Jessica McCaskill always sensed a return to the 140-pound division was in her future.
That move now comes with joining an exclusive class this weekend.
At stake for the Chicago-based welterweight queen is the rare opportunity to become undisputed champion in two weight divisions. McCaskill is dropping back down to junior welterweight, where she meets unbeaten, unified champ Chantelle Cameron for all of the major titles. Cameron puts her WBC/IBF belts on the line, while the vacant WBA/WBO titles are also in play this Saturday at Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
“It’s just a massive dream that I didn’t know I had,” McCaskill admitted in a DAZN interview following her open media workout Wednesday evening (local time) in Abu Dhabi. “It’s an opportunity I didn’t know would come.
“You don’t really live in the moment because you have a job to do. But you want to feel those feels because when will you have that opportunity again?”
A win by McCaskill (12-2, 5KOs) on Saturday would make her just the second boxer in the four-belt era to become undisputed champion at two weights. The only other boxer to do so is Claressa Shields, a three-division champ who claimed undisputed status at junior middleweight and middleweight (twice) and already ranked among the greatest female fighters of all time.
Evander Holyfield is the only male boxer to claim undisputed championships at two weights during the three-belt era. No male boxer has done so since the WBO has gained acceptance as a major title.
The odds suggest a pick-‘em fight in McCaskill’s quest for immortality. She is just a +135 underdog according to BetMGM Sportsbook, which has England’s Cameron (16-0, 8KOs) as a -150 favorite.
Cameron has made three defenses of the WBC 140-pound title she has held since October 2020. The 31-year-old Northampton native added the IBF chip in a ten-round nod over Mary McGee last October 30 in London. She was due to next face Kali Reis, even traveling to the U.S. and sitting ringside for Reis’ narrow win over Jessica Camara to unify the WBA/WBO belts last November 19 in Manchester, New Hampshire.
The undisputed fight never materialized, as Reis has not returned to the ring due to personal matters and other commitments. From there came the decision to just have all the belts at stake for this bout.
McCaskill previously served as a unified junior welterweight titlist, having dethroned Erica Farias for the WBC title in October 2018 just one fight after giving fits to Irish superstar Katie Taylor in a failed bid for the WBA lightweight title. McCaskill unified the WBC/WBA belts in a ten-round win over Anahi Sanchez in May 2019, followed by a repeat win over Farias in her final fight before moving up in weight.
All of the welterweight titles were claimed in one fell swoop after an upset ten-round win over then-unbeaten, undisputed champ and pound-for-pound queen Cecilia Braekhus in August 2020. That fight as well as the rematch both took place at a contracted limit of 145 pounds, with McCaskill winning both fights before scoring knockout wins in two subsequent title defenses. The 38-year-young boxer weighed just 144 pounds in a third-round knockout of Alma Ibarra on June 25 in San Antonio, sensing the possibility of next challenging for the 140-pound crown.
The return to the division comes in her second career fight outside the U.S. and first in the Middle East. The slender physique on display during Wednesday’s open workout suggests the rare move down in weight to win another title has not at all taken a physical toll.
“Preparation has been top notch,” insisted McCaskill. “From the dieting, to the nutrition to the conditioning to the sparring partners, it’s been one hundred percent. I was on weight about a month ago. No problems with weight.”
Cameron-McCaskill serves as the chief support of a Matchroom Boxing-promoted DAZN telecast headlined by the Dmitry Bivol-Gilberto ‘Zurdo’ Ramirez WBA light heavyweight title fight.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox