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Jessica Rakoczy: Yesterday and Tomorrow
By Bernie McCoy
February 18, 2008


(FEB 18) One of the truly good things about sports, particularly the sport of boxing, is that an athlete is provided the opportunity to change what happened yesterday, tomorrow. Not change in the sense of erase, but change in the sense of remake. That's because boxing is not just one bout or one round or even one furious exchange of punches in the middle of a ring. No, boxing is a number of bouts, a number of rounds and, given the nature of the sport, a number of furious exchanges of punches in the middle of a number of rings. In the final analysis, those bouts, those rounds, those punches are, retrospectively, labeled a career. And in every boxing career, there are a number of Yesterdays and Tomorrows.

Yesterday for Jessica Rakoczy was September 27, 2007, in the middle of the ring at the Tachi Palace Hotel and Casino in Lemoore, CA, in the tenth round of a bout against Ann Marie Saccurato for the WBC lightweight title. Shortly after a furious exchange of punches, just prior to the final bell, Saccurato had the title and Rakoczy was on the path towards thinking about Tomorrow. "I got caught with a big punch in the seventh round and from that point on, I had trouble seeing," Jessica Rakoczy told me, by phone, last week, from her Las Vegas home, prior to going out for a training run, her second workout of the day. "It was my hardest loss. I hate to lose, but this was the hardest. But, I'm past it, I can't wait to get back in the ring, hopefully on February 29, if arrangements can be made for an opponent. I was set to return on December 6, but that fell through after the opponent dropped out. I really hope the 29th happens."

Rakoczy is beginning her eighth year as a professional boxer. She's had thirty fights (winning 27), an average of slightly more than four per year. She's generally regarded as a California fighter, although last year she fought in Mississippi and, during different times in her career, has had bouts in Indiana, Florida and Texas. Rakoczy elaborates, "I'll go anywhere for a bout but I'm very comfortable in California. I get good crowds at my bouts but the primary reason I like fighting there is that I've got the best promoter in the sport, Christian Printup. I know there are other good promoters, but Christian, to me, is the best. Everything he does, every move he makes, in putting together the bouts, is done with an eye towards what's best for the sport and the fighters. And, in this business, that's a big plus."

It's not difficult, even on a cross country phone line, to pick up on how anxious Jessica Rakoczy is to get back into the ring. "Boxing is what I do," she states flatly, "it's the only thing I do. I'm always training, always working out, it's my life for the time being. Later on, there'll be something else, maybe connected with the sport, maybe something along the lines of acting, who knows, but right now it's boxing and I'm ready to get in the ring, I've been ready for a while. I hope, after February 29, to come back again, quickly, maybe in April, but that's, entirely, up to my management and promoter. I don't spend a lot of time, in front of a computer, poring over the latest rankings and what other fighters are doing. Tell me who, when and where and I'll be ready to climb into the ring."

Rakoczy came to national attention with two action packed, hard fought wins over Mikee Stafford in 2001. Stafford, at the time, a promising newcomer, like Rakoczy, never seemed to be the same fighter after those two bouts and retired 18 months later. Rakoczy went on to wins over Lisa Lewis, Layla McCarter, Belinda Laracuente (twice), Jane Couch, Terri Blair (twice) and Kelli Cofer. Asked about future opposition, Rakoczy repeats her mantra, "It's entirely up to my management and promoter. I'll fight whoever they think is the right opponent." Rakoczy does, however, hope that somewhere on that list of future bouts is a return with Ann Marie Saccurato, "Hopefully, it can happen this year. Ann Marie is a great fighter and I'd definitely like the opportunity to fight her again." That bout, adjudged by many, including the annual WBAN awards, to be near the top of the short list of top fights of 2007, would be a highly anticipated main event on any boxing card, in any year.

Tomorrow might commence for Jessica Rakoczy at the end of this month, if an opponent can be found for the 29th. Tomorrow, for Rakoczy, however, won't be complete and Yesterday won't have a chance at change until she is looking across the ring at the fighter who made Yesterday so "hard." Jessica Rakoczy is a fighter who stays active and does so with competitive and compelling bouts. That puts her in a special category, in the sport of Women's boxing, coupled with several other quality fighters including Ann Marie Saccurato. If those two boxers, Rakoczy and Saccurato, do, indeed, get together for a rematch of their memorable September bout, it will be indeed be a Tomorrow for Jessica Rakoczy and a tomorrow worth marking on the calendar for the fans of Women's boxing.

Bernie McCoy

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