On April 30th, Katie Taylor, the undisputed lightweight champion of the world, successfully defended her WBC, WBA, WBO and IBF lightweight titles against Amanda Serrano, a seven-division world champion, at Madison Square Garden. Taylor and Serrano became the first women in history to headline a card at the ‘Mecca of boxing’.
Katie Taylor’s career is almost unbelievable. In 2001, she competed in the first officially sanctioned women’s boxing match in Ireland. In 2012, she brought a gold medal home from the Olympic Games in London. In 2016, she turned pro and by 2019 she had five world titles. Further still, she spearheaded a renaissance in women’s boxing in Ireland and the United Kingdom, ushering in a new era.
Taylor went into the fight on Saturday with a record of 20-0-0 with 6 knockouts. Serrano had a record of 42-1-1 with 30 knockouts. I predicted a draw in the lead-up to the fight and, though Taylor edged a victory on the cards, a draw would not have been an unjust outcome. In any case, the bout will likely be fight of the year. It is a fight that will go down in history as one of the greats, context aside.
Serrano, of Brooklyn, looked slick fighting on the front foot. She stalked Taylor, pushing her back into the ropes with a firm jab. She maintained range and when the distance closed she unleashed flurries in the pocket – making use of some of the most effective rear-hand uppercuts I have ever seen. At the end of the fifth, Taylor took shots that would have likely ended the fight for any of Serrano’s former opponents.
It takes a skilful craftsman to control a fight with a taller opponent on the back foot; however, Taylor did so masterfully. She faded back mere inches to avoid straight shots and then propelled herself in to return combinations of thundering counterpunches. When necessary, she held the center and boxed within Serrano’s range. As always, she demonstrated pure heart and unwavering determination.
There is no sense in being anything but short and sweet because Taylor and Serrano said it all on Saturday. In a year when boxing has found itself under the microscope once again – when cartels and corruption are at the forefront of everyone’s mind – the boxers put it all on the line and demonstrated just how magnificent the Sweet Science can be. Katie Taylor and Amanda Serrano have altered the course of boxing history irreparably, and the title for the greatest ever Irish fighter has been claimed.