Women’s boxing has made gigantic strides in the last few years, led by stars like Katie Taylor and Claressa Shields, but its credibility suffers in one crucial regard – the controversial rule of two-minute rounds, rather than the three minutes contested by their male counterparts.
Top Rank’s Bob Arum, who promotes WBO super-featherweight champion Mikaela Mayer, believes that the insistence on two-minute rounds is wounding the women’s game.
Mayer battles Erica Farias on the Naoya Inoue vs Michael Dasmarinas undercard in Las Vegas this weekend, but Arum says he has not been interested in signing other female fighters due to the thorny issue of two-minute rounds. One less minute robs women’s boxing of drama and stoppages, as fighters tire or rally in the closing 60 seconds.
“A number of years ago, we met Mikaela. We were not into women’s boxing. We decided we would try women’s boxing because of Mikaela, because of her talent and the maturity she showed. That experiment has worked but it’s not worked completely. That’s the reason why we haven’t done any other women’s fights besides Mikaela’s fights,” said Arum.
“When you look at women’s boxing, what does it lack? I’ll tell you what it lacks. It’s only two-minute rounds. Look at fights. You’ll see that the third minute of the round is often the most exciting. Women are deprived of that because they’re just getting warmed up at the end of the second minute and there’s no third minute. That’s on the commissions. We have to lobby the commissions to allow women to fight three-minute rounds. There is no earthly reason it shouldn’t be done.
“It’s not promoters, it’s not networks. It’s the commission. I would certainly have women fight three-minute rounds. But that’s not allowed in Nevada or any other state.”
Emerging star Mayer (14-0, 5 KOs) certainly welcomes the prospect of three-minute rounds if it develops the women’s side of the sport and gives it an important parity alongside men’s boxing.
“We need to hear that promoters and networks want us to go those three-minute rounds and that they see the benefits it would have for women’s boxing,” added Mayer. “And if that’s what you want, I’ll give it to you, and if that’s what will grow women’s boxing, we will do it.”
Main image: Mikey Williams/Top Rank.