Jane Couch: On the Road Again

12.06.07 - By Bernie McCoy: "I love Foxwoods, it's my fourth time. I fought Leah Mellinger and Liz Mueller there in addition to the first Clampitt fight and now this one, so it's my fourth. I know all the officials there, I feel like I'm home, it's a great place." This was Jane Couch, last week, answering my question about going back to Foxwoods Casino in Mashantucket, Connecticut for a return ten round bout with Jaime Clampitt on June 20..

What Couch leaves out is that two of those three previous bouts were wins, Mellinger and Clampitt, bracketed around a six round decision loss to Mueller. Couch also casually omits the fact that Foxwoods is five time zones and an ocean away from her home in England. She, likewise, neglects to point out that those three bouts were spread over seven years (Melllinger in 1997, Mueller in 2000, Clampitt in 2004) and that all three of the bouts were tough, main event quality fights against top flight competition.

Once all those facts are compiled, it's not difficult recognizing why Jane Couch stands out in any crowd of female fighters and it's not because of her distinct British accent. In a career that has extended over nearly thirteen years, Couch has been in the ring with almost every top female boxer in the sport and she has done so, for the most part, far from home. No, you don't have to listen to Jane Couch speak in order to realize that she is unusual in the sport of Women's boxing, two phrases say it all: "fought most of the top fighters" and "far from home." Those words not only sum up Jane Couch as a professional boxer, but, it is worth noting that those descriptions are not often found in the same sentence with too many of the top fighters in the sport, today. Couch fights often and she fights the best available opponent, as she is doing again in Connecticut on June 20. And while Couch doesn't do "entrance music" when she heads into the ring, as she has 37 times in those 13 years, if she did, the appropriate accompaniment might be Willie Nelson's anthem to going where the work is: "On the Road Again."

As pleased as Couch is to be going back to Foxwoods Casino, the boxing fans in the Nutmeg State are probably just as happy to see Couch return, particularly for a rematch with Jaime Clampitt. The two fighters staged one of the memorable fights of 2004, a very close ten round decision for Couch. The fans who were there and those who saw the bout later on television, remember it as ten rounds of bell-to-bell action, a bout amazingly free of clinches, with momentum shifts for each fighter over the ten rounds, ending with a razor-thin, deserved decision for Couch. Ring Magazine dubbed it "Female Fight of the Year" and WBAN concurred, naming it co-winner along with that year's Chevlle Hallback/Layla McCarter bout. Couch looks for the same kind of all-out battle this time, although with the possibility of some changes, "It's always (good) to box someone (when) you have an idea of their style, (but even though) I know I won the (first) fight, I wasn't happy with the way I fought, I know she (Clampitt) will fight a different fight, so I may have to change.

As tough as she expects the fight on June 20 to be, Couch already has another bout lined up and, like the Clampitt bout, it's one she looking forward to, one against another tough fighter. Couch has signed with Starbox, a Canadian promotion company, to fight ten rounds in Monte Carlo, in September, for the WBC Superlightweight title, against Christy Martin. This is a bout Couch has been waiting for, a long time. "Everyone wanted to fight Christy in the early days, she was the only big name in Women's boxing. Now there are more fighters around but in those days, of course, I wanted to fight her. I'm glad I have the chance now, better late than never, as they say." "They" could also add that Couch/Martin is a fight that probably should have happened years before, but, even today, it's still an attraction that stands out simply because it matches two of the legacy fighters in the sport of Women's boxing. Neither Couch nor Martin will have to look around very hard for the other fighter in the ring in Monte Carlo, both fighters have the reputation of, figuratively, throwing punches from the moment they step out of the dressing room. In answer to a question of whether the Martin bout would go the ten rounds, Couch replied, "That's hard to say, I think it will be a great fight and there is one thing about Christy, she can fight." That will make two fighters, worthy of that label, in that ring in Monte Carlo in September.

As far as "after Martin," Couch is adamant about the question of whether the end of her career in the ring is in sight. "No way, to be honest, I might stop traveling as much as I do. I'm a professional boxer and it's my job to fight. Who knows when I'll retire, but I'm sure my manager will know (when it's time). But at the moment, I feel I'm better than I've ever been and so much stronger and whoever fights me is in for a a hard night's work." That's as good a recap as any for Jane Couch and her career in the ring, "a hard night's work," Couch is a fighter who leaves it all in the ring and she's been doing it for thirteen years and doesn't sound like she plans on stopping any time soon. That's good news for boxing fans in Connecticut this month and in Monte Carlo in September and it's good news for the sport of Women's boxing. Because not only is Jane Couch "on the road again," but, as usual, when she gets where she's going, there's going to be another good fighter waiting.

Article posted on 13.06.2007

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