Sports

Taylor vs Serrano at MSG is a fundamental occasion for ladies’s boxing


NEW YORK — Again when Katie Taylor needed to faux she was a boy so she may field, and even not way back when Amanda Serrano was preventing for hundreds of {dollars} with a resume that in males’s boxing would earn her many tens of millions, it was laborious to think about the place they’re now.

They meet Saturday night time in what has been referred to as probably the most vital ladies’s boxing match ever, the primary to headline Madison Sq. Backyard. At stake are the unbeaten Taylor’s 4 light-weight titles, however this bout goes past simply the belts.

It’s grown even larger than what organizers hoped, with a sold-out crowd potential, the Empire State Constructing lighting up within the colours of the fighters’ international locations and unprecedented media consideration for ladies’s boxing. These concerned say it proves that if the very best struggle the very best, with the correct promotional push, it doesn’t matter what gender they’re.

“Women’s boxing wasn’t even a sanctioned sport in Ireland,” Taylor mentioned. “Now here we are many years later headlining Madison Square Garden, the most iconic venue in boxing, and making history as the biggest fight in female boxing history. This is just incredible.”

Taylor (20-0, 6 KOs) grew to become the undisputed champion with a victory on the Backyard in 2019, whereas Serrano (42-1-1 30 KOs), a champion in seven weight lessons who strikes up two divisions for this struggle, has fought within the smaller Hulu Theater at MSG, however by no means in the primary area.

Organizers at first thought-about the Hulu Theater for this struggle, however after deciding it was sufficiently big for the large room, deliberate on configuring the venue for round 10,000 seats. They needed to make extra obtainable when these have been all bought. About 15,000 have already got been bought, with a big variety of Irish followers coming to help the 2012 Olympic gold medalist.

There might be a lot extra for Serrano, a Puerto Rican who lives in Brooklyn and is a slight favourite, in line with Fanduel Sportsbook.

“I can’t wait until Saturday night to prove that we’re deserving of this opportunity, of this spotlight, just everything all together,” Serrano mentioned.

Promoter Eddie Hearn sees it as a end result of Taylor’s quest to by no means cease attempting to do greater than what appeared potential for her. She would put on headgear into and out of the fitness center to hide her look and never use her first title when she started preventing, as a result of women weren’t allowed to in Eire. He credit her with pushing the Worldwide Olympic Committee to make ladies’s boxing a medal sport and for at all times looking for the largest occasions as soon as she turned professional.

“When Katie came into my office six years ago, we had a dream and we always said, ‘One day you’ll headline at Madison Square Garden and make a million dollars,’ and I’m thinking probably not, but we’ll just keep saying it,” Hearn mentioned. “And here we are.”

Serrano, regardless of her embellished profession, was incomes $5,000 or $10,000 purses not way back, in line with promoter Jake Paul. However as soon as she attached with Paul, the YouTube star-turned boxer and promoter, and preventing on his playing cards, she went to a different tax bracket as simply as she bounces between weight lessons.

“To think that we are here a year later is massive,” Paul mentioned, including that the occasion’s hype “feels like a unification of the heavyweight division.”

Talks fell by way of for a match a few years in the past, once they would have fought with no followers due to the coronavirus pandemic. Serrano — whose sister, Cindy, was beat by Taylor in 2018 — figured there was an excessive amount of demand for the matchup to not be put again collectively.

“I was pretty confident the fight was going to happen, but not at this magnitude,” she mentioned.

Taylor and Serrano are featured on a billboard in Instances Sq. and atop taxis in New York. They appeared collectively earlier this week on NBC’s “Today” present and on the commentary deck of the Empire State Constructing, which on Saturday might be lit in a combination of Eire’s inexperienced and orange, and the pink, white and blue of Puerto Rico. Some 200 members of the media are anticipated a few blocks away that night time inside MSG.

“This is reflective of a broader trend in sport,” mentioned Joseph Markowski, the chief vp of DAZN, which is able to stream the cardboard. “People are starting to realize that women, when they’re given the platform, the marketing, the PR polish that their male counterparts get, the eyeballs come. When the eyeballs come, people are entertained and amazed by what these athletes do. This is long overdue.”

Trailblazing ladies’s athletes equivalent to tennis Corridor of Famer Billie Jean King and boxers Laila Ali and Christy Martin have gotten in on the promotion. Ali’s father fought probably the most well-known boxing match at Madison Sq. Backyard, with Joe Frazier beating Muhammad Ali of their first struggle in 1971.

Now it’s Taylor and Serrano who will write boxing historical past within the area.

“No matter what happens Saturday night, I think the real winners are the fans and women in general and the sport of women’s boxing, because it’s only going to grow from now on,” Serrano mentioned.

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Extra AP boxing: https://apnews.com/hub/boxing and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports



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