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5'8" Mary Ann Almager was born in Seminole, Texas on December 5, 1968. She first boxed at age nine, following her two amateur boxer brothers to the gym.

"For two years I took beatings from them," she said. Her brother Adam later became her trainer.

As a high school athlete she ran cross-country and track, and played basketball and volleyball. Her real passion was softball, but she had to give this up because of knee problems.

She is a move-forward aggressive southpaw who relies on the power in her left, and has a tendency to get into brawls.

She started boxing professionally in 1993, making her pro debut in Dallas on February 5 with a fourth-round TKO of Angela Adger, also making her pro debut.

On February 9, 1994 she TKO'd Helga "Snowcat" Risoy of Norway in the first round of a junior welterweight bout in Las Vegas; on April 2 she won a rematch with Risoy by a third-round TKO. Risoy fell to 3-2-1 (2 KO) with the second loss to Mary Ann.

On July 22 she won a four-round unanimous decision over Deirdre Gogarty of Ireland, dropping Gogarty's record to 8-3-2. 

She won a world title at a milestone all-female card sanctioned by Barbara Buttrick's WIBF on April 20, 1995 at the Aladdin in Las Vegas. Her Junior Middleweight title bout with Northern Ireland's Deirdre Nelson was stopped in the second of the scheduled ten rounds because the referee ruled that Nelson was not defending herself.

This was a controversial stoppage as the undefeated Almager was starting to control the action, but many at ringside felt that referee Mitch Halpern stepped in too quickly. Nelson, who had travelled almost halfway round the world for the fight, was furious and the crowd booed the decision vigorously.

Almager handed Gina Guidi the only defeat of her career on March 23, 1996 in Las Vegas. Mary Ann knocked Gina down in the first round, but the gritty Guidi battled back through six grueling rounds to earn the short end of a split decision.  Guidi fell to 3-1-0 (2 KO) with this loss.

On July 27, 1996 in El Paso, Texas she TKO'd Jackie Rodgers (a.k.a. Julie Reed) of Ashtabula, Ohio in the second round, dropping Rodgers/Reed to 0-3-0.

On September 16, 1996 in Las Vegas, she won by a first round TKO over Sharon Taylor, who fell to 0-2.

Wiet vs. Almager
Valerie Henin Wiet takes a right
from Mary Ann Almager

On November 2, 1996 at Tokyo Bay NK Hall in Japan, Mary Ann (148 lbs)was stopped in the ninth round by French kickboxing star Valerie Henin Weit (147 lbs), who was in her first fight as a professional boxer. Known as the "most dangerous woman in the world", Weit had challenged Almager (then undefeated at 8-0) for the WIBF Junior Middleweight title. After eight fierce rounds, a badly beaten and bloody Almager seemed unwilling to continue, but the fight was allowed to go on and ended in a TKO.

On August 16, 1997 Mary Ann TKO'd pro debut fighter Sherrie Painter in the first round.  (Painter boxed professionally five times from 1997 to 1998, never surviving beyond the second round).

Almager underwent arthroscopic surgery on her right knee in December 1997 and her weight went up to 190 pounds. Surprisingly, for her return to pro boxing she accepted a fight with Lucia Rijker at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Ledyard, Connecticut on March 23, 1998. Compounding the problem of her layoff, the contract weight was 140 pounds, a weight she hadn't made in four years. After struggling to make weight, she may have been weak at fight time while facing the most difficult opponent of her life. "The reason I'm dropping two weight classes for this fight is because my goal is to fight Christy Martin," Almager explained to a FOX-TV reporter.

Rijker came in at 139 lbs and moved her pro record to 10-0 with 9 KO's with a TKO at 1:03 of the first round. According to manager Bob Matthews, Almager's strategy for this fight was to move to her right, smothering Rijker's left hook and simultaneously move away from Rijker's right, and to stay busy. "If somebody's throwing punches at her, Lucia tends not to throw back," says Matthews.

But as it turned out, Rijker had no problem with Mary Ann's southpaw style and dropped Almager in a corner with a short left hook to the head in the fight's first big flurry. Mary Ann was in no shape to continue as the referee stopped the fight when she was still blinking her eyes and shaking her head after taking an eight count. Almager's record fell to 9-2 with 7 KO's. FOX-TV carried the bout live. (See the blow-by-blow review by Chuck McAllister.)

On August 21, 1998 at the Belle Casino in Baton Rouge, Mary Ann weighed in at 154 lbs to face Gina Nicholas (152 lbs) in the Main Event, a scheduled 10-rounder for the IWBF Junior Middleweight title. This started out as a war as Gina landed some excellent shots in the first round but Mary Ann's chin kept her in the fight as she took them all and appeared to frustrate Nicholas by not going down.. The second round followed the same script until a clash of heads midway through the round brought blood from Gina's forehead midway through the round. Almager sprang to the attack and landed an overhand right to put Gina on the canvas. Gina took an eight count, then went down again after a four punch flurry from Almager. The referee stopped the bout immediately. Mary Ann went to 10-2 with the TKO. Nicholas fell to 8-2-0 (7 KO).

On February 11, 2000 at the Treasure Chest Casino in Kenner, Louisiana, Almager (156 lbs) suffered another disastrous first-round TKO loss, this time to her fellow Texan Ann Wolfe (156 lbs) of Waco. Wolfe moved to 4-0 (2 KO) as Almager slipped to 10-3.

On May 5, 2000 at Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada Mary Ann weighed in at 162 lbs and won an exciting six-round split decision over Suzette Taylor (164 lbs), who now fights out of Las Vegas and slipped to 9-3-1 with the loss. This was a donnybrook from bell to bell. Almager was knocked down in the opening round but came back to outlast Taylor in a fierce battle that saw two judges split by one point each leaving a 57-54 score for Almager as the decider. [Fight report]

On August 10, 2000 at Astro Arena in Houston, Texas, Valerie Mahfood (165 lbs) of Groves, Texas defeated Mary Ann (also 165 lbs) by TKO at 0:57 in the fifth round to win the vacant IWBF Super Middleweight title. This bout was stopped when Almager injured her ankle and was unable to continue. Mahfood's record improved to 10-3 (4 KO's), and Almager's fell to 11-4 (8 KO's).

On April 20, 2001 at Sky City Casino in Acoma, New Mexico, Mary Ann weighed in at 160 lbs on her second try and then won a ten-round split (96-94,93-97,97-94) decision over Trina Ortegon (5'9", 160 lbs) of Albuquerque, New Mexico for the IBA Middleweight title. Ortegon was busy and aggressive but Almager landed the heavier punches in a hard-fought bout. Almager moved to 12-4 (8 KO's), while Ortegon fell to 9-3 (2 KO's). Both had some trouble making weight for the fight, with Ortegon initially coming in at 163¼ but making weight on her third try a few hours later. Almager trimmed from 160½. [Fight report]

On August 17, 2001 at Sky City Casino in Acoma, New Mexico, Mary Ann weighed in at 159½ lbs and defended her IBA Middleweight title by TKO'ing Trina Ortegon (155½ lbs) in the ninth round of their much-anticipated rematch. Almager landed the more telling blows throughout the return bout and this tie Ortegon's corner threw in the towel at 1:28 of the ninth round of the scheduled ten-rounder. Almager was now 13-4-0, 9 KO's while Ortegon fell to 9-4-0, 2 KO's. [Fight report/photos]

WBAN named Mary Ann its Fighter of the Month i September 2001.

On June 14, 2002 at Civic Center in Beaumont, Texas, In rematch between world champions from Texas, WIBA/IWBF Super Middleweight and WIBF Light Heavyweight champion Valerie Mahfood (163½ lbs) of Groves, Texas outworked Mary Ann (167 lbs) against the ropes to win an eight-round 77-73,78-72,74-76 split decision in a non-title fight. Mahfood advanced to 13-4-0 (7 KO) with the win. Mahfood said of Almager: "Mary doesn't have the raw power that Ann (Wolfe) has, but she has so much skill and technique that her punches flow better. When she has the perfect form, the punch starts from her toes. By the time it makes it to her fist, that glove is coming at you hard."

On August 2, 2002 at Ector County Coliseum in Odessa, Texas, Almager won an eight-round unanimous (78-74,80-72,78-75) decision over Dakota Stone of Aberdeeen, Washington. Almager told reporters "she was a tough fighter who could take a punch and could also deliver one." Stone, who was the 1999 national amateur 156-lb champion, slipped to 5-2-3 (0 KO).

Almager was stopped by Laila Ali in the fourth

On February 14, 2003 at Louisville Gardens in Louisville, Kentucky, WIBA/IWBF/IBA super middleweight champion Laila Ali (5'10", 167 lbs) of Las Vegas TKO'd Mary Ann (168 lbs, the heaviest of her career) at 1:55 in the fourth round. Ali, who had refused to touch gloves after they received their pre-fight instructions, took the action to Almager in the opening round while still looking wary of Almager's southpaw stance and ring experience.  (According to Compubox, Almager landed no shots in this first round.) Almager looked overmatched by by Ali's quickness and reach in the second, and was swinging her punches, looking to tag Ali with a haymaker (and landing a few looping shots). Almager took several for every one she landed and was rocked by a clean right to the chin just before the bell. Almager kept swinging in the third while Ali threw precise combinations, including a six-punch salvo to the head and body after trapping Almager against the ropes. Almager faded as Ali picked her apart with body shots in the fourth and the fight was stopped with Mary Ann clearly out of gas against the ropes and hurting from a hard right to the midsection, followed by three straight right hooks to the face. Ali improved to 14-0-0 (11 KO) while the 34- year-old Almager, who came out of temporary retirement to take this fight, fell to 14-6-0 (9 KO).

On August 22, 2003 at Ector County Coliseum in Odessa, Texas, Nikki Eplion (162 lbs) of Southpoint, Ohio won an eight-round decision over Mary Ann (168 lbs). Eplion advanced her unbeaten record to 10-0-2 (6 KO).

On November 19, 2003, Mary Ann officially announced her retirement from competitive boxing, with her record at 14-7-0 (9 KO).

On September 10, 2004 at the Tropicana Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey, Mary Ann (183 lbs) came out of retirement to fight Jackie Frazier-Lyde (179 lbs) for the UBA World Heavyweight title. Almager pressured Frazier-Lyde throughout the fight. Frazier-Lyde went down to one knee from a hard right in round two, after they had traded left hooks. Frazier-Lyde was forced to use all of her ability to win the fight, working Almager over with body punches against the ropes. Jacqui won most of the remaining rounds, but went to the canvas again in the final round, in which Almager was very aggressive again. The knockdown was disputed, with Frazier-Lyde claiming that it was a push, but it was ruled an official knockdown. Frazier-Lyde won a ten-round unanimous (97-92,96-92,95-93) decision and advanced to 13-1-0 (9 KO) while Almager fell to 14-8-0 (9 KO).   

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Page last updated: Friday, 06 November 2015


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