Good, bad, worse: Jake Paul-Tyron Woodley dud, Amanda Serrano shines

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A critical look at the past week in boxing

GOOD

Amanda Serrano (left) dominated Yamileth Mercado from beginning to end Sunday night. Jason Miller / Getty Images

One good thing that emerged from the Jake Paul-Tyron Woodley card was the exposure Amanda Serrano received.

With due respect for Claressa Shields and Katie Taylor, it seems to me that Serrano, a seven-division titleholder, is arguably the best female fighter in the world. She demonstrated why on Sunday, dominating Yamileth Mercado to win a wide unanimous decision and retain her featherweight titles.

Shields (11-0, 2 KOs) obviously is a fine boxer and a fantastic ambassador for women’s boxing but the talent pool for fighters her size is shallow and she doesn’t have much power. Taylor (18-0, 6 KOs) is another excellent technician with limited firepower.

Serrano (41-1-1, 30 KOs) is also a polished boxer and her knockout percentage is nothing short of remarkable given the two-minute rounds with which women’s boxing is saddled. She can crack.

The Brooklyn native wasn’t able to take out Mercado (18-3, 5 KOs) but that was the result of the Mexican’s impressive skill set and toughness, although she was worn down, battered and cut by the end of the fight.

Serrano clearly was the star of the show on Sunday, in terms of both her performance and the entertainment value of her fight.

There is talk of a fight between Serrano and Taylor, a lightweight titleholder. That would be a difficult task for Serrano – who would jump two weight classes if they were to fight at 135 pounds — because she seems to be a natural 126-pounder but she has the ability to hold her own. And Serrano has experience at heavier weights. She actually held a lightweight title in 2014.

I hope that fight happens. If Serrano is as good as I think she is, she’ll find a way to win that fight and convince more people that she – not her more-publicized rivals – is the best in the business.

***

BAD

Jake Paul (left) and Tyron Woodley did a lot of posing. Jason Miller / Getty Images

Those who forked over $59.99 to watch the Paul-Woodley fight and now have buyer’s remorse should ask themselves something: What did you expect?

Paul, who won a split decision, had three fights going into Sunday night. The YouTuber is a good, strong athlete but he’s in the early stages of his development, as we saw against Woodley. His knockouts in Fights 1-3 drew attention away from the fact he has rudimentary skills. And Woodley, making his boxing debut, is a 39-year-old former UFC champ who was never much of a striker in his MMA heyday.

So it should’ve been no surprise that Paul and Woodley looked like rank amateurs. That’s what they are.

As someone close to me said afterward, “It’s like going to a lousy restaurant and expecting great food.”

The only thing that could’ve saved this fight was a spectacular knockout or a wild brawl, which those watching presumably expected. Many of them wanted to see the brash Paul get his fourth stoppage in four fights or get knocked out himself.

It didn’t happen, which is part of boxing. Both fighters landed some hard shots but none that hurt the other significantly. And they fought cautiously, which precluded the possibility of an entertaining war.

Thus, we were left with a dud.

I don’t blame either guy. Paul fought an intelligent fight and won a decision, which he deserved. He outworked Woodley, who had his moments but didn’t let his hands go enough to complain about the decision.

And from a business standpoint, they are both geniuses. They will have walked away from the fight with seven-figure paydays when all is said and done, which is the result of that $59.99 you sacrificed.

Maybe next time you’ll have a better idea of what you’re getting for your hard-earned cash.

***

WORSE

An 18-year-old Mexican boxer named Jeannette Zapata is in critical condition after she was knocked out in four rounds by Marie-Pier Houle on Saturday in Montreal.

Zapata, from Aguascalientes, went into convulsions after the fight was stopped and she was rushed to a hospital, where she was placed in induced coma and remained in an intensive care unit on Monday.

Zapata (2-4, 0 KOs) was stopped in six rounds in May but reportedly underwent a screening – including a brain scan – before the fight on Saturday. And it’s difficult to criticize the matchup because Houle (4-0-1, 2 KOs) also is developing fighter.

We can only hope that all precautions were taken before Zapata stepped into the ring, which seems to be the case.

“Accidents like Zacarias’s are very, very rare, and we want to make sure to find ways so it doesn’t happen again,” Michel told CBC.ca on Monday morning.

Meanwhile, Houle expressed her concern on Facebook.

“Never, ever, is the intention of seriously injuring an opponent in my plans.” she wrote. “My sincere thoughts go to my opponent, Jeannette Zacarias Zapata, as well as to her family. I wish with all my heart that she will recover.”

We all wish that.