On April 30th at Madison Square Garden, in what is considered by many the highest-profile fight in the history of women’s boxing, Katie Taylor (20-0, 6 KOs), Bray, Ireland, will do battle with featherweight champion (WBC, WBO, IBO) Amanda Serrano (42-1-1, 30 KOs), Bronx, NY, for Taylor’s universal lightweight (WBA, WBC, WBO, IBF) titles. This fight will mark the first time a women’s match is the main event at Madison Square Garden; the winner will be considered the pound-for-pound best in women’s boxing.
Taylor, a 2012 Olympic Gold Medalist (lightweight), is a boxer/puncher with exceptional hand speed and above-average power in her left hand. She’s repetitive in her attack, follows her opponent, and often pulls out high and straight back. She’s likely three years into the post-prime portion of her hall of fame career, reaching her zenith with a dominate ten-round December 2018 victory over long-time super-bantamweight champion Eva Wahlstrom. Taylor has successfully defended her WBA lightweight title 12 times and her IBF strap ten.
Amanda Serrano, a southpaw, won the New York Daily News Golden Gloves in 2008 and was punching for pay a year later, besting aggressive banger Jackie Trivilino via a four-round majority decision in Albany. Serrano, also a hall of fame level combatant, has always employed an assertive, forward-moving, two-fisted attack but has developed into a serviceable boxer/puncher on her back foot in recent years. Serrano has an excellent body attack and is underrated defensively. If there’s a kink in her formidable armor, she is heavy on her front foot and has difficulty with lateral movement; see her fights with Heather Hardy and Lucia Larcinese.
To defeat Taylor, Serrano must hold even on Taylor’s initial attacks and then cut off her escape route, forcing Taylor to exchange when she wants to evade.
Taylor must not fight Serrano’s fight by engaging in unnecessary exchanges to defeat Serrano. She needs to keep her left foot outside Serrano’s lead foot and move laterally after exchanges.
Both fighters are largely short-rhythm fighters, Joe Frazier types. Taylor flashes long-rhythm tendencies, but her stance is very wide, and she has a tendency to get involved in exchanges. Except for the Bermudez (KO9) victory, Serrano hasn’t stopped A-level fighters within the distance. Heather Hardy, Yazmin Rivas, and Yamileth Mercado each lasted the distance with Serrano. Unless there’s a cut, or Taylor’s abilities, have eroded so severely that she can’t compete, this fight is going to the cards.
Defense: Taylor * It’s closer than many would assume.
Size: Taylor * She’s been a lightweight for her entire career.
Level of Competition: Taylor
Title Defenses: Taylor
Experience: Push *Taylor had an extensive amateur career
Intangibles: Serrano * The bout is in her hometown.
Age: Taylor 35, Serrano 33
Taylor’s Best Victories:
Persoon MD10, W10
Serrano’s Best Victories:
Prediction: Great fighters often perform great once late in their career. Taylor, who has an advantage in speed, size, and championship-level title defenses, will earn a closely-contested majority decision. A split decision or a draw is very likely due to the fight being in the hometown of Serrano and the fervor for multiple fights between the two. Taylor 5-4-1 in rounds 96-95.
Photo Credit: Sam Chinkes