Katie Taylor and Amanda Serrano proved every doubter wrong on Saturday night, putting on a classic at Madison Square Garden — which was louder than it’s been for a boxing match in who knows how long, and it was a louder boxing match than any in recent memory overall — which Taylor won via split decision to retain her undisputed lightweight championship.
The question now will be what comes next for Taylor, and also for Serrano, too. Earlier during fight week, Eddie Hearn said there was a rematch clause, but not one like we normally think of rematch clauses. Taylor vs Serrano had to prove viable — commercially, as entertainment, all of that, meaning that it had to prove worthy of an investment in a second fight between the two.
They couldn’t have done any more than they did. The fight was excellent, it reportedly sold out Madison Square Garden, and the fan reaction in the building was just otherworldly. The passion from the fans was truly unbelievable, whether they had traveled over the Atlantic from Ireland or the United Kingdom, or they were Puerto Ricans or New Yorkers there to support Serrano, or whatever else. They never relented, and the fight gave them no reason to get any quieter, because the women fought their hearts out for 10 full rounds.
You have to figure Eddie Hearn and Jake Paul, Serrano’s promoter, will be plenty open to the idea. Hearn has said he might like to do the rematch in Ireland, where Taylor is a genuine national sporting and cultural hero, truly beloved unlike maybe any other active fighter in the world today.
Will Serrano want to do that? She mentioned in her post-fight interview — while showing wonderful class and appreciation for the entire event and for Taylor — that she still has a pair of title belts down at featherweight.
In theory, Serrano (42-2-1, 30 KO) could go back to defending those, but is she really going to want to go back to fighting someone like, at best, Erika Cruz or Sarah Mahfoud, who also hold belts, instead of the glamour and prestige of a Taylor rematch? No disrespect to those fighters, but Serrano-Cruz and Serrano-Mahfoud just won’t come anywhere near Taylor-Serrano 2.
And it’s not like Taylor totally blew Serrano away. Listen, I scored the fight 98-92 for Taylor, which sounds crazy wide, I know, but I really thought she boxed fantastically other than the two rounds where Serrano was doing very obvious damage. But Serrano’s supporters have their argument, too. If you liked the couple of harder shots per round Serrano would get in, maybe you find six rounds for her. Maybe you saw it even.
There is a debate to be had, though I don’t think it’s one with a lot of venom to it. It was a great fight. They are both great fighters, everything they’ve been cracked up to be, as was their much-hyped, magnificently-promoted fight.
Taylor (21-0, 6 KO) also doesn’t have anyone near as good an option, but there are others out there.
Mikaela Mayer, who holds two belts at 130 lbs, is maybe but maybe not close to getting further unification against either Alycia Baumgardner or Hyun Mi Choi, who are expected to fight this summer. Mayer, a Top Rank fighter, has previously said she’d be willing to fight the Taylor-Serrano winner, and she has many times been critical of Taylor’s style — not in a disrespectful way, just calling it as she sees it. Simply put, she is confident she can beat Katie Taylor, and if the deal can be made, would seemingly love to give it a shot.
Estelle Mossely, who claims to be a world champion because she holds the little-regarded IBO lightweight belt, has said she wants the Taylor-Serrano winner — kinda. Mossely, a former amateur rival of Taylor’s who beat Katie in 2016 at the World Championships, says she wants one or two more fights and then a fight with Taylor. Mossely is 29 years old and she’s not going to fight anyone near Taylor’s level to prepare for her, so you might wonder what she’s waiting on, but that’s her call. Taylor’s not going to wait around for her, though. If it becomes a fight to do at some point, it can happen, but I don’t think Taylor has any burning need for Astana revenge.
In-house, Matchroom have ex-130 lb titleholder Terri Harper, who recently moved up to lightweight in March after being crushed by the aforementioned Baumgardner last November. Harper is still a work in progress, a good fighter but 25 years old and, even as a former titlist, still gaining valuable experience. She didn’t have the big amateur career of a Taylor or Mossely or Mayer. Matchroom are big supporters of Harper’s, and serving her up to Taylor right now would seem strange.
Tasha Jonas may fancy another crack at Taylor, who beat her by narrow decision in May 2021. Since then, Jonas has jumped all the way up to junior middleweight to win a vacant belt in February, though realistically the two basically fought as welterweights and Jonas probably could come back down to 135 for the right fight, and Taylor is always going to be “the right fight.”
There are others out there, none terribly intriguing, and the big thing is, none of them are close to doing the Serrano rematch, even as much as I think Mikaela Mayer would be a great opponent and is a fantastic fighter. Mayer doesn’t have the sort of support that Serrano does, and while it’s only been a year of Serrano being promoted by Jake Paul, her promoters at Top Rank just haven’t been able to get her star to that level, though they have done their best by traditional means with ESPN main events and whatnot.
It really should be Taylor vs Serrano again. They are 35 and 33, respectively, they are still great fighters, and it would rightly be expected to be a great fight again. They’ve always had styles that make for intrigue on paper, and now we’ve seen it in action, and it was everything we hoped it could be and more. There’s no way it’s as tough to sell the second time as it was the first, and they didn’t wind up having much trouble selling it in the end, anyway.