The biggest fight in women’s boxing history lived up to the hype, then exceeded it.
Katie Taylor (21-0, 6 KOs) had to overcome getting hurt by the vaunted punching power Amanda Serrano (42-2-1, 30 KOs), made a late charge in the closing rounds and prevailed in a thrilling split decision to remain the undisputed lightweight champion. Over 19,000 fans comprised of raucous Taylor and Serrano supporters packed New York’s Madison Square Garden, and they made for the type of atmosphere that rivals the absolute best men’s boxing atmospheres.
Taylor’s superior boxing skills seemingly got her the early rounds, but Serrano’s constant pressure, willingness to attack the body, and exchange power punches turned the tide in her favor. In Round 5, Serrano rocked Taylor with a series of big shots that almost knocked the Irishwoman down for the first time in her career. Taylor’s right eye was swelling, her face was bloodied, and the Puerto Rican power-puncher was on the cusp of acquiring all of Katie’s belts.
Serrano continued to have success in Round 6 and Taylor looked to be target practice for her, but Amanda’s incredible output seemingly took a toll on herself. In the final four rounds, Taylor was the cleaner puncher and she was the more active offensive fighter. The closing seconds of the 10th and final round — let this fight be the catalyst for eliminating the 10x2 minute round maximum limit for women’s boxers — was like Hagler vs. Hearns. Just an all-out slugfest between two gutsy and great pugilists desperately looking to score a knockdown or get the telling blow to win a round and perhaps the fight.
In the end, two judges had it 96-93 and 97-93 Taylor and the other judge had it 96-94 Serrano. It was a truly close call even if 97-93 and 96-93 are perhaps a bit wide looking for Taylor.
This was action-packed and the pendulum really did swing back and forth between the two fighters. We just witnessed what may stand as boxing’s Fight of the Year, regardless of gender. This was a classic and both Taylor and Serrano gave everything they had. They both expressed interest in a rematch in the post-fight interview and Taylor’s promoter Eddie Hearn wants to do it in Ireland. This can happen in Antarctica for all the fans care and people will watch.
Women’s boxing had its big night in the spotlight and it truly delivered.