There have been many people to have headlined at Madison Square Gardens, for some the pressure can be too much and the boxing superbout that we hoped for turned into a frustrating, boring, tactical bout.
That was not the case on Saturday night when arguably the two finest women boxers ever to lace up their gloves went head to head at the iconic New York Venue.
Amanda Serrano (42-1-1) was the -104 favorite to win the bout over Irish ace and defending champion Katie Taylor (20-0), but in the end, it was the Gaelic superstar that overcame the odds to win via split decision, but that does not tell you everything about what was, in every way, a superfight.
And also perhaps a landmark night form women’s professional boxing.
Co-Promoters Raise The Stakes
In the lead up to the bout, the two promoters for both fighters, Eddie Hearn for Katie Taylor
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – APRIL 28: Chairman of Matchroom Eddie Hearn (L) talks with Most Valuable Promotions founder Jake Paul (R) during a press conference prior to the World Lightweight Title fight between Katie Taylor of Ireland (not pictured) and Amanda Serrano of Puerto Rico (not pictured) at The Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden on April 28, 2022 in New York, New York. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
and Jake Paul for Amanda Serrano fielded questions in a press conference to build the interest for the fight.
In the end, after the two owners joked about a bet, they agreed to place a bet of a million dollars on the winner. Paul backing his star Serrano to win, while Hearn backed his start Taylor to land the victory.
So, assuming Jake Paul paid up on the bet, Eddie Hearn may be feeling a good deal richer after Saturday night’s drama.
In truth, the hype was not necessary. With Puerto Ricans and Irish fans vocal and numerous in their support of both fighters, the Garden had sold out for the fight long ago.
And as the pressure built in a heady atmosphere at the weight in, both women knew that they had to deliver the fight of their lives on the biggest night in women’s boxing history.
And my word, did they deliver.
The Fight That Had Everything Bar A Knockdown
From the first round to the last, the two women showed just how evenly they were matched.
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – APRIL 30: Katie Taylor of Ireland (black trunks) trades punches with Amanda Serrano of Puerto Rico (white trunks) for the World Lightweight Title fight at Madison Square Garden on April 30, 2022 in New York, New York. This bout marks the first women’s boxing fight to headline Madison Square Garden in the venue’s history. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
Serrano often the aggressor would move Taylor onto the ropes, Taylor would use her skills and elusiveness to evade Serrano’s attacks, while landing telling counter-punches of her own.
At times, the fight was brutal, as savage and skilled as anything you would see from their male counterparts.
But it was also hugely technical and tactical as two fighters so closely matches poked and prodded and moved to work out the deficiencies in their opponent, while trying to protect themselves.
By the final round, the fight was too close to call for many. I had Taylor winning it by a couple at the end of that round, but I could easily see that the decision could have gone Serrano’s way too.
As both women hugged after the bout, their bruised and battered faced told the story of what will be a contender, if not the winner, of the fight of the year.
Then the result came in and Taylor had won by a split decision, two judges agreeing with my view that she’d won by a couple of rounds, the other scoring in favor of Serrano.
In truth, I can’t fault either judge with their view of the fight, it was so, so close.
“Tonight is the moment where we stop talking about women’s and men’s boxing,” stated Taylor’s promoter Eddie Hearn.
“Just boxing. Because that was one of the best fights I’ve ever witnessed live.”
He was right, it was a landmark evening, one that will be remembered throughout the ages as redefining what women’s boxing is about and how it is perceived.
A rematch now seems likely. Both fighters seem amenable to that, with Taylor suggesting a packed Croke Park in Ireland may well be a perfect venue.
If the fighters do lock horns again, wherever it is, they will main event once again and they will fully deserve to.
They turned women’s boxing from a sideshow, to a spectacle through their ability and skill.
Taylor may have won the bout, but women’s boxing was the real winner on a special night.