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Boxing results, takeaways: Katie Taylor, Amanda Serrano exceed expectation; Shakur Stevenson announces himself

With a pair of marquee fights on opposite sides of the country, the sport of boxing took center stage in the United States on Saturday, including the biggest women’s match in history.

Undisputed lightweight champion Katie Taylor (21-0, 6 KOs) edged seven-division champion Amanda Serrano (42-2-1, 30 KOs) via split decision in a fight of the year contender at New York’s Madison Square Garden. Meanwhile, in Las Vegas, Shakur Stevenson (18-0, 9 KOs) provided a surgical dismantling of Oscar Valdez (30-1, 23 KOs) to unify 130-pound titles in a battle of unbeaten junior lightweight champions.

Let’s take a closer look at the biggest takeaways from a wild night at the fights.

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1. Some way and somehow, Taylor-Serrano exceeded expectations

In the first female combat sports main event in the 140-year history of “The World’s Most Famous Arena” in midtown Manhattan, Taylor and Serrano did everything in their power (and then some) to elevate their sport. This showdown between the top two pound-for-pound fighters in the game was a skillful war with dramatic swings of momentum. But it was also free of trash talk and some of the excesses often associated with boxing. Even with a disputed result from the split trio of judges at ringside, both fighters showed nothing but class and humility in praising one another after the fight. Even better, everyone associated with this instant classic, including promoters Eddie Hearn and Jake Paul, showed an immediate want to run in back (possibly in Taylor’s native Ireland). Despite the hype and pressure, both Taylor and Serrano refused to take a backward step in a skillful and savage display of their future Hall-of-Fame talents. This was a special night that won’t be forgotten soon and the sold-out crowd of 19,000-plus produced one of the most electric atmospheres for a big fight this country has seen in years.

2. However you scored Taylor-Serrano, you were probably right

No, seriously, the fight really was that close. If there was ever a women’s boxing match that served equal rules to the men when it comes to three-minute rounds and 12-round title bouts, it was this one. Instead, the two-minute round setup was bound to create a potential scoring controversy if there were no knockdowns. Luckily, in this case, the split-decision end result was anything but a robbery. With the exception of a dominant Round 5, in which Serrano routinely hurt Taylor, there was enough two-way action in each remaining stanza for it to have gone either way. In the end, the judges preferred Taylor’s counter combinations to the harder single shots landed by Serrano in the big moments. Yet to illustrate how close this fight really was, Serrano outlanded Taylor by a margin of 173 to 147, according to CompuBox, yet it was Taylor who was far more accurate by landing 39% of her total punches and nearly 47% of her power shots . The fight could’ve gone either way and instantly demanded a rematch. There’s no reason this incredible rivalry can’t end up being a trilogy, when all is said and done.

CBS Sports will be with you throughout the entire way on Saturday for both events, so be sure to follow along with the live results and highlights below.

Results, highlights

  • Shakur Stevenson (c) def. Oscar Valdez via unanimous decision (117-110, 118-109, 118-109)
  • Katie Taylor (c) def. Amanda Serrano via split decision (94-96, 97-93, 96-93)
  • Keyshawn Davis def. Esteban Sanchez via sixth-round TKO
  • Nico Ali Walsh def. Alexander Ibarra via first-round knockout
  • Liam Smith defends Jessie Vargas via 10th-round TKO
  • Franchon Crews-Dezurn (c) def. Elin Cederroos via unanimous decision (99-91, 99-91, 97-93)

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