Katie Taylor and Amanda Serrano put on not just a fight, but a big boxing event for the ages tonight, with Taylor beating Serrano by split decision over 10 rounds in an instant Madison Square Garden classic.
Taylor won on two cards of 96-93 and 97-93, with the third judge seeing it 96-94 for Serrano.
Much was made of the hype ahead of the fight, some arguing whether it truly was a “big event.” If you didn’t think it was and you didn’t watch the fight, maybe you don’t want your mind to be changed. If you didn’t think it was and you did watch the fight, there’s no way that it wasn’t.
Taylor (21-0, 6 KO) and Serrano (42-2-1, 30 KO) had a massive crowd at one of the most iconic venues in global sports rocking from the ring walks until the final bell and beyond, with passionate fans of both women getting so loud at one point that referee Michael Griffin straight up couldn’t hear the bell to end a round — and it never got much quieter, either.
As for the fight? Well, it was everything you could have hoped it would be. Often, Taylor showed off her technical superiority, her ability to control the distance, her superior hand speed and foot work.
But at key times, Serrano was able to flash her superior power, hurting Taylor badly in the fifth round to the point that it became questionable whether Taylor would see the fight’s final bell.
Taylor survived — we’ve seen her do it in spots of trouble before, but never quite like this. Never before has she been in with a puncher like Serrano, just as never before has Serrano been in with a technician like Taylor.
That’s the recipe that can often make for an excellent fight, and it did here. When you add in that both women are tough as nails and were willing to do everything to win, having worked so hard to make it to a stage like this in a headline fight, you got something truly special.
Taylor vs Serrano 2 basically seems like an inevitability. There’s not going to be a bigger fight for either woman to take, and it was stated beforehand that there was a rematch clause, but not instantly triggered either way. It had to prove commercially viable to do it again, and I don’t think anything more could be asked in that regard.
They sold a ton of tickets at MSG. The crowd were unlike any we’ve heard in years, really, anywhere in the world. And then the fight was great, and there will be arguments about who won.
It’s a rematch that won’t be nearly as “hard” of a sell as this fight was.
“What a fighter Amanda Serrano is. I think we’re both winners here tonight. Look what we’ve just done, selling out Madison Square Garden in the biggest fight in women’s boxing history,” Taylor said. “What a fight, what a win, what a night.”
“I knew that I had to dig deep in this fight. I knew it was going to be in the trenches at some stage. She’s a phenomenal fighter and a great person,” Taylor continued. “I just have the heart to go with the skill and I knew I was going to be able to come through.”
“They say nobody wants to see women, this place is jam-packed,” Serrano said. “We put on a hell of a show. Katie’s a great champion, she’s undefeated, she’s undisputed champion. I’m truly honored to share the ring with you. Best versus the best, you don’t see that much. I’m just so overwhelmed. Look at this crowd! Women can sell, women can fight, and we put on a hell of a show!”
“I believe I won, of course. I hit her with the harder punches, I almost had her out one round, but it is what it is,” Serrano said of the decision. “I’m happy we finally got this over with. I am the smaller girl. I am still the champion at featherweight. The fans wanted this fight. I came up two divisions to fight the best. Who’s a true warrior? That says it all.”
Asked about a rematch, Katie simply said, “Let’s do it again, Amanda!” And Amanda replied, “Whatever the team wants.”
This was the best of boxing. Here’s hoping we see it again.