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Avila Perspective, Chap.184: Katie and Amanda Make History in NYC

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  • Avila Perspective, Chap.184: Katie and Amanda Make History in NYC

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    By David A. Avila

    NEW YORK CITY-Two women from two different parts of the world who arrived at the peak of their craft with two different fighting styles will meet at Madison Square Garden on Saturday, April 30, in a historic encounter aside from a total purse of more than $2 million dollars.

    Ireland’s mighty Katie Taylor (20-0, 6 KOs) meets New York City daughter Amanda Serrano (41-1-1, 30 KOs). DAZN will stream the Matchroom Boxing and Most Valuable Promotions fight card.

    Taylor defends the undisputed lightweight world championship against seven-division world titlist Serrano.

    “This is historic, two women have never done this before fighting on the main event at Madison Square Garden,” said promoter Eddie Hearn.

    For Taylor the journey involved a long amateur career that started 20 years ago when she pretended to be a boy so she could box. It was the only way she could participate in the amateur boxing program.

    “It was illegal for girls to participate in boxing in Ireland at the time,” said Hearn.

    Over the years things changed and Taylor was allowed to box when girls were finally accepted. The Irish fireball racked up many wins in the amateur boxing world.

    “Katie won dozens of gold medals over the years,” said Hearn.

    Serrano was not as involved in amateurs. As a youngster she would follow her older sister Cindy Serrano to the boxing gym and watch her train. She too entered amateur boxing but did not stay very long. Few would fight Amanda who was knocking out the other girls.

    “Nobody wanted to fight her,” said Jordan Maldonado who manages Amanda and is married to Cindy Serrano.

    As a professional it was quickly discovered that Amanda Serrano packed power in both fists. Knockout wins were common for her though women seldom score knockouts. After winning the super featherweight world title, she traveled to Sweden and lost a very close decision. She then went on a tear and started a six-fight knockout streak and did not allow anyone to reach the third round.

    No one would fight Serrano in America, so she departed to Argentina.

    In South America the Puerto Rican southpaw challenged Maria Maderna for the WBO lightweight title. Ironically its one of the titles now held by Taylor. Though visitors find it nearly impossible to win in Argentina, Serrano was not deterred and knocked out the champion in six rounds.

    That was eight years ago and both Taylor and Serrano have defeated everyone who they faced. They almost fought each other two years ago but the pandemic and other circumstances did not allow their meeting to take place.

    British fans were outraged that Serrano would not accept the fight regardless of circumstances. They flooded social media with rants and declarations of Serrano’s refusal to fight for offers they deemed higher than she has ever received or would ever get.

    “I guess I’m the one laughing all the way to the bank,” said Serrano who now will make an estimated $1 million dollar-plus to fight Taylor who also will surpass $1 million for their fight. “This would never have happened if not for Jake Paul.”

    The social media star Paul saw Serrano fight and quickly surmised her talent and realized he could also help women’s boxing advance to the top financially.

    It was Hearn that became the first promoter to believe in a woman’s fan appeal. He quickly made Taylor a main event fighter and gave her immediate exposure as soon as she became a professional in November 2016.

    Thousands appeared at the weigh-in on Friday afternoon at the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden. A large contingent of Irish fans arrived early. A late arriving contingent of Puerto Rican fans clamored for Serrano.

    A few female world champions were also in attendance like Seniesa Estrada, Mikaela Lauren, Alycia Baumgardner, Claressa Shields, Jessica McCaskill and prospects like Ramla Ali.

    Many champions and contenders cannot attend but are looking forward to watching the historic fight.

    “It’s really amazing hearing that each woman on the main event is earning a million,” said Sulem Urbina a flyweight contender from Arizona. “As a woman in this sport it just makes me think about the endless possibilities for the future. Boxing for women is heading in the right direction.”

    Franchon Crews vs Elin Cederroos

    Undisputed titles are becoming the norm. Franchon Crews, the WBC and WBO super middleweight titlist, meets Sweden’s Elin Cederroos the WBA and IBF super middleweight titlist in a fight for undisputed status.

    It should be a banger.

    Cederroos and Crews had two earlier dates that were canceled due to unforeseen problems. Now they are finally meeting and anxious to see what happens.

    “It’s an honor to be here at MSG and I’m the first Swedish boxer to come here… I’ve been ready for such a long time now,” Cederroos said.

    Crews was blunt.

    “The difference between me and Elin – she’s a soccer player turned boxer. I’ve been boxing for over half of my life. I ain’t gonna lose to no half town boxer. And it’s all gonna go down on April 30,” said Crews.

    Jessie Vargas vs Liam Smith

    Each expects a knockout win, but both are known for their durability. Expect this to go 12 furious and bloody rounds in their super welterweight match.

    “I say what I feel, and I do feel that I can be the first one to stop Jessie, especially at 154. 154 is my division,” said Smith (30-3-1, 17 KOs) who went the distance with Jaime Munguia and lasted nine rounds with Canelo Alvarez.

    Vargas predicts a knockout too.

    “I love what I do and I’m great at it. That’s why I continue to stay on the top, top 10 in the world. This Saturday night I will knock out Liam Smith as I said before,” said Vargas (29-3-2, 11 KOs).

    Photo by David Avila