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Katie Taylor vs. Amanda Serrano is the 2022 TSS Fight of the Year

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  • Katie Taylor vs. Amanda Serrano is the 2022 TSS Fight of the Year

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    It goes without saying that many of the most ballyhooed fights in boxing history have been duds. The April 30 match between 35-year-old Irishwoman Katie Taylor and 33-year-old Amanda Serrano, a Brooklynite of Puerto Rican extraction, was the first female fight to be accorded main event status at Madison Square Garden and was hyped as the most important women’s fight ever. The undefeated ex-Olympian Taylor (20-0, 6 KOs heading in) would be risking her three world lightweight title belts against the surging Serrano (40-2-1, 30 KOs; winner of 28 straight), who had chewed up the competition in multiple weight classes.

    Where would this match fit on the spectrum? Would it summon the ghost of Ali-Frazier I or the ghost of Mayweather-Pacquiao? Or would it fall somewhere between those opposite poles and quickly recede from memory?

    It is almost sacrilegious to compare a modern-day fight with the 1971 encounter between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier. That confrontation was the Fight of the Century, before and after, not merely because of what transpired in the ring but because of the electricity in the air at a sold-out Madison Square Garden; the goosebumps were palpable from the moment the combatants emerged from their dressing rooms.

    The battle between Taylor and Serrano was a corker of a fight climaxed by a breathtaking final round, but many post-fight reports were themed as much around the colorful spectacle -- the flags of Ireland and Puerto Rico were in abundance – than the fight itself.

    Cynics were of the opinion that a fight between two women, no matter their pedigrees, was best placed in the small room of the Garden, the venue now called the Hulu Theater. To the contrary, Taylor vs. Serrano was a virtual sellout, attracting 19,000-plus, far exceeding the expectations of lead promoter Eddie Hearn.

    The multitude raised the roof as punches flew from every direction. “The applause was as relentless as the action in the ring,” wrote Coral Barry for BBC Sport. “Even the two fighters were spellbound by the crowd,” wrote TSS ringside reporter David A. Avila.

    Serrano enjoyed the best round of the fight, the fifth, badly hurting Taylor and nearly scoring a knockdown. However, when the smoke cleared, Taylor retained her belts on a split decision (97-93, 96-93, 94-96).

    Ringside reporters were fairly evenly divided as to who merited the decision with many believing a draw was the most appropriate outcome. However, there was little bellyaching about the verdict from members of the press as this would have detracted from the larger story: a fight for the ages and between two women, no less.