed tireless. A right cross followed by a left uppercut landed for McCaskill and punctuated the round in favor of the Chicago champion.
The final round saw Sanchez looking weary and McCaskill looking eager to close the show. Both marched toward each other knowing this could be the deciding round and opened up with yet another violent exchange. McCaskill seemed to have the fresher legs and was able to connect and evade when necessary. Sanchez had a little difficulty finding the Chicago fighter but toward the end of the final round she landed two consecutive rights. McCaskill retaliated with several left hooks and after Sanchez landed a right, McCaskill landed her own right to close the round.
After 10 swinging rounds all three judges saw McCaskill the winner by scores 99-91, 98-92, 96-94 and she now adds the WBA title to go along with the WBC.
Argentina’s Sanchez was disappointed by the scoring but McCaskill went in with a solid game plan and executed it for the win.
“I do feel the score cards were a little drastic,” said McCaskill. “She was a great fight, I enjoy a good fight, I enjoy talent.”
And what was the difference between the winner and the loser?
“My pressure. My aggressiveness,” answered McCaskill.
Chicago now has a double world champion and she wants more.
“I want the best,” McCaskill said.