This is a pretty busy weekend for boxing, with shows of note taking place Friday and Saturday. Friday night’s big card is live on DAZN and headlined by Devin Haney vs. Zaur Abdullaev. We’ve already looked at the main event: here’s a look at one that might have more appeal to MMA fans, as Heather Hardy (22-0(1); 4 KO) faces Amanda Serrano (35-1-1; 26 KO).
- MMA Connection - You’re here at Bloody Elbow, so let’s start with the MMA talk. Hardy is a 2 year MMA pro, with all her fights taking place in Bellator. She’s 2-2. Serrano started adding MMA to her training a few years back; she’s currently signed with Combate Americas, where she went 1-0-1 last year. So there is a bit of an MMA promotional war at play here.
- Growth of women’s boxing - Women’s boxing has, for some time now, struggled to get the same exposure as men’s boxing. Where in MMA we have seen women’s fights become just as important as men’s fights (thanks in large part to Ronda Rousey), boxing hasn’t quite seen that divide close. But it’s getting there. Holly Holm brought a degree of wider recognition, and fighters like Katie Taylor, Claressa Shields, and, yes, Serrano and Hardy, have started to bring in more eyes. For women’s boxing, this is one of the more noteworthy fights out there, and another good step ahead.
- But not enough growth - As both Hardy and Serrano have made clear, women’s boxing may be growing, but there is still a massive gap between how the men and women are treated, particularly when it comes to fighter pay. Both here are making far below what men would be expected to make in a comparable position, and it is this gap that has prompted both to consider turning their backs on boxing and going to MMA. They are trying to make things more even here - whether they can or not remains to be seen.
- Katie Taylor - Of all those names, it is undefeated Irish Olympian Katie Taylor who stands at the top certainly in terms of popularity, and possibly in terms of skill too. She’s the golden ticket all women should be chasing right now, and it seems possible the winner here gets that shot. Taylor vs. either Hardy or Serrano would be a big fight.
- Prediction - Hardy probably has the higher profile overall, and she’s a talented fighter who I do think tends to get unfairly underrated at times. But it’s hard to pick against Serrano here. She’s more aggressive, more technical, more experienced, more powerful. She’s just better. Hardy is tough as nails, but I fear she might take an absolute beating here, eventually leading to a late corner stoppage. Amanda Serrano, TKO, end of round 8