At 4-foot-11 and 112 pounds, you wouldn’t look at Melissa McMorrow and think she had the nickname “Mighty,” and would be boxing for a world title this weekend.
Yet, that’s exactly what McMorrow will be doing in Guadalajara, Mexico, on Saturday, when she faces Arely Mucino for the WBA women’s interim flyweight world title.
The 30-year-old, who was raised in San Jose and now lives in San Francisco’s Mission district, turned pro in 2008 and has fought her way to an opportunity of a lifetime. She said the pressure won’t slow her down, however.
“I have the confidence going in there that I can beat her,” she said. “To be honest, I never think, ‘Oh, I don’t know about this one.’ Before the fight, I’m always pretty confident that I’m going to beat the person.”
Though playing soccer before getting into boxing left her with knee problems early in her career, McMorrow said recent rehab work has her ready to fight at her best this weekend.
“This is the first fight I feel like there’s confidence that there’s actually strength in the leg that’s hurt,” she said. “I really think that this fight will be different than others, and I’m excited for that.”
In her corner will be trainer Eddie Croft, who she called “one of the best trainers in the Bay Area.” That was enough incentive for her to move to his San Mateo gym, B Street Boxing.
Croft said he saw the potential in McMorrow when she caught his eye at other gyms.
“I always kind of watched her from afar and noticed the level of dedication and how hard of a worker she was, and a pretty good athlete,” Croft said. “She lacked things like fight IQ, defensive ability, just a whole thing of the psychology and strategy about boxing.”
McMorrow credits Croft with helping her develop those traits.
“He always had things to say that made a lot of sense to me,” she said. “That’s why I decided to come train with him because I thought in terms of tactics he was the best.”
Though she has had success in the ring, McMorrow still maintains a full-time job at SolarCity in San Mateo and hopes to make a career at the clean-energy company when she takes off the gloves for good.
“I can’t really make enough money boxing,” she said. “That’s the reality of it. And you can only do it for a couple years. As much as I think it would be a lot of fun to just do this, you can’t do it forever. I really think that solar will take off and be the energy source of the future.”