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Avila Perspective, Chap 217: The State of Boxing; Women Overtake the Garden 

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  • Avila Perspective, Chap 217: The State of Boxing; Women Overtake the Garden 

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    By David A Avila

    These past 12 months in 2022 have proven to be the Year of the Women.

    Women’s prizefighting finally arrived and it was like a sonic boom. The prizefight between Amanda Serrano and Katie Taylor was voted Fight of the Year for both men and women by not just this publication but several others.

    “Wow,” said Serrano when told. “I feel blessed to know that myself and Katie are being rewarded for who we really are, fighters not just women.”

    While the men were unable to provide a mega fight in 2022, women stepped in and eagerly demonstrated their ability to attract and entertain fans when provided an opportunity.

    Serrano and Taylor proved it emphatically last Spring in Manhattan.

    Though Mexico’s Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, England’s Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua and little giant Gervonta “Tank” Davis were last year’s biggest male stars, none produced a mega fight moment during the year.

    Instead, prizefighting’s biggest moment in 2022 took place when two female stars Katie Taylor and Amanda Serrano met at Madison Square Garden in New York City on April 30. Their confrontation did not disappoint the 20,000 fans inside the arena and the millions watching on television sets and other media devices. It was pure 1 million-megawatt excitement brought by women.

    That had never happened before in the history of prizefighting. Women had never participated in a mega fight before where the boxing world was transfixed on their 10 rounds in the prize ring.

    “That was the goal from the very start; to be the first to be recognized like this is a dream come true,” Serrano said. “I’m glad I can add that to my resume: Fight of the Year without it saying women’s. Wow.”

    It was electric to see thousands of fans dressed in green roaring as Taylor walked into the arena. Or to hear the music play and fans cheer as Serrano paraded into the arena too. Luckily, I was 10 feet away from the walkway and could see the excitement and pride in their eyes. That energy was contagious.

    Of course, the fight itself was a blur of blows and moves between two elite female fighters in their prime. Taylor’s speed and Serrano’s powerful determination were a perfect blend in the perfect arena at the perfect time.

    New York once again was the center of the boxing universe and it was two women that combined their talent to make it so.

    Probably the biggest impact of the pandemic was it created an opening in the boxing world for the women to enter and provide entertainment. While men were stymied by the arena restrictions to prevent further spread of the virus, women willingly stepped in to replace them on the cards and blossomed with more visibility.

    Women are now here to stay. Boxing is entertainment and women offer entertainment that men just cannot provide.

    One sticking point is the two-minute round. That has to be eliminated for good. All female fights should be three-minute rounds if women prizefighting is to be fully accepted. Otherwise, female fights will be seen by some as a side show.

    Serrano versus Taylor was not the only female mega fight.

    This past October the world saw Claressa Shields and Savannah Marshall clash for undisputed middleweight status and Alycia Baumgardner and Mikaela Mayer meet in the boxing ring too. We also saw Franchon Crews versus Elin Cederroos, Marlen Esparza and Naoko Fujioka, and the recent Yokasta Valle and Evelin Bermudez battle. All were captivating bouts in different ways.

    This year proved that female prizefighting will get bigger and bigger in the oncoming years. It’s an argument no longer. After 30 years of trying to convince promoters and other journalists that women can draw fans, the proof finally arrived in 2022.

    For more on female prizefighting go to our sister site