Katie Taylor vs. Amanda Serrano NYC faceoff (Ed Mulholland/Matchroom)
So much has been spoken about and written regarding the societal and historical significance of Katie Taylor vs. Amanda Serrano, the first female fight to headline Madison Square Garden, that picking the winner of what is, on paper, a highly competitive fight for all the major female lightweight titles, has become almost secondary.
On that rather important theme, I have observed in recent weeks a swing towards Serrano and a feeling, often expressed reluctantly given Taylor’s standing and everything she has done for the cause, that the Irishwoman has passed her prime. This may seem illogical on the surface. Taylor is only two years her rival’s senior and has entered the professional ring fewer than half the times of Serrano. However, Taylor enjoyed and endured a lengthy amateur career, at the very highest level, previous to turning pro, not to mention her proclivity in the paid arena for going the distance and taking part in wars. These grueling battles have added considerable miles and Southpaw Serrano, conversely, has been able to get the job done quickly, for the most part, providing herself arguably the biggest puncher, pound-for-pound, in female boxing, in addition to capturing world titles in seven weight classes. She has completed 153 rounds in her 44 contests, compared to 159 for Taylor in just 20 bouts.
Odds for the biggest fight in women’s boxing history opened earlier this week and sportsbooks are all in agreement that Amanda Serrano is the favourite. Her odds on her are about -140 while Katie Taylor’s are around +125. It’s going to be close match so potential bettors should first review the current offer from BetMGM. It’s limited to new users only but well worth a look to obtain the best value.
The attributes Taylor relies upon – speed, workrate – are among those most adversely affected by the passage of time, and as patient, powerful Serrano moves into the second half of their 10-round contest, as history dictates she will, will Katie fade? Past battles with the likes of Natasha Jonas and twice against Delfine Persoon have seen the national hero push herself beyond reasonable expectations and pull it out the bad in close fights. A lot may depend on how much Serrano is able to take out of her opponent before the championship rounds.
Taylor has more versatility, the broader skill-set and will presumably enjoy at least equal support at MSG, with New York housing large populations of both Irish-Americans and Puerto Ricans. Serrano though could be closer to her peak of her and possesses that all-important equalizer.
Motivation could be another factor. Taylor has been rightly lauded for her accomplishments, both in the ring and outside, for over a decade, celebrated and revered since her amateur days. Serrano’s achievements of her are admirable but have taken place largely outside the spotlight. When Taylor turned pro, after several world championships and an Olympic title, there was competition for her signature from her and she has always been the A-side as a pro. Serrano had to scrabble and claw for everything she has, often struggling financially. Will that play into the outcome on Saturday? Taylor has undeniable fighting spirit but if all else is equal, something she has to give and the undisputed champion, so close to cementing a legacy she has worked tirelessly to build, will be highly motivated.
I believe Taylor is the better all-round fighter and, as such, I’m tipping her to retain, on points, after a close fight. When an irresistible force meets an immovable object, however, anything can happen.