Mia and the Media

17.11.03 - By Bernie McCoy: Who knew? All this time no one suspected that Mia St. John was an Abraham Lincoln admirer. I submit that conjecture given the manner in which Mia interacts with the media. She has followed a paraphrase of Lincoln's famous pronouncement, "You can fool some of the people all of the time, and that's who you should concentrate on". St. John's long history with the media has concentrated on such "friendly fire" hosts as Jim Rome, who seems to think of himself as the reincarnation of Howard Cosell and who, in reality, comes off looking and sounding more like "Howard the Duck". Another of St. John's favorite media stops is the ironically titled "Best Damn Sports Show on TV" which future broadcast historians will undoubtedly recall as the last stop on the road to oblivion for Tom Arnold.

St. John's latest foray with the media kicked off on Monday with a visit to "Cold Pizza", the two hour ESPN 2 morning show that attempts to co-opt the best elements of "Sports Center" and the "Today" show. It, unfortunately, comes out looking like a two hour audition tape for dropouts from those broadcasting schools you sometimes see advertised on matchbook covers. Mia's segment was early in the second hour and she was interviewed (and I use that word in the most expansive sense of the term) by one Kit Hoover. Ms Hoover's knowledge of boxing seems in confusion with chores a "personal shopper" performs for someone like Kit Hoover after a shopping spree at an upscale department store.

Hoover began the session by dropping all credibility with her introduction of St. John as "one of the best fighters in female boxing". Not to be outdone, St. John kept the absurdity moving along when the subject turned to the Christy Martin bout, last December (Ms Hoover couldn't help praising herself for knowing that Martin was known as the "Coal Miner's Daughter). Mia started off with a howler about how "a lot of people thought I won (the fight)" and quickly followed up with her feeling that, indeed, she had "outboxed" Martin the entire bout. As far as a rematch was concerned, St. John stated that "negotiations were underway for a bout in 2004, probably on ESPN". This, of course, would have been an ideal time for someone to remark that the groundswell for a Martin/St John sequel was about the same as the clamor for a sequel of "Gigli", the Ben Affleck, Jennifer Lopez debacle. However, Kit Hoover was obliviously reaching for boxing training gloves in order that St. John could instruct her in the hitting of the heavy bag. It was at that point that the audience of hundreds was probably reaching for the remote control.

St. John is reportedly scheduled to be on "many other" TV shows in the next several weeks and its a fair assumption that these appearances will not include any "tough rooms", much as the vast majority of St John's opposition over her boxing career haven't included many tough opponents. Not that St John is a stranger to "tough" crowds. There were a few dicey moments in Mississippi last year following the decision that St. John was awarded over Kristy Follmar, a stark contrast to how most of the crowd and the Fox Sports annoucers saw the bout. Recently, in North Dakota, St. John's draw with Olivia Pereira was met with something less than approval by many fans who thought Pereira had won. ESPN 2 might even have second thoughts about whether a Martin/St John rematch has any appeal. The last time St. John was on Friday Night Fights, in one of her seemingly innumerable matchups with Jessica Mohs, the bout was described as "lackluster" in one of the kinder assessments of the four rounder, by the network's on-air voices.

I recently wrote about the admiration that I have for the courage of men and women who step into the ring. That applies to all fighters including Mia St John. What concerns me is the public perception of St John as "one of the best female fighters". She is nothing of the sort. She has not, to this date, beaten a quality fighter, as she has matched up, over her career, against either overmatched opposition or fighters with little or no experience. She has lost to every fighter with any amount of experience or skill that she has fought including Christy Martin, and Jenifer Alcorn. She was KO'd by Rolanda Andrews, who had a 4-5 record at the time. She, it can be quite realistically argued, lost decisions to Kristy Follmar and probably to Olivia Periera,even though the bouts went into the record book as a win and a draw, respectively. In spite of this, St. John is continually referred to as one of the top boxers in the sport. That type of overstatement is a perfect example of the cynical definition of celebrity as "one who is famous for being famous". St. John's image with a complaisant media who either won't or don't have the boxing knowledge to ask tough questions will remain intact if the extent of her appearances are of the content free variety of the "Cold Pizza" stop. Despite what's been said, perception is not, in this case, any where near reality.

Article posted on 17.11.2003

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