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Myriam Lamare Announces Retirement
by Bernie McCoy
February 7, 2014
     
   
   


 

(FEB 7) Myriam Lamare has announced her retirement from the boxing ring after more than ten years and twenty- six bouts in which the French welterweight fought every top boxer in her weight class, winning twenty-two times. Those are the statistics. But mere numbers don't begin scratch the surface of capturing just how skilled and compelling a fighter Lamare was over the entirety of her career. And that career was not distracted by collateral footnotes outside the ring, the type of notoriety that, sometimes today, seeks to provide a substitute for skill inside the ropes. Myriam Lamare was about one thing over the decade that she graced the sport of Women's boxing. She was about fighting and only fighting and it's a fair guess that every time she answered a bell in the 177 rounds she fought, she came straight out of her corner and straight at the opponent and started throwing punches and didn't stop until the bout was over.

Myriam Lamare's professional career began in October, 2003 with the garden variety opponents that most boxers, deemed to have future potential, begin their careers. After seven wins in shortly over a year, Lamare stepped up in class, winning, over the next year and a half, against ranked fighters including Eliza Olsen, Iva Weston, Jane Couch and twice over Bellnda Laracuente, who, at that time, was considered one of the more difficult opponents in the sport. In December, 2006, Lamare stepped to the high rung in the sport to meet Anne Sophie Mathis.

Shortly after, I viewed a tape of that bout (a seven round TKO win for Mathis) and wrote a piece headlined "Seven Rounds that Show the Way" which, essentially, posited the bout as a blueprint for how good the sport of Women's boxing could be, if given the chance: ("Here's how good those seven rounds were: you barely noticed there was anyone else in the ring until the referee stepped in to call a halt to this compelling bout; you simply could not take your eyes off the nonstop action created by these two fighters."). Six months later, Lamare and Mathis went at it again, this time over the full ten rounds, this time, again, nonstop bell/bell action, this time a majority decision for Mathis. Seventeen rounds that did, indeed, "Show the Way" for the sport.


In January, 2009, Lamare ventured out of Europe for the first time in her career, arriving in Albuquerque, NM to take on the then current "face of the sport," Holly Holm. Over ten rounds, Lamare and Holm battled back and forth with one ringside report describing the bout: "Holm out-boxed Lamare but didn't outslug her." Not surprisingly, in one of the toughest "home courts" in the sport, Holm was awarded a unanimous decision, two judges voting 98-92 and 97-93, respectively. But, notably, a California judge, Jon Schlore, had it close, 96-94, Holm. In fairness to Holly Holm, as with most of her bouts in Albuquerque, she deserved the decision, but some of the scoring often seemed a bit out of kilter. In the case of the Lemare bout, judge Schlore probably had it right.

Ten months later, Lamare returned to the ring against a fighter that might be considered a mirror image; a fighter, like Lamare, who knew only one gear in the ring, straight ahead, Anne Marie Saccurato. The fight was for the WBAN belt along with the WBF light welterweight crown and after ten action filled rounds, Lamare emerged with a unanimous decision. The bout more than lived up to the credo of the WBAN belt philosophy: matching the two best fighters in a weight class with the goal of a bout worthy of the label "title fight."

Following the Saccurato bout, in 2011, Lamare reeled off three wins over ranked opponents: Lucia Morelli, Lely Luz Florez and the tough American boxer, Chevelle Hallback. And then, a week ago, Lamare brought her career to a climax, appropriately stepping in with the current "face" of the sport, Cecilia Braekhus, losing a decisive ten round decision. I had several concurrent thoughts about Lamare's final bout: I was somewhat surprised at the one-sided nature of the win, until the realization that Myriam Lamare, now 39, was giving up seven years to a very good fighter, probably the best in the sport. I also wondered what kind of bout it would have been if the Myriam Lamare, stepping in with Braekhus, was the fighter who went 17 rounds, seven years previous, with Anne Sophie Mathis. But make no mistake about it, if Cecilia Braekhus can win decisively over Myriam Lamare, regardless of her age, Braekhus deserves all the accolades coming her way.

And, in a sense, the Braekhus bout may have been an apt coda to the career of this remarkable fighter. Think, for a moment about the four losses Myriam Lamare sustained in her career and think, further, of the three fighters who inflicted those losses: Anne Sophie Mathis, Holly Holm and Cecilia Braekhus and then realize that, at the time of those bouts, those three fighters were each considered to be the best boxer in the sport. Lamare is the only boxer to fight all three and it was that willingness to step in with the best fighters in the sport that will always crystallize her career. That and the fact that whomever she was fighting, the opponent did not have to "look for" Myriam Lamare. She was the one coming forward, at the bell, throwing punches. So as we bid "adieu" to Myriam Lamare, it might also be appropriate to add a heartfelt "merci beau coup" for ten years of "Showing the Way."

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