By James Slater: Together they helped pave the way for female boxing in the 1990s, and trailblazers Mia St. John and Christy Martin, who enjoyed real fame and presumably fortune that decade and beyond, have now called it quits on their boxing careers.
Last night, in a far-too-late rematch of their December 2002 meeting (won by “The Coal Miner’s Daughter,” as Martin is known), the two announced their retirement almost simultaneously. Former Playboy nude model St. John, the older woman by a year at age 45 (but looking far younger!) got revenge last night at The Table Mountain Casino in California, winning the ten-rounder by scores of 97-93 and 96-94 twice.
St. John is now 47-11-2(18). Martin, who survived a monstrously savage attack by her former husband in 2010, walks way with a 49-7-3(31) ledger.
A decade or so ago, last night’s fight would have been pretty big news. But in today’s world, though still intriguing enough to some fans, the rematch between two female fighting “legends” (St. John’s words) had the look and feel of a curiosity event. Still, both women can still fight and both veterans got themselves in fantastic physical shape (St. John, who could pass for a woman ten years her junior, especially).
St. John boxed and moved in the early rounds, before the two slugged it out in exchanges in the last half of the fight. Always one step ahead, St. John teed off on Martin in the final session, when Martin dropped her hands and showed defiance.
The two embraced at the bell and now they will walk away together.
“We started together, we’re ending together,” a victorious St. John said after the fight. “We’re two legends and we’re going out at the same time.
“Father Time has called my day,” Martin said.
At a time when female boxing is really buzzing at amateur level – with a number of boxing ladies, such as Nicola Adams and Katie Taylor winning medals at London 2012 – two of the women who made female boxing so acceptable and accessible can walk away knowing they achieved plenty themselves.
Besides, and to risk sounding like a male chauvinist, both St. John and Martin are far too pretty to be getting punched in the face! If there’s a female boxing Hall of Fame, I’m sure both gals will be getting in quite soon.