MOHS SHOWDOWN FIGHT
It's not quite accurate to say that Jessica
Mohs will take 20 years of experience into the boxing ring
April 11 for her showdown fight against once-beaten Karen
The Minnesota native joined her first boxing gym when she was just
10, and when she fought amateur exhibitions back then, she did so as
a "boy"; for
you see, they didn't allow young girls to fight so "long"
ago. She boxed for three years, until age 13 and as she puts it --
"then I had to be a girl". There was no more hiding the
fact that she was a female in a male
sport. It was a retirement that never sat well with the personable
30 year-old featherweight-- "I remembered loving it as a
kid" -- who four years ago went back into the gym to pick up
where she had left off more
than a decade ago.
But, in many ways, it's not that far from the truth, either.
And after six pro fights, the payoff came last month, with a
convincing first-round TKO of Rita
Valentini that moved Mohs' professional mark to 4-3.
"I've usually taken fights with opponents with better records
than me, I've kind of had to take what I can get," Mohs noted.
"My previous fights, I've gone in thinking 'I have to knock her
out, I have to knock her out' and try
and force it. This time I was like 'you know what, I'm just going to
go in and have fun.' I was more relaxed than ever. I didn't even try
to knock her out."
It was her first appearance for Oscar De La Hoya's promotion
company, who called just three days after her win to line up Mohs a
second time for Thursday's card.
"I'd been wondering if I could do it. I know when I train, my
trainer's like, 'you've got the power.' It's just taking from what I
do on the training mitts into the ring, which is a mental
thing," she added, after living up to her nickname of 'Good
Nite" Mohs. Valentini was on the canvas three times before
being stopped. "I knew I had it in me, I just wasn't really
sure if I could do it in the ring. So when it happened, it was a
real confidence builder."
Strangely, that feeling found it genesis in her loss last November
Tenberg in the curtain raiser at the star-studded
"Texas Shootout I" all-female card in Austin, a loss that
snapped Mohs' two-fight win streak.
"I was in top shape. After the fight I felt like I could go a
few more rounds," she said about her closer-than-the-
scorecard-indicated defeat. "But I was tired by the end
of every round and I know it's because I was trying to force things.
I felt like I was throwing my arm out there and it was taking
forever to bring it back. So I wasn't in mental shape for it, but I
think I've got that down now. Sparring after that fight, I got more
relaxed. One night before I was going in to the gym -- I hadn't
about a week -- I got a massage and I came in the next day I felt
really relaxed, and I almost knocked my opponent out a couple of
times sparring, and I was like 'I didn't even think I hit you that
hard.' That's when I
realized I just have to relax my body, that's the key."
In Martin, Mohs will find her sternest test date for the new-found
confidence. Martin, 5-1-0, is coming off her first professional
loss, a January 31 split decision against talented Jo
"I know she's going to be tough, and I haven't had a lot of
time to train, but I'm going to keep the same attitude, go in and
just have fun," Mohs said. "I think really what's been
holding me back more than anything - I've trained six days a week
full time, physically been in top shape and still lost fights --
it's the mental. Now I think I'm grounding myself and finally
getting the confidence and getting a little more relaxed in there
and it will definitely make a difference."
Both have faced a common opponent, Marilyn
Salcido, earlier in their respective careers. Martin earned
a four-round unanimous decision, while Mohs dropped her four
"It's kind of a make it or break it," Mohs said of the
Martin fight "If I lose, it will be to someone who's got a good
track record and done well in the sport, so it wouldn't be a
detrimental loss, but if I win, it will be a
sweet victory. It will prove a lot to myself which matters more than
anything. It will let me know whether or not I can think about a
Brian Ackley -WBAN Senior Editor
April 10, 2002