NEW YORK – Jordan Maldonado didn’t downplay the obvious.
Amanda Serrano’s trainer and manager admitted early Sunday morning that “there’s concern” about how Serrano’s rematch with Ireland’s Katie Taylor will be judged May 20 in Dublin. The crowd for their second lightweight championship unification fight will be overwhelmingly pro-Taylor, which could influence even the most competent judges.
Serrano has already lost a debatable split decision to Taylor in Serrano’s hometown, which makes the stakes even higher in their highly anticipated rematch.
Taylor, 36, and Serrano, 34, are expected to fight at 3Arena, a 12,000-seat venue in Ireland’s capital city. Taylor and her promoter, Eddie Hearn, had hoped to stage their rematch at Croke Park, a legendary outdoor stadium in Dublin that can hold more than 80,000 for boxing, but Hearn has told BoxingScene.com and other outlets that it’ll be too expensive to hold the event there.
Boxing before a much smaller crowd won’t make it any easier for Serrano to beat Taylor on points in her home country, where the 2012 Olympic gold medalist will fight for the first time as a professional. Maldonado discussed that challenge during Serrano’s post-fight press conference following her 10-round, unanimous-decision victory over Mexico’s Erika Cruz in their featherweight title unification fight Saturday night at Madison Square Garden’s Hulu Theater.
“As a manager, trainer and, you know, I’m family to her – she’s my sister-in-law – you know, there’s concern with that,” Maldonado said. “But like I said, at the end of the day, you know, you have to take risks. You know what I’m saying? You know, there’s no way in the world you are gonna make it to the top and be great, you know, being comfortable and playing it safe. You know what I’m saying? Like it’s not Katie Taylor’s fault. You know what I’m saying? I mean, they’re fighters, they’re performing. If the judges decide they wanna reward her, it is what it is.
“But we’re not gonna shy away from a good fight worried about the outcome. You know what I’m saying? We been stopped fighting for outcomes. You know what I’m saying? We fight for pride. We fight to give our island [Puerto Rico], you know, something to talk about and boast. And right now, like I said, from right now, after this fight, the relief is that we don’t have to fight for anything else we want other than to satisfy the fans.”
Taylor (22-0, 6 KOs) overcame serious trouble in the fifth round of their first fight to beat Brooklyn’s Serrano (44-2-1, 30 KOs) on two scorecards last April 30 at sold-out Madison Square Garden. Judges Guido Cavalleri (96-93) and Glenn Feldman (97-93) scored that fight for Taylor, who lost 96-94 according to judge Benoit Roussel.
Serrano will move up two weight classes again to challenge Taylor for her IBF, WBA, WBC and WBO 135-pound championships. The left-handed Serrano became the undisputed 126-pound champion by beating Cruz (15-2, 3 KOs), who fought through a grotesque gash on her forehead for six-plus rounds to test the heavily favored Serrano.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.
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