July 7, 2022

The idea that boxing’s best rarely fight each other carries far less weight in recent years than in the decade prior. Boxing’s run of frequent clashes between top fighters continues this Saturday when undisputed lightweight champion Kate Taylor defends her titles against unified featherweight champion Amanda Serrano in the biggest women’s boxing clash in history.

Adding an extra layer of prestige to the fight, it is the first time women have ever headlined a boxing card inside New York’s legendary Madison Square Garden (7:30 p.m. ET, DAZN — subscribe now).

Taylor has rattled off 20 straight wins to start her career, first becoming a world champion in October 2017 when she defeated Anahi Ester Sanchez to win the WBA lightweight belt. The fight with Sanchez was just the seventh in Taylor’s professional career. In her ninth fight, Taylor added the IBF title to her collection. By June 2019, Taylor had unified all four world titles at lightweight, last collecting the WBC title by winning a dramatic thriller against Delfine Persoon.

Persoon had pushed Taylor nearly to her limits, counteracting Taylor’s slick boxing by dirtying up the fight and baiting Taylor into a war. Taylor would establish her superiority over Persoon in another war two fights later, returning to lightweight to defend her undisputed status one fight after winning the WBO title at junior welterweight. In the rematch, Taylor took a narrow unanimous decision.

Taylor has now successfully defended her undisputed championship five times, setting up the massive fight with Serrano.

Serrano is one of the best punchers in women’s boxing, having piled up 30 stoppage wins in 44 professional bouts. Her power and aggressive style have guided her to world championships across seven weight classes.

Championship success didn’t come as fast for Serrano as it has for Taylor, with Serrano’s first world title coming in her 14th fight. Nor has Serrano had the same dramatic attention-grabbing fights as Taylor vs. Persoon.

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What has been a boost to Serrano, who has long been one of the top fighters in the sport, has been her association with Jake Paul. Paul, the controversial social media personality turned boxer, signed Serrano to his promotional company and threw serious muscle and financial backing behind pushing her as a star deserving of a major stage.

Serrano made good on that faith throughout 2021, twice defending her unified WBC and WBO featherweight titles before returning to lightweight in December to take a dominant win over Miriam Gutierrez to set up the bout with Taylor.

Taylor vs. Serrano card, odds

Odds via Caesars Sportsbook

Amanda Serrano -150

Katie Taylor (c) +125

Undisputed lightweight title

Franchon Crews-Dezurn (c) -150

Elin Cederroos (c) +125

Undisputed super middleweight title

Liam Smith -270

Jessie Vargas +220

Super welterweight

Austin Williams -490

Chordale Booker +370

Middleweight

Galal Yafai -2200 Miguel Cartagena +1100 Flyweight

Prediction

The fight largely comes down to whether or not Serrano can force Taylor into an ugly fight, similar to Persoon. Taylor struggles at times against fighters who are able to work to the body. She will need to use her slickness and speed to try to hold Serrano back from getting inside and going to work on her ribcage. That may be easier said than done, but Taylor is the naturally bigger fighter and there’s some evidence that Serrano’s best work is done at lower weight classes where she can be the complete bully.

What may ultimately decide the fight is the antiquated ruleset under which it will be contested. The women will not only be limited to 10 rounds rather than the 12 men fight in a championship contest, but also will only fight two-minute rounds. That limits the amount of time available for Serrano to battle her way inside. If Taylor can maximize the amount of time the fight is spent at distance, she’ll be in good shape. On the other hand, if Serrano is able to quickly bull her way inside, she may be able to outwork Taylor.

It’s a difficult fight to call but the two-minute rounds may shade things a bit in the direction of the underdog and defending undisputed champion. Pick: Katie Taylor via SD

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