Dmitry Salita took exception to what he believes are Mikaela Mayer’s unsportsmanlike comments toward Alycia Baumgardner.
The Brooklyn-raised ex-fighter and promoter of Claressa Shields is all for trash-talking between two top-notch competitors, but he believes Mayer crossed the line with her recent statement on The DAZN Boxing Show that Baumgardner “is getting the biggest payday of her life after doing nothing for the sport.” Mayer, the IBF, WBO junior lightweight champion from Southern California, added in her interview that she thinks Baumgardner, the WBC, IBO champion from Michigan, is taking advantage of a recent upsurge in women’s boxing derived from the work put in by Mayer herself, Claressa Shields, and lightweight champion Katie Taylor.
The comment caught Salita’s attention, as he is co-promoting the card on which Mayer and Baumgardner will fight in a 130-pound title unification match. Shields, whom Salita promotes, will take on Savannah Marshall in a middleweight unification match in the main event of that card on Sept. 10 at the O2 Arena in London.
“Normally I don’t talk about other fighters’ business, but I felt obligated to say something since I am promoting this card and I thought that objectively what Mayer said was wrong,” Salita told BoxingScene.com. “I’ve seen how hard Alycia has worked – not just for the past few months, but for years I saw her bust herself at the Kronk gym and at Tony Harrison’s gym for $4,000 [paydays]. And then, one day, she gets an opportunity to go to another country as the underdog and knocks out Terri Harper.”
Baumgardner stunned observers when she knocked out Harper, the then WBC 130-pound titlist, with one punch in the fourth round of their title bout last November. The win led Baumgardner to a promotional contract with Matchroom Boxing.
Salita, who is based in Michigan, believes it was wrong of Mayer to denigrate a fellow female boxer. Salita contends the fact that Baumgardner is participating in a women’s unification fight is evidence that Baumgardner has contributed every bit to women’s boxing as Mayer. Salita, moreover, said the only real tangible difference between Mayer and Baumgardner is that Mayer has had the support of a considerable promoter and broadcaster from the beginning of her career. Mayer is promoted by Top Rank, which has an exclusive broadcasting partnership with ESPN; Mayer recently resigned with Top Rank to a lucrative extension.
“They had similar backgrounds, similar amateur careers,” Salita said. “Yes, Mayer had the Olympics. But the only difference is that Mayer has exposure on ESPN, Alycia did not.”
Salita adds that the person to whom both Mayer and Baumgardner are indebted to is none other than Shields, who has won two Olympic gold medals and titles across three weight classes.
“She was the first woman to appear in the main event on premium cable in just her second pro fight,” Salita said. “We had Showtime to thank for that.
“Claressa is a very competitive person and she will speak her mind, but she will never say to another fighter that she has contributed nothing to boxing.”
“I wish both fighters will make tens of millions of dollars someday” Salita continued “I have no favorites. But there’s no need to say what Mayer said.
“Besides, it’s Claressa who has done so much for the sport. She chose boxing when she was a little kid when the women’s boxing business did not exist. She went to the gym everyday despite all the negative influences surrounding her in Flint, Michigan.”