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'She fled the whole division... Katie Taylor needs me - I don't need Katie Taylor' - Serrano

The Puerto Rican is frustrated that Taylor has temporarily moved up in weight as the wait goes on for their women’s superfight.

Amanda Serrano speaking on Matchroom Boxing's 'Born Fighter'.
Amanda Serrano speaking on Matchroom Boxing's 'Born Fighter'.

SEVEN-WEIGHT WORLD CHAMPION Amanda Serrano claims rival Katie Taylor “fled” the 135-pound division over which the Irishwoman rules as the undisputed champion, and says Taylor needs her more than is true of the reverse ahead of a prospective, long-awaited women’s superfight next spring.

Taylor and Puerto Rican-Brooklynite Serrano have been on a collision course ever since the 2012 Olympic champion turned professional three years ago, but despite regularly exchanging verbal barbs, they are yet to trade leather in the squared circle.

What would be the biggest fight in the short history of women’s prizefighting appeared to take a step closer when Serrano signed a three-fight co-promotional deal with Taylor’s promoter, Eddie Hearn, back in January. The third of those fights was mandatorily pencilled in as a date with Taylor, but following several contractual disputes behind the scenes, Serrano completed her second Matchroom bout only as recently as last month when she dominated fellow Brooklyn fight queen Heather Hardy at Madison Square Garden’s Hulu Theater.

boxing-2019-amanda-serrano-defeats-heather-hardy-by-unanimous-decision Amanda Serrano lands a straight left on Heather Hardy. Source: Joel Plummer

Taylor hasn’t fought since June when she controversially won the undisputed lightweight championship with a razor-tight majority-decision victory over Delfine Persoon in the main arena at MSG. The Bray woman challenges WBO champion Christina Linardatou up at light-welterweight in a Manchester headliner on 2 November, when she’ll bid to become a two-weight world champion.

While she is on record as stating a fight with Serrano is the one she truly wants, Taylor and her team ultimately felt it best to divert their course temporarily rather than wait for Serrano to take care of business on either side of the ropes.

Speaking on a just-released episode of Matchroom Boxing’s Born Fighter series, however, Serrano claimed she would have been ready to challenge Taylor in November and voiced her frustration that the lightweight champion had cast her eyes toward world titles five points north.

She also said Taylor has unfinished business at lightweight in the shape of Persoon, something which Taylor herself has readily admitted on countless occasions since their memorable first encounter.

“I mean, of course it would be awesome, like me versus Katie Taylor — that’s the fight everybody wants,” Serrano said.

“I had presented to me in the beginning of 2019 a three-fight deal, the last one being against Katie Taylor [at] year end. But we’re here, almost year end. I fought [in] September. She’s fighting [in] November but [against] a whole different person, and in a whole other weight class. So I’m like, ‘Okay’. I mean, nothing really big happened to me in my fight with Heather Hardy, and I was willing and able to come and fight her (Taylor) in November, but I mean… I don’t know.

“Another great fight — we want to see the rematch: Katie Taylor versus [Delfine] Persoon. I mean, I think Persoon deserves [the rematch] — she was the [WBC] champion. She deserves that rematch. But like I said, Katie Taylor fled to a whole other weight division, and she wants to accomplish her own goal of becoming a two-division undisputed champion; she wants to go and be the undisputed champion at 140, which means she has to fight three girls to become the undisputed champion.

“So, I mean, that would have been a great fight — me against Katie Taylor — but she’s going a whole other way and so am I.

“But there’s definitely great fights. Katie Taylor and Cecilia [Braekhus] — that’d be a great fight. Me against anybody would be a great fight. I always bring a great fight.”

boxing-madison-square-garden Taylor lands a right hand on Delfine Persoon. Source: Nick Potts

There is, of course, no love lost between Serrano and Taylor: the latter once uncharacteristically told The42 of the former that she believed Serrano is “mentally fragile” and “afraid to lose”.

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Serrano, meanwhile, has scarcely needed a tee-up to have a go at her rival over the last couple of years, and she stuck the boot in once more when asked if she felt Taylor had lost to Persoon four months ago.

“Honestly, my opinion, I believe that Katie Taylor, she’s fighting this fight [v Linardatou], she left the division — 135 — because there was two good fights there,” she said.

There was the rematch [with Persoon] and there was a fight with Amanda Serrano. She fled the whole division completely! And I’m like, ‘Wait, where is she going?’

“She felt she didn’t perform the way she was supposed to perform [v Persoon].

And honestly, that would have been a great fight between me and Katie Taylor, but I’m definitely on my own path — I’m not going to sit around and wait for Katie Taylor. Katie Taylor needs me — I don’t need Katie Taylor.

“I’ve left my legacy in the sport of boxing, and I’m not just going to continue to be put on the shelf or be sitting waiting for just one fighter. There’s hundreds of girls, thousands of girls. She’s not the only champion. There’s tons of other champions in the sport. So I have so many options.”

If it does come to fruition — and Taylor will first have to see off Linardatou in a fortnight’s time — an Ireland-Puerto Rico superfight is likely to headline at MSG’s Hulu Theater, and will see both women pocket career-highest purses.

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