Anything boxing related - just ask Chris
Anything boxing related - just ask Chris
Striding off the stage when her post-fight press conference wrapped up last night, Amanda Serrano pointed to her watch and said, “It’s Katie Taylor time, baby.”
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Conventional wisdom, not to mention wishful thinking, presumes that Serrano’s dominant ten-round win over Miriam Gutierrez in Tampa, Florida on Saturday night was the final hurdle that stood between the victorious seven-division world champion and the undisputed lightweight titleholder, who defended her belts against Firuza Sharipova last weekend. The particulars, of course, will be decided at the negotiating table. One can only assume things will progress more smoothly than the last time a deal for a Taylor/Serrano showdown was tantalizingly close to being struck.
Eddie Hearn lowballed Serrano with a proposed 80/20 split of the purse for a fight that was to have taken place quite literally in his backyard during a relative lull in the Covid outbreak last summer. The he said/she said talks quickly became contentious before breaking down altogether. Instead, Taylor rematched Delfine Persoon while Serrano was made to bide her time until December when she was matched against Dahiana Santana, who Amanda had already knocked out three years prior, and did yet again–in just over ninety seconds on this occasion.
This time, though, the stars seem to be aligning, and it appears as if we will actually get to see the most anticipated fight in women’s boxing since Christy Martin and Lucia Rijker signed on the dotted line for their 2005 ‘Million Dollar Ladies’ clash which never wound up happening. A litany of lofty yet well-deserved expectations surround the second attempt at making Katie Taylor vs. Amanda Serrano, specifically that both fighters will earn a million dollars to headline Madison Square Garden opposite one another next spring.
To get to Katie Taylor, Serrano had to first dispatch Miriam Gutierrez. To the knowledgeable observer, it is well-known that this was going to be no insignificant feat in and of itself. The Madrid native, domestic abuse survivor, and former world title challenger is one tough customer. Gutierrez racked up a perfect 13-0 record before tasting defeat for the first time at the hands of Katie Taylor last November, valiantly persevering to the final bell despite a fourth-round knockdown and being soundly outboxed the rest of the way.
Serrano was well aware of the fact that there was a danger inherent to underestimating Gutierrez as a tuneup opportunity or dismissing her as a mere stepping stone to get to Taylor. This would be no more true than when she learned after the fact that Miriam had rehydrated to 160 pounds on the day of the fight, whereas Amanda remained at 133.75 just as she weighed in the day before. Fortunately, she had sparred with middleweight Nisa Rodriguez in preparation for Gutierrez. And then, of course, you have to account for the brute strength with which Amanda is naturally endowed and might have been a determining factor in producing a message-sending stoppage if not for the size discrepancy.
“My power is real,” stated Serrano in a pre-fight interview. “I take it to whatever division I go to.” Her firepower was on full display in round one, as Serrano blitzed Gutierrez from the opening bell with an 86-punch assault of heavy-handed body blows and head shots in the first two-minute stanza alone.
Looking to be in legitimate trouble in the very early going, Gutierrez not only lasted past the first round, but weathered the Puerto Rican southpaw’s relentless onslaughts over the entire course of the fight. She even landed an impressive 123 power punches to Serrano’s 209, proving that she was in it to win it, not merely endure it.
Amanda may have absorbed more unnecessary damage in this bout than she has since early in her career–I’m thinking mostly of her four wars with Ela Nunez–but you would never have known it by comparing the faces of Serrano and Gutierrez in the locker room afterwards when the two warriors met to express their mutual appreciation for a terrific scrap.
Looking very much the calm, cool, collected victor, Serrano’s countenance was a study in almost elegant composure. Gutierrez, by grotesque contrast, took on the appearance of a Halloween jack-o-lantern left out on the front porch until the second week of November.
Judge Effrain Lebron awarded one round to Gutierrez, otherwise it was a clean sweep on the scorecards for Amanda Serrano. And, hopefully, a clear path ahead toward midtown Manhattan next year for an overdue date with Katie Taylor for the benefit of everyone involved.