Katie Taylor, Amanda Serrano poised to make history at Madison Square Garden

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·4 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

There have been a number of memorable turning points in women’s boxing.

One was the emergence of Christy Martin, who brought women’s boxing back from the dead on the undercards of Mike Tyson fights in the 1990s. She ultimately landed on the cover of Sports Illustrated.

Another pivotal moment was the addition of women’s boxing to the Olympic schedule for the 2012 Games in London.

And the women’s side of the sport takes one more significant step toward universal acceptance on Saturday, when Katie Taylor defends her undisputed lightweight championship against Amanda Serrano at what is expected to be a packed Madison Square Garden (DAZN).

It will mark the first time in the long history of the iconic arena that women will fight in a main event.

“It’s definitely very different from when I started boxing as a 9 or 10 year old,” Taylor, 35, said at the final news conference. “You had to be a boy to get a fight. Women’s boxing wasn’t even a sanctioned sport in Ireland.

“Now here we are many years later headlining the most-iconic venue in boxing. We’re making history.”

One reason the matchup has caught fire is the long-term success of the participants, who are among the three top female fighters in the world (with Claressa Shields).

Taylor (20-0, 6 KOs) became an instant legend in her native country when she won a gold medal at the 2012 London Games. She fell short in the 2016 Olympics but has known nothing but success as a pro, primarily as the long-reigning 135-pound queen.

Serrano (42-1-1, 30 KOs) is a seven-division world titleholder, which is a record if you don’t count the two Ring Magazine titles that gave Manny Pacquiao belts at eight different weights. Either way, the accomplishment is remarkable.

The winner on Saturday will be something akin to a goddess of the sweet science, which isn’t lost on them. Taylor was speaking for both of them when she said, “I don’t train to lose.”

At the same time, even when they start to speak about the fight itself and what a victory would mean to them personally, they always circle back to the significance of the event for the women’s side of the sport.

“I think the real winners are the fans and the women in general and the sport of women’s boxing because it’s only going to grow from now on,” said Serrano, who grew up in near by Brooklyn.

Eddie Hearn, who is co-promoting the event with YouTuber-turned fighter-turned promoter Jake Paul, is caught up in the moment.

The Taylor-Serrano show will take place on the same night as a major, title-unification bout between Shakur Stevenson and Oscar Valdez in Las Vegas on ESPN and ESPN+. Hearn, Taylor’s longtime representative, is certain that his competitors erred by scheduling their event when they did.

That’s at least a slight exaggeration. Stevenson-Valdez will have a larger viewership – at least in the U.S. – because of ESPN’s reach. At the same time, Taylor-Serrano certainly has captured the imagination.

“I told ESPN, I told [promoter] Bob Arum publicly, Jake did as well, it was a massive mistake to go on the same night,” Hearn said. “We were announced, were on sale, and they still chose to go on the same night. You only have to see the media attention here today.

“And Stevenson against Valdez is a great night. But it’s not Taylor-Serrano. It’s not selling 18,000 tickets. It’s not going to be driving subscriptions and viewership around the world like [this] will.

“… This fight has all the recognition for, yes, being the biggest female fight of all time but also a stand-alone fight in boxing between the undisputed world champion and seven-division world champion. Katie hit the nail on the head perfectly: one of the best fights in boxing that could be made, regardless of male or female.”

One of the best-possible matchups in the sport. Another important milestone for women’s boxing. It’s bigger than anyone involved, including the fighters.

“I’m confident I’ll come out victorious,” Taylor said, “but the best part of this fight, the best part of my whole legacy is to be able to inspire the next generation. This fight Saturday will inspire a lot of young girls.

“That, to me, is the best part about this.”

Related

How women's boxing got hot: The rise of Katie Taylor and Amanda Serrano

Katie Taylor vs. Amanda Serrano: date, time, how to watch, background

Amanda Serrano ready to make history with proposed 'megafight' vs. Katie Taylor