at the Stratosphere Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas
on June 1, 2002
Fight review by
Women's Boxing Page correspondent Craig Ogawa
Kathy Rivers made a triumphant return Saturday night at the Stratosphere, defeating Marsha Valley by a
controversial majority decision after Valley was penalized two points in a turbulent fight that resembled
the thrills and dangers of a whitewater rafting ride.
Immediately after the second point deduction, an angry Valley walloped Rivers in a stunning attempt to
wrest the point right back.
It was that kind of fight ... intense, rough, tough.
The evenly-matched power of two formidable women clearly impressed a gasping and cheering crowd as they
took turns dashing each other’s momentum against the rocks. The interludes when the left-handed Rivers
and right-handed Valley measured each other at arm’s length with their gloves were like the uneasy calm
between rapids, quickly dissolving into spray and impact.
En route to her thirteenth victory (against only two defeats), Rivers’ wild ride through this Valley became
downright tumultuous in the fifth round when Valley began scoring heavily only to have a point deducted by
the referee for clobbering Rivers while holding her behind the head. Valley, who had been clearly winning
the round, almost immediately had another point taken away bringing boos from the crowd and the thunderous
response from Valley.
The points cost Valley the decision, who otherwise would have earned a draw ... two judges scoring the bout
57-55 with a third scoring it a draw 56-56 even with the deductions.
Rivers showed excellent endurance in her first fight in a year and a half, looking fresher than Valley
late in rounds and able to lean into her opponent and work her against the ropes. Questions of quickness
and timing from the layoff were answered about 1:30 into the fight when Rivers followed the first
big exchange with a hard right-left combination that momentarily stunned Valley.
“Kathy rocks. She has my respect,” exclaimed Valley afterwards. Valley, who gave up eleven pounds
(178 to 189) at the weigh-in to take the fight (and more by the opening bell), added that the fight was
Rivers’ victory immediately returns her to top rank
consideration in the upper women’s weight divisions.
Rivers, who said her layoff stemmed from a dispute with her former promoter, also has the benefit of working
under the eye of Alton Merkerson, Roy Jones Jr’s trainer. Merkerson expects her to come down close to 175 pounds
(where she’s fought most of her matches) as she continues to work off the effect of being out of action.
and pastrami,” is how he described her diet during the layoff.
Other Kathy Rivers and Marsha Valley Links