Katie Taylor vs Amanda Serrano can launch new era in boxing

Katie Taylor (left) defends her lightweight titles against Amanda Serrano

You will struggle to navigate an article about Katie Taylor vs Amanda Serrano without encountering the words “biggest fight in the history of women’s boxing”, or some variation thereof. They have featured in these very pages and will again before the clash has its conclusion.

There’s good reason for that: The words are the most straightforward, accurate way to sum up this Saturday night’s main event at Madison Square Garden.

The very fact that – for the first time ever – a women’s bout is headlining a card at the iconic New York City venue, one whose history is inextricably intertwined with boxing, marks a momentous development in the women’s side of the sport. In fact, the card has been built around this undisputed title fight.

But the reality is that this fight does not just mark a momentous development for women’s boxing; it transcends that. It represents one of the most significant forward steps in the entire history of the sport.

Irishwoman Taylor, a gold medalist at the 2012 Olympics in London, will enter Madison Square Garden unbeaten at 20-0 and as undisputed women’s lightweight champion. The 35-year-old, who has six knockouts to her name as a professional, is also a former super-lightweight world champion and holds a win against Serrano’s sister Cindy.


Serrano, meanwhile, is unified featherweight champion and has held titles in seven divisions. The Puerto Rican has a considerable record of 42-1-1, having achieved 30 of her victories via knockout. Serrano’s sole defeat came 10 years ago – almost to the day – and the 33-year-old bettered her only draw by beating the opponent in question three times thereafter.

Serrano in action against Yamileth Mercado in August 2021

“We are obviously two great champions, the best in the world,” Taylor said on NBC’s Today Show this week, appearing alongside Serrano. “One of the reasons why this fight is so special is because it is the best versus the best in the world. It is an amazing moment.”

Serrano echoed the sentiment. “To be in this iconic event, sharing the ring with Katie Taylor – an amazing, undisputed and undefeated champion – is truly an honour,” she said. “We are the first females to headline Madison Square Garden. It is almost sold out, and they say that people don’t want to see women fight. This tells you something totally different.”

The hope is that Taylor vs Serrano, an intriguing match-up, will set a new trend rather than being a one-off super fight. Perhaps it will even launch a new era in boxing.

Savannah Marshall and Claressa Shields are expected to go head to head later this year. If Taylor vs Serrano proves to be a success, then Marshall vs Shields could and should get the same treatment. Once that door has been opened, it will not close.

Eddie Hearn and Jake Paul played key roles in ensuring that this weekend’s main event came together, and that it has been properly presented as possessing the stature that it indeed carries. Furthermore, Paul in particular was pivotal in guaranteeing that his fighter, Serrano, and her opponent will earn seven-figure purses for the contest.

Praise for the YouTube star and Hearn, who leads Matchroom and guides Taylor, should not come close to eclipsing that which should be reserved for Taylor and Serrano, however.

Hearn and Paul have been – unnecessarily, in all honesty – included on the poster for this week’s weigh-ins, positioned even higher than co-main eventers Luke Smith and Jessie Vargas.

Taylor retained her lightweight titles against Firuza Sharipova last time out

Taylor and Serrano are the stars this weekend. Hearn and the 25-year-old Paul deserve credit for their work in bringing those stars into the same constellation, but it is the Irishwoman and Puerto Rican who must be allowed the space to shine on Saturday.

Both fighters are obsessed with delivering on this most seismic of stages.

“You have to beat your body into submission every single week,” Taylor said. “That’s what you have to do to be a great champion.

“Saturday night is going to be the best night of my life. Everything is going to pale in comparison to what will happen on Saturday night.”

Serrano has her own motivations that go beyond the impact that this fight can have on boxing and women’s boxing in particular.

“I am doing this for Latinos,” she said. “This is the first time that Puerto Rico will have an undisputed champion.

“It is part of the blood, I guess. My dad was a boxer, my two brothers boxed, my mother was the first female boxing judge in Ireland. So, I feel like I am carrying on her pioneering spirit.”


That spirit can help Serrano and Taylor pave the way for Shields, Marshall, and eventually other women to follow – one lit by a brighter spotlight and leading to vastly-increased financial reward.

Serrano and Taylor are indeed pugilistic pioneers. They are set to prove it to the world on Saturday.

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