Interview with Melinda “La Maravilla” Cooper ahead of Cooper vs. Velez II!
Melinda “La Maravilla” Cooper (21-1, 11-KOs) is hungry — and she wants her IBF Superbantamweight Title back. She is set to meet Puerto Rican fighter Ada Velez (19-3-3, 6-KOs) in a rematch and in what promises to be a tough, taut battle, La Maravilla and Velez will meet for a ten-round championship fight on Sunday, November 20, 2011 at the Texas Station Gambling House and Hotel in Cooper’s hometown of Las Vegas. Given her popularity, it is expected that the bout will be fought in front of a sell-out crowd — who are equally as hungry to see her back in the ring.
Melinda "La Maravilla" Cooper (r) vs. Ada Velez
La Maravilla, 26 is known as a tough savvy boxer and is considered one of the best fighters in women’s boxing today. Both women met last March in Costa Rica when Velez took the belt by a split decision, 96-94, 96-94, 94-96. That outcome, which many believed was a poor decision at best certainly stunned Cooper and her team, but ever the champion, Cooper is grateful for the rematch and is looking forward to taking the belt back. Neither fighter has been in the ring since their outing in March, but Cooper feels confident that she is ready.
Melinda graciously agreed to take time from her busy training schedule to answer a few emailed questions. This is what she had to say!
How are you feeling about meeting Ada Velez for the IBF Female Super Bantamweight Title?
>>>I feel amazing about the upcoming match between Ada and I. I’ve been training hard and taking Genesis Sports Nutrition to ensure my body is recovering properly. I’m ready; it is going to be a great fight!
Your bout in March resulted in a split decision with two judges scoring it 96-94 for Ada and one judge scoring it 96-94 for you. Did that factor into setting up the rematch?
You had a perfect 21-0 record coming into your match back in March, how has that affected you and your training coming into this bout?
>>>It has made me hungrier!
You are considered one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world, at 26 you are also relatively young given that there are a lot of elite women fighters still in the game well into their 30’s, what’s next for you?
>>>After I win the IBF title and with the support of my sponsors: Silver Nugget, Lucky Club and Opera House, I plan to move down in weight to 118 and fight for a title. I would also like to fight at a couple of different weight classes for world titles.
Most of your bouts have been in the United States — although your three most recent bouts have been out of the country in Costa Rica and Mexico. Do you feel you will increasingly need to fight out of the country?
>>>No I do not feel I will need to fight out of the country to get competitive fights. I believe if promoters put more female bouts on in the U.S. it would reduce the need to fight abroad.
In thinking about women’s boxing in general, what do you project for the sport in the coming years?
>>>I feel the recent inclusion of women’s boxing into the Olympics will only serve to bring more (much deserved) positive attention to the sport from those who are already familiar with it; as well as making it more attractive to mainstream audiences.
Melinda Cooper sparring with Laura Serrano prepping for her upcoming fight:
Melinda Cooper boxing highlights video