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Missy Fiorentino: Easy to Spot
By Bernie McCoy
September 24, 2007

     
   
   
   
   

(SEPT 24) "Everyone I fight is taller than I am." The boxer's words came through clearly over the phone without a hint of regret or self pity. Instead, the sentence was tinged with a "that's the way it is" sound, accompanied by an "I deal with it" attitude.

The boxer is Missy Fiorentino, speaking from her home in Cranston, RI and reiterating, for a writer, one of the many characteristics that make her familiar to boxing fans. The recently crowned NABF super featherweight title holder, Fiorentino is 5' 1" tall and, in her professional boxing career, has never been in the ring with a fighter who was the same height or shorter. Missy Fiorentino is easy to spot. Then there are her visible tattoos and the publicity surrounding Fiorentino's split with her former promoter, Jimmy Burchfield. Those are the better known headlines about Missy Fiorentino, professional boxer. Here's another item that may not be as well publicized, even among some boxing fans: Missy Fiorentino could well be the best pound/pound female boxer competing today. If she's not, she's certainly a prominent part of any discussion that starts up about that particular ranking.

Missy Fiorentino has never lost a bout in the US, her current win total is at sixteen and counting. Her lone professional loss was September 2004 in Kyoto, Japan to
Emiko Raika for the WIBA featherweight title. "That was not a good experience," Missy states in a text book example of understatement, "there were no scorecards and very little refereeing; there was head-butting from the opening bell and if that fight was held anywhere outside of Japan, Raika would have been penalized at least a couple of times." When asked if she would consider a return bout with Raika, who is scheduled to defend her title in Japan in the Fall, Fiorentino answers quickly and succinctly, "No" and you can almost hear her eyes rolling at the question.

Fiorentino cites
Esther Schouten, Jamie Clampitt and Cindy Serrano as her most satisfying wins. "I went up two weight classes for Jaime, Schouten was a very tough ten rounds and Serrano came out ready to go hard for all eight rounds." The Serrano fight, the most recent win, (July 7 in Troy, NY) was for the NABF crown. A return bout clause was in place and given the quality of the bout and the excitement generated by the crowd at the outdoor stadium in Troy, there were plans for the return bout in a larger and more visible venue with a possible spot on ESPN. Unfortunately, given Cindy Serrano's current legal entanglements, such a return bout seems doubtful.

Present plans call for Fiorentino to fight in December at 130 pounds. In addition, as a result of the Serrano win, Fiorentino is now the mandatory challenger for the WBC super featherweight title, currently held by
Jelena Mrdjenovich and Missy is, clearly, looking forward to the title bout. "Under the WBC rules, the bout is supposed to take place before April 2008 and I assume it will be in Edmonton," Fiorentino states, hopefully. When it is pointed out that at 5' 7", Mrdjenovich will have a half foot height advantage, Fiorentino shrugs it off, "No matter who I fight I'm never going to try to outbox them. I have to work myself inside and then I can really go to work. It's been successful so far."

Fiorentino has been boxing, professionally, for almost six years and, until earlier this year, was under the promotional auspices of Jimmy Burchfield and CES Boxing. That association ended, abruptly, as a result of an incident during a CES boxing show, in February, featuring Jaime Clampitt and
Mia St. John in Providence. Fiorentino chose to accompany St. John into the ring against the CES fighter, Clampitt. As a result, following Clampitt's win, Fiorentino was dropped from the CES roster. That bizarre incident took a further turn when Fiorentino turned to her mother, Shirley Ouellette, to assume guidance of her boxing career. The Serrano win, in Troy, for the NABF title, was the debut bout for this boxing version of a "Mother and Child Reunion" and it appears that no one, fighter or manager, has, thus far, missed a step. Asked about the possibility of a return to CES, Fiorentino replies, "I really don't anticipate that happening. In fact, the new arrangement has provided several opportunities including fighting in venues outside of Rhode Island. I strongly feel that one of the shortcomings of our sport, today, is that there are simply not enough top fighters willing to 'go anywhere, fight anyone.' "Too many of the best fighters insist on staying in one location and waiting for the boxing world to come to them. Of the current boxers I really admire Belinda Laracuente and Kelsey Jeffries who don't limit themselves to one locale, they go where the fights are. So I look forward to this new management arrangement and taking the best fights wherever they may be. I still have my trainer, Peter Manfredo Sr., who I've been with for over two and a half years, since the bout in Japan, and my mother will handle every aspect of the management. It's a good arrangement."

Missy Fiorentino will continue with that "good arrangement" for the foreseeable future and that's probably beneficial for both the fighter and her sport. It means that boxing fans will have the opportunity to see Missy Fiorentino more often and in more geographically varied boxing venues. And, no matter what ring she's climbing into, Missy Fiorentino will always be easy to spot; the diminutive stature, the tattoos, the "non-stop, go forward" style of fighting. But above all, it's the boxing skill that attracts the most attention. Missy Fiorentino will always be the shorter fighter, but when it comes to boxing talent, she's at eye level with anyone in the sport.

Bernie McCoy

 
     
     
   
 
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