By Jake Donovan
Her career having spanned seven weight divisions, Amanda Serrano can’t help but laugh at claims that she fears any opponent.
Nearly eight months into the calendar year, a promised superfight with World lightweight champion Katie Taylor is no closer than when she finished off Eva Voraberger in just 35 seconds to capture a title in a seventh weight division this past January in New York City.
Serrano—a Brooklyn-bred southpaw who still proudly represents her Puerto Rican roots—signed a three-fight contract with DAZN with the intention of facing Taylor (14-0, 6KOs) at the end of the pact, but it’s been a struggle just to get to the second fight of that deal.
“I’ve been ready all year to fight Katie,” Serrano (36-1-1, 27KOs) revealed to BoxingScene.com. “There were internal issues we had with the deal that was signed but I can't let that hold up my career. I don’t want anything else holding up that fight. It’s why we signed with DAZN, for big fights like that to define my legacy.”
Fjght number two will finally arrive on Sept. 13, when she challenges fellow Broolynite and reigning unbeaten featherweight titlist Heather Hardy (22-0, 4KOs). The bout will take place at Madison Square Garden’s Hulu Theatre in New York City, the same site where Serrano annihilated Voraberger and also where Hardy won her title in a 10-round nod over Shelly Vincent in their HBO-televised rematch last October.
The fight is part of a DAZN card topped by a lightweight title eliminator between unbeaten contenders Devin Haney of Las Vegas and Russia’s Zaur Abdullaev. The main event is one of three more fights on the card featuring fighters without any ties to the New York area. As is the case anytime they fight, it will be Hardy and Serrano forced to bring the crowd.
Both are already hard on the campaign trail, putting in as much work to sell tickets as they are in training for the biggest fight of their respective careers.
So much more is at stake for Serrano, generally regarded as one of the best pound-for-pound female boxers in the world today. A win not only gives her a second featherweight title reign, but also keeps alive the fight many have wrongly accused her of trying to avoid.
"Amanda is—and yes I'm biased but I also believe to be true—but she is the best fighter in the world, hands down," insists Jordan Maldonado, Serrano's trainer, manager and brother-in-law. "Look, my wife (Cindy, Amanda's older sister) took a fight with Katie after a five-second conversation (Taylor won by 10-round decision last October). You really think the best fighter in the world and her own sister is going to be scared of that same fighter?"
It was at that fight when the younger Serrano vowed to avenge her sister's defeat, which coincided with her signing with DAZN. The plan all along was to add to her own history and then work her way up to a superfight.
“After fighting at 115, we wanted to gradually work our way back to 135 knowing that the last fight would be with Katie Taylor,” explains Serrano. “We wanted this fight with Heather, she’s an awesome fighter, undefeated, Irish(-American) and she’s a world champion.
“We beat one Irish girl, then go after the queen of Ireland—and I really want to fight Katie Taylor in Ireland. She’s never fought in her home country, she’s a superstar and deserves a fight there. You want your career defined by fighting the best, so let’s fight the best in her home. We can even do best two out of three, wherever she wants. The outcome is always going to be the same no matter where we fight.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox