McGee looking for a Holm run in Albuquerque
Story and photos by Jose Leon Castillo III
"Nothing can sour this moment," states "Merciless" Mary McGee, of Gary, Indiana.
"To be in this fight is a dream come true."
On Saturday, McGee, 20-1, 11 Kos, will face long-time champion Holly Holm, 32-2-3, 9 Kos, at Route 66 Casino west of Albuquerque. The Fresquez-promoted card will feature Holm in her final boxing bout, for a pair of minor titles at welterweight, as well as Holm's pound-for-pound supremacy.
Though losing just once, McGee has plenty going against her. Not only is she outsized, and coming up from a lighter weight; not only is she fighting on enemy turf against the queen of women's boxing; but she is having to endure an assortment of comments that have, thus far, failed to break her concentration.
"We think Holly's gonna beat you," she's heard. Or, "Holly's gonna kill you."
"None of that matters to me," laughs McGee. "I'm in the biggest fight in the world with a world champion and she's a very respectful lady.
"Holly has opened those doors for women's boxing."
McGee may be grateful for Holm's accomplishments and for the chance, but that won't stop her from wanting to knock the hometown favorite's top off.
"I'm not a big person on calling you out and saying I'm' gonna kick your
butt," says McGee. "But it's just about what's next, who's in line. I always look at boxing like this: In basketball they play who is best and
who is next. It's not personal. What ever is next for me is what I'll go for."
The 26-year-old McGee started boxing at age 14 in Gary Indiana after dropping her cheerleading pom-poms for boxing gloves. She recalls 25 amateur boxing bouts, two Chicago Golden Glove titles and two more state titles between Illinois and Indiana. Becoming the first professional boxing from her hometown, she made her pro debut in 2005.
Around the time of her only boxing career loss, to Brooke Deirdorff, McGee
lost both her brother and promoter. She attributes her recovery to her team, comprised of Lori Stienhorst and Eddie Montalvo of Classic Women Warrior Boxing Management.
Although McGee maintains a full time job as a certified nursing assistant, she is training harder than she did when she slaughtered Victoria Cisneros, here in Albuquerque last year. McGee has never faced an MMA cross-trained fighter before and is expecting a hard, tough fight. In preparation for Holm, McGee added sparring southpaw fighters to her training regimen.
McGee came out to Albuquerque early to maximize mental focus. "Golden Girl" Stephanie Jaramillo has been instrumental in McGee's welcome back to Albuquerque and training until her team joined up with her during fight week. She will be cornered by trainer Carlos Jones, Josh Crouch and Bob Miller of Chicago.
McGee is motivated by her faith in God and herself and has a special project (Project Kampala, which supports women boxers in the Katanga slums of Uganda) close to her heart of which she is contributing time, money and efforts.
"I've always felt that my life wasn't for me, it was for me to share," says McGee. "The things I go through wasn't for me, it was for me to inspire someone else. That's why I'm here doing what I do."