Katie Taylor Beats Amanda Serrano Via Split Decision to Keep World Boxing TitlesMay 1, 2022
Katie Taylor survived her toughest challenge yet as a professional boxer, retaining her status as the undisputed women's lightweight champion with a split-decision victory over Amanda Serrano on Saturday night at Madison Square Garden in New York.
The judges scored the bout 97-93, 94-96, 96-93 in favor of Taylor, who remains undefeated.
The fight was touted as the biggest in women's boxing history, as Serrano and Taylor were the first women to headline a card at Madison Square Garden. Taylor has dominated at lightweight as both a pro and an amateur, while Serrano has won titles in seven different weight classes, most recently at featherweight.
The battle lived up to the hype. Serrano dominated the middle rounds thanks to her power, coming close to scoring a knockdown in the fifth. Taylor was the better fighter in the early and late goings, using her footwork and feints to make Serrano miss and land punches from difficult angles.
This is Taylor's sixth win as undisputed lightweight champion. She first unified the belts in August 2020. For Serrano, it's the second loss of her career. Her only other defeat came via decision against Frida Wallberg in 2012.
After the fight, Serrano complimented Taylor and talked about how important the bout was for their sport.
Eddie Hearn and Jake Paul, promoters for Taylor and Serrano, respectively, both said they would be interested in a rematch, possibly in Taylor's home country of Ireland.
The intensity of the fight and the skill on display certainly warrants a rematch.
From the start, both fighters were locked in. Taylor's twitchy, in-and-out movement has long confounded her opponents. Serrano did her best to walk her down and cut off the ring. On a few occasions early on, the southpaw Serrano got her front foot inside of Taylor's, but the latter didn't do much to capitalize.
Taylor was the busier puncher to start, throwing the right hand behind her feints. She connected on a couple of stinging blows in the second round that forced her opponent to reset. Her movement was impressive through the first three rounds or so.
The crowd at Madison Square Garden was ready for this historic meeting. They roared after every big punch, with a large Puerto Rican contingent supporting Serrano and a good portion of the crowd backing Taylor.
The big question for Serrano was whether she could line up her shots on Taylor and if her power would carry to the lightweight ranks (she has spent most of her career below 130 pounds). She needed a couple of rounds to really make an impact, but once she did, it was clear she was the same fighter at this weight.
The third and fourth rounds saw Serrano find the range on her counterpunches. One of the shots that snuck through managed to open a cut on Taylor's right eye.
That steady improvement led to a big fifth round for the challenger. Serrano got Taylor trapped on the ropes and the two furiously traded blows. Eventually, Serrano got the upper hand, tagging Taylor with an overhand right that clearly rocked her. Taylor had to smother Serrano's punches for the latter half of the two-minute frame in order to survive.
Serrano remained in control for the sixth round, but she may have emptied the tank going for the knockout in the fifth. Taylor, despite being a bloody mess, was able to steady herself and get back to moving around the ring. She was able to use head movement to get away from Serrano's straightforward attacks, and the eighth saw her dart around the ring and land a couple of good right-handed shots.
After another strong ninth round from Taylor, the 10th saw both combatants go for broke. They used every last bit of energy throwing haymakers at each other, and the noise from the crowd swelled all the way until the final bell.
The judges felt Taylor had done enough in the late rounds to earn a win, but Serrano arguably came within a few punches of winning the bout herself. With both promoters on board for a second meeting between these two, it's possible that the biggest fight in women's boxing could lead to the biggest rematch in the sport's history.