Katie Taylor turned away a determined Amanda Serrano to earn a split decision victory in a pound-for-pound showdown that lived up to exceedingly high expectations.
Judge Benoit Russell (96-94) had Serrano ahead, overruled by judges Glenn Feldman (97-93) and Guido Cavalleri (96-93), who saw Taylor doing enough to retain her crown in the first female fight to headline at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
Taylor utilized lateral movement to stay just outside of Serrano’s right hook and sweeping left hand in the opening round. The defending champ drew a rise out of the sellout crowd of 19,187 anytime she threw a punch, even though most fell short of the target for both fighters. Taylor connected with a right hand that Serrano shook off, missing with a straight left but having the awareness to slip a counter right.
Serrano played the role of stalker in round two, not always finding the mark but slowly making the ring a smaller place for the more mobile Taylor. The action made its way to the ropes, but Serrano was unable to make her pay after missing with a left to the body.
WHAT A FINISH. WHAT A FIGHT. 🔥🔥🔥
We're going to the scorecards 🔢#TaylorSerrano pic.twitter.com/imn871S77g
— DAZN Boxing (@DAZNBoxing) May 1, 2022
The Brooklyn-bred Puerto Rican southpaw landed the more telling blows in round three, with Taylor relying on her granite chin on the occasions her stellar defense couldn’t avoid the incoming. Taylor was able to return to boxing in round four, relying on infighting skills to avoid Serrano’s superior workrate.
A massive shift in momentum came in round five, with Serrano in her truest form. The 13-year-pro unloaded for 44-of-114 total punches in just two minutes, repeatedly snapping back the head of Taylor while also drawing blood from the champion’s nose. Serrano remained on the hunt in search of her first knockout in more than a year, though Taylor managed to survive her worst round of the fight to that point.
Serrano continued to apply relentless pressure in round six, targeting the body before back upstairs with her rapid-fire jab and straight left hand. Taylor punched her way back into the fight after connecting with a right hand, drawing the Irish faithful out of their seats and creating a deafening atmosphere to where referee Michael Griffin couldn’t even hear the bell to end the round.
“Katie Taylor is a tough fighter, she’s a natural 135-pounder,” acknowledged Serrano, the WBC/WBO featherweight champ who fought for the second at lightweight which is essentially her walk-around weight. “I went up two divisions to fight Katie Tylor. She’s a strong champion, a warrior. She’s Irish and she was able to withstand the power and come back.”