Amanda Serrano expected an extended ovation in victory Saturday night, not the chorus of boos among 18,000 fans that rained upon her at the stunning last-minute announcement that her main-event, three-belt featherweight title defense was being canceled.

“I wanted to fight. I wanted to fight in front of my people,” Serrano said while fighting tears behind sunglasses.

The spectacles shielded a wounded eye that was damaged a day earlier for reasons not thoroughly explained to the crowd or those watching the card live on DAZN.

And while it was nice – or maybe just life-sparing – for Jake Paul and promoter Nakisa Bidarian’s Most Valuable Promotions to announce to the crowd that they would each receive a full refund for the scrapped headline bout, it seems the announcement waited far too long.

Bidarian didn’t immediately respond to a text message from Boxing Scene regarding his handling of the timing of the formal cancellation.

Serrano (46-2-1), who was scheduled to defend her belts against Germany’s Nina Meinke (18-3) in the DAZN main event, mentioned while explaining her heartbreak over the cancellation that “a couple days ago, I had my hair done …” But she didn’t elaborate further.

One individual close to the situation said residue from Serrano’s chemical hair treatment dripped into an eye during a warm-up run that followed, and it damaged the eye.

Paul tried to clarify the matter in the ring right after posting a first-round knockout of Ryan Bourland in his co-main event Saturday night.

“Listen, I know there’s people booing, but Amanda came to fight,” Paul said. “She put in a hard camp and the doctors wouldn’t let her move forward because of her eye. Her cornea was exposed, and she was failing eye tests, and she did everything she could to make it happen. We’re standing by Amanda’s side, and she’s been emotional and she wanted more than anything to represent her island, and this night meant the world to her.”

Of course it did, but as soon as the promoters knew the eye was damaged, shouldn’t they have announced the bout was postponed?

Paul himself told the Puerto Rican crowd, “This [damage] happened 36 hours ago,” and added, “You can’t risk being blinded for one fight.”

Exactly. So when it was known from a commission doctor that Serrano’s cornea was exposed and required significant healing time, why hesitate?

“I was willing to go out there” Serrano said. "They wouldn’t let me."

Cooler heads – not a proud fighter’s – are supposed to prevail in these kinds of moments.

They didn’t. They let the fiercely driven champion plead for medical clearance that was not going to arrive in time for the scheduled first bell.

“We did everything we could,” Paul told the crowd.

Yet it didn’t need to spiral into this emotional scene, with Serrano breaking down.

“I will fight again. I will come back and retire here,” said Serrano, 35. “I put everything on the line for you guys. I’m so sorry! From the bottom of my heart. I need to take [eye] tests [to fight again] and we’ll see … my heart hurts, [but] I can barely see. I was willing to go out there.”

Puerto Rican boxing legend Felix Trinidad comforted Serrano in the ring and hailed her bravery and fighting spirit.

On the air, following an extended delay during which DAZN broadcasters did not address social-media reports that Serrano was ailing with the eye injury, DAZN’s Claudia Trejos told viewers, “They waited until the last [eye] exam” before the bout was canceled.

Most Valuable Promotions announced it will also pay Meinke’s purse in full.

“I’m absolutely gutted,” Meinke told the crowd. “I hope for a quick recovery [for Serrano]. We still want this fight to happen.”

Next time, given the rigors of the sport and the sad history of vision-damaging punches absorbed in the squared circle, let’s wait first for the medical experts to give Serrano the green light.