By Thomas Gerbasi
At just 30 years old and with six world title belts already in her possession, there is nothing left to prove for Amanda Serrano.
That doesn’t mean she’s letting her foot off the gas. In fact, she’s taking things to a new level by attempting to win world title number seven on January 18, this one by dropping from junior welterweight to junior bantamweight to face Eva Voraberger at Madison Square Garden’s Theater.
“I have to thank my trainer for his craziness and his idea to actually make me do this,” said Serrano of longtime coach Jordan Maldonado, who has put no limits on what he believes his fighter can do, whether in boxing or mixed martial arts.
But for now, it’s boxing, and the fun (note sarcasm) process of shedding the pounds.
“We’re a week and a half away and this is the hard time when all the hangriness comes out,” she laughs. “You’re hungry, angry and you just want to get it over with.”
For a drop from the 138 ¾ pounds she weighed when beating Yamila Esther Reynoso in September for the WBO junior welterweight belt to 115 pounds, Serrano is in surprisingly good spirits, and when asked if it would have been easier to just go chase a belt at 147 pounds, she admits it wouldn’t be.
“Making 140 was a little hard for me, so I would rather go down,” she said. “It’s easier for me to lose the weight than to gain the weight.”
“Easy” is a relative term, as none of this is easy. So why do it?
“A big reason is because Oscar De La Hoya is Mexican and there’s always that Mexican and Puerto Rican rivalry, so I have to go one step above him,” said Serrano, who tied De La Hoya as a world titlist in six weight classes with the Reynoso win. “And it’s just good to leave a legacy for my name, for my family, for my team. It’s a great accomplishment. I’m hoping my trainer doesn’t want me to do another division, but if it comes to that, then I’ll do it.”
“If I’m under 115 (next week), I can guarantee that we’ll go for 112, but that’s in the future,” she laughs. “One fight at a time.”
One fight at a time. It’s why Serrano bristles when the topic of a late-2019 SuperFight with IBF / WBA lightweight champion Katie Taylor is brought up.
“I don’t dictate my life and career around Katie Taylor,” she said. “I’ve been around the pro game a long time and I’m just going to continue to live my life, do my career and leave my legacy and continue to break records and do what I need to do. I’ve been fighting for 12 years and I’ve been a pro for 10 years and now that Katie Taylor’s in the sport, now people want to open their minds and their pockets for female fighters. It’s not fair. And now I’m doing MMA and I fell in love with that sport and I want to continue to do MMA as well. The sport of female boxing isn’t Katie Taylor. We’ve been around here for so long and now that’s all they want to talk about.”
It is the fight to see, though, perhaps the biggest fight to be made right now in the ladies’ ranks, and when Serrano signed a three-fight deal with DAZN in October, it was with the end goal of Ireland’s finest taking on the Boricua from Brooklyn. And given Serrano’s competitive nature, that’s likely what we’re going to see later this year. But with a weight cut underway and Austria’s Voraberger looking to throw a wrench in the works a week from Friday, Serrano has other things on her mind.
“I don’t want all my sacrifices to be defined by a Katie Taylor,” she said. “I sacrificed my body and I put my life on hold for my career and for myself. Everybody’s talking about Katie Taylor, and she’s just another girl. The sacrifices are hard, but when you want to become someone and leave a legacy in the sport, they’re good, and it keeps me pushing on.”
So what is the end game for Serrano, 35-1-1 with 26 knockouts? Is it another title or two, a SuperFight that will bring her to the masses, or something completely different?
“My end game is to be an MMA champion as well,” said Serrano, who is 1-0-1 for the Combate Americas promotion since making her MMA debut in April of last year. “I give myself four years, tops. I’ve been doing this since I was 18 years old. I’m not that old in the game, but I want to be able to live my life after all the hard work I’ve done over the years and enjoy it.”
Four years. Plenty of time to chase that MMA belt and also give herself and the fans the boxing fights that could help her make a case as the best ever. Katie Taylor or not.
“I’m not gonna be sitting around waiting for Katie Taylor,” said Serrano. “I’m going to continue to break records and leave my own legacy and do my own career.”