In a high-stakes showdown for the WBA, WBC, and WBO welterweight titles at Caribe Royale Orlando, a bout between Sandy Ryan and Jessica McCaskill ended in a controversial ten-round split draw. The outcome left both fighters with differing opinions on the outcome, as it was a classic fight in which both fighters left the ring feeling they should've won the bout. Pundits and fans were just as divided and the outcome was unpopular in the building as well.
The fight showed the championship merit of both fighters as McCaskill was undeterred by the boxing ability of Ryan as she used power and volume which seemingly caused Ryan to have a bloody nose after the third round. It was clear Ryan had the more traditional textbook boxing skill, but McCaskill's willingness to exchange and never back down became the story of the fight. As Ryan was able to use McCaskill's aggression against her in rounds four and five, the sixth saw some of McCaskill's best work.
The overall feeling from social media and reading the room was that Ryan had created a slight edge going into the late rounds. McCaskill continued to press forward and that seemingly was rewarded on two of the three judges' scorecards, as the final rounds saw heavy exchanges and punches thrown at close quarters. Seemingly the telling blow was with Ryan finishing strong in the tenth, which many might have expected to be the telling moment of the fight.
That wasn't the case.
The judges were unsure how to score the bout. The scores were 97-93 for McCaskill, 96-94 for Ryan, and 95-95 for the draw.
The bout was to serve the purpose of being a unification between the WBA and WBA welterweight champion, McCaskill taking on the WBO champion, Ryan. This was hoped to lead to an undisputed clash down the road with the IBF welterweight champion, Natasha Jonas, yet this outcome leaves us a few steps from an undisputed fight in the women's welterweight division.
The outcome, a split draw, now sets the stage for what seems to be a fight that should be revisited. This was a good bout, and one worthy of a main event spot or co-feature as this outcome adds fuel to the fire for future promotion and future narratives around these two fighting.