Taylor v Serrano delivers on breathless hype to join boxing classics | Boxing

Ohat was billed as the biggest night in women’s boxing history somehow surpassed the breathless hype that preceded it. Every time Katie Taylor was shown on the Jumbotron in the hours leading up to Saturday’s main event, the constant roar of the crowd turned into jaw-dropping volumes. It was the same for Amanda Serrano, only slightly stronger. This crackling energy built throughout the evening, amid the vigorous vocals of Wonderwall, Sweet Caroline and The Fields of Athens, in a type of atmosphere not seen in the great hall of Madison Square Garden since Felix Trinidad and Miguel Cotto.

And that was before the fight itself. And what a fight it was: a high-intensity fight between two top operators over 10 blank rounds before a sold-out crowd divided by their allegiances but united in full-throated, well-lubricated enthusiasm.

“We used to say that when you think of Madison Square Garden, you always think of Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier,” Taylor said. “Now people will be talking about me and Amanda Serrano for years and years to come. This is a historic fight and it certainly lived up to expectations.

Whether the unforgettable encounter was a case of catching lightning in a bottle or the dawn of a new normal for women’s boxing, no one can tell. Not every fight will have the advantage of featuring the two best fighters in the world, regardless of weight. But this fight set a new benchmark for what is possible with sustained investment.

“We touted this as the greatest women’s fight of all time,” said Matchroom’s Eddie Hearn, who promotes Taylor. “And it became one of the biggest fights in boxing today. What we saw was one of the biggest fights in the history of Madison Square Garden.

‘Best night of my career’: Katie Taylor and Serrano reflect on historic fight – video

It was the night that women’s boxing had desperately sought and deserved for years: the first summit meeting between consensus No. Juan Manuel Márquez in 2008. Organizers anticipated a crowd of around 10,000, then were forced to reconfigure seating to open the entire arena due to unforeseen demand.

For Taylor, who rose to stardom after winning gold at the London Olympics in 2012 and was familiar to the public before turning professional, there was a sense that her career was growing. The 35-year-old Brayois is a real athlete: whether it’s unifying world titles or kick in amazing goals for the Ireland national team, it feels like they would even if there was no paycheck at the end of the day.

But for Serrano, who joined the paid ranks three years before women’s boxing was added to the Olympics and didn’t enjoy the mainstream exposure it provided, there was no certainty that night would come. one day. At 33, the Puerto Rico native – who now lives in Brooklyn – has won world titles in seven different weight classes from 115lbs to 140lbs – one shy of Pacquiao’s all-time mark of eight – but has been unknown to all but diehard boxing fans for most of her. career due to a lack of investment in female fighters by television networks and promoters.

Katie Taylor lands a right-handed punch in her fight against Amanda Serrano, who moves to her left to avoid it.
Katie Taylor throws a punch but Amanda Serrano moves to avoid it. Photography: Gary Carr/Inpho/Shutterstock

Even as Ronda Rousey transformed women’s mixed martial arts from obscure spectacle derided by UFC President Dana White to main attraction, Serrano found herself relegated to the fringes of a sport where men with resumes similar to his are regularly among the highest paid in the world. athletes. During the run-up to the fight, she recalled once being paid $1,500 to defend her world title.

Not anymore. And thanks in large part to an unlikely partnership with YouTuber-turned-boxer-turned-promoter Jake Paul, who gave one of boxing’s most decorated but overlooked champions the promotional boost she needed to rake in the first purse at seven. figures in her career by signing her to her fledgling promotion company and having her fight on her undercardsr.

Women’s sport is having a moment, in case it has escaped notice. Just hours before Saturday’s fight, Lyon beat PSG in front of a record crowd of 43,255 for a Women’s Champions League match in France, setting the stage for a Champions League final showdown against a Barcelona side. which drew 91,553 people to the Camp Nou last month. A sold-out crowd gathered for the debut of Angel City FC on Friday, the groundbreaking NWSL team disrupting ownership and business models through goal-driven partnerships.

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But ultimately, it all depends on the product. And the immediate calls for Taylor-Serrano II the day after the fight will surely keep the momentum going.

Both Taylor and Serrano were open to sending him back to Ireland, where Taylor has yet to fight as a professional. But Hearn said Madison Square Garden officials had already asked to bring the rematch to New York in the fall. Let the bidding begin.

“We all want to see the best against the best,” Taylor said. “We saw something special here tonight, but imagine fighting in front of 80,000 or 90,000 people in Croke Park. Absolutely, it can happen.

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