Mikaela Mayer has never shied away from her war of words with Alycia Baumgardner.
The two Americans fight to unify the WBO, IBF and WBC super-featherweight world titles on the undercard of Claressa Shields vs Savannah Marshall on October 15, live on Sky Sports.
They have forged a ferocious rivalry themselves. “It comes with the territory. It’s a lot of drama. It’s a lot of stuff that normally I would excuse myself from in my everyday life,” Mayer told Sky Sports.
“But I understand that this is part of the job and it comes with the territory because this is entertainment. So I embrace it in that sense but I do it for a reason.”
She explained the roots of the hostility between the two champions. “She got the [WBC] belt so I started calling her out. That’s it,” Mayer said.
“She didn’t like it. Some people, I guess, that’s how they build themselves up, that’s how they hype themselves up. That’s what they need to do to believe in themselves.
“That’s not me. I’m mostly smiling most of the time. My confidence comes from the work I put in in the gym and in my training camp and my team. The confidence that my team instils in me through hard work and constant correction and adjustments and criticism from my team. That’s where my confidence comes from. She just pulls it out of, I don’t know.
“She called me a hater but she’s the hater. She’s just so mad. I don’t know what’s wrong with her.”
Mayer bitterly objected to Baumgardner dismissing her as “pampered” by her platform with promoter Top Rank and US broadcaster ESPN. But Mayer points out that she earned that position, not least by becoming an Olympian and with her performances in the ring.
“Nowhere in my story was anything handed to me,” Mayer said. “I started late. I just worked my ass off. Literally in the gym and in the restaurant as a waitress trying to stack my money to make sure I got to these tournaments.
“Going to school, going to the gym, then bar tending and waitressing till late, early in the morning, I did that for years, stacking up money to get to these tournaments, make sure I didn’t miss them. Didn’t matter what it took,” she continued.
“There were four of us crammed into a hotel room, splitting the costs of everything. Going to Walmart and stuffing our refrigerator with all the food for the week so we didn’t have to go out and eat. We did this for years. There was no privilege there. [For] us women of that era there was no privilege there. We just had to hustle and show up and win.”
Mayer is convinced, though, that those hard experiences have made her a more formidable fighter.
“I never heard of her as an amateur,” she said. “I’m just saying facts. She thinks she’s being disrespected but it’s just true.
“She was never on the national team with me or a training camp when they brought in the number three and four, I’d never heard of her. That’s not me hating that’s me telling you guys the facts. I’m very surprised that she’d had 165 amateur fights because I’d never heard of her.
“I’m not hating. I say you haven’t fought anyone in the pros – look at her [on] Boxrec. The girls that she’s knocked out, [most of them] have a losing record. Most of the people on her resume have a losing record. I don’t think she’s been tested. If that’s all the fights she could get, fine, but the point is you haven’t been tested the way that I’ve been tested.
“Again facts, if you don’t like the way it sounds I’m sorry, it’s just true. You don’t have the experience of the opponents that I’ve had. So it’s no disrespect. It’s just facts.”