It was billed as the US debut of a future superstar, and the promise of a spectacular performance was more than believable.
In the end, only the ending itself failed to meet the lofty expectations placed in this fight, in which 30-year-old Chantelle Cameron defended her WBC junior welterweight title against Melissa Hernandez in Las Vegas with a seemingly hasty fifth-round stoppage in a fight that Cameron was winning handily.
The bout, in support of the Devin Haney-Jorge Linares main event, left a sour aftertaste in the audience, who inexplicably booed Cameron even though she put an almost perfect performance against a motivated but completely outgunned opponent. The stoppage was a matter of time, according to every observer on social media, and yet the moment itself, following a combination by Cameron with Hernandez on the ropes but not clearly hurt at that moment, was perceived as unfair by many.
The Ring’s women’s ratings panel, however, did not fail to appreciate Cameron’s impeccable performance, and elected to move her to the No. 1 spot in the junior welterweight division in a majority vote. Cameron also remains at No. 3 in the talent-laden lightweight division.
“I think Cameron didn’t deserve to win like this,” said Mexico’s Irene Deserti, editor of Rincon Rojo magazine. “It was not bad that the referee stopped the fight, since Hernandez was being punished from the beginning of the fight, but it seems to me that he did not choose the right moment. This overshadowed the champion’s victory. Anyway, her performance was excellent, and she has a great future! Bravo for Cameron!”
Her enthusiasm was echoed by other panelists as well.
“I loved Cameron, she had an amazing performance even though Hernandez was not up to the challenge,” said Argentina’s Yesica Palmetta. “The stoppage was a bit weird, but it was justified anyway because the fight was just a monologue for Cameron. Cameron is very strong and fast, and she was overwhelming with her volume of punches, as usual. It will be interesting to see Cameron facing Estelle Mossely and reviving their amateur rivalry one day.”
Mark Jones went even further by arguing that, “Cameron has a great jab and fabulous timing, she can do it all. She defeats everyone from 135-147.“ Boxing historian Malissa Smith said, “I agree with pushing Chantelle Cameron to the No. 1 spot. She boxed beautifully. I felt bad for Melissa. I know she worked hard ahead of the bout,” she added, with first-hand knowledge of the subject as Hernandez’s gym mate at the fabled Gleason’s Gym in Brooklyn.
The only pushback in the debate came as a result of Hernandez’s sub-par performance, which in the minds of a few panelists failed to test Cameron’s abilities and therefore failed to provide a valid argument for her promotion.
“At 140lbs, it is hard for me to see if Cameron is superior to (Christina) Linardatou with the win against Hernandez. I don’t have any objection to putting her above (Mary) McGee,” argued Japan’s Yuriko Miyata, with Los Angeles-based writer and podcaster Lupi Beagle agreeing.
“I’m with Yuriko. I’m OK with putting Cameron above McGee but I wouldn’t rank her above Cristina yet,” said Beagle, co-owner of Beautiful Brawlers, before taking on the soiree’s promoter for his soft approach towards matchmaking for his female stars.
“Of course she was winning the fight and Melissa wasn’t going to win. But they should’ve let her finish. (UK-based Matchroom promoter) Eddie (Hearn) picks a 41-year-old that has fought once in five years. He makes it easy for his girls and he definitely made it easy for Chantelle,” said Beagle.
With a stacked 135-147 weight region, plenty of old amateur rivalries to be revived (Katie Taylor included) and the potential of youth and talent on her side, Cameron will soon be putting her talent to the test in more than one challenge worthy of her new position in our ratings.
Crews-Dezurn and Cederroos, for the inaugural Ring belt at 168
On June 19th, in a card headlined by Teofimo Lopez’s defense against George Kambosos with the undisputed lightweight championship at stake, another undisputed championship will be on the line in the co-main event, with WBO/WBC 168-pounds queen Franchon Crews-Dezurn facing Sweden’s WBA/IBF titlist Elin Cederroos for all the belts in Miami.
Since Cederroos is the current No. 1 in The Ring’s Women’s Ratings, and Crews-Dezurn is our No. 2 in that list, the stakes will include, for the first time in history, The Ring’s championship belt in the women’s super middleweight division.
Crews-Dezurn (7-1, 2 KOs) has not lost a fight since her debut against Claressa Shields in 2016, and lifted the vacant WBC trinket against Maricela Cornejo two years later. One year after that fight, she added the vacant WBO belt to her collection in a return bout against Cornejo. In January 2020 she dropped a decision to Alejandra Jimenez, a result that was overturned due to a positive test by Jimenez for a banned substance.
Cederroos (8-0, 4 KOs) made her debut in 2017 and obtained the vacant IBF belt against Femke Hermans two years later. She added the WBA belt in her US debut against Alicia Napoleon Espinosa in January 2020.
140 pounds (junior welterweight)
The Ring Champion: VACANT
1 – Chantelle Cameron
2 – Christina Linardatou
3 – Mary McGee
4 – Erica Farías
5 – Kali Reis
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