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'Katie feels like she's been disrespected by Serrano' - Taylor finally gets her chance to silence her rival

Katie Taylor versus Amanda Serrano for the undisputed lightweight title: a fight with plenty of needle and a fight to move the needle.

Katie Taylor will face Amanda Serrano on 2 May.
Katie Taylor will face Amanda Serrano on 2 May.
Image: Matchroom Boxing/Ed Mulholland/INPHO

AT THE MANCHESTER Arena in November, the wall of wild acclaim which stopped the victorious Katie Taylor in her tracks during what became a teary post-fight interview laid plain that we were watching her do in England what she has done here for years: transcend.

On 2 May in the same city, a transcendent fighter will get the transcendent fight that she has craved for over three years.

Anyone with even a passing interest in boxing on either side of the pond will have an opinion as to who wins Katie Taylor versus Amanda Serrano and how. Anyone with a latent interest in the sport will want to find out as much. This has never before been the case for a female fight.

Consider the game changed, whether Taylor wins, loses or draws.

katie-taylor-on-stage Taylor poses with all of the lightweight belts following her undisputed title win over Delfine Persoon last June. Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

And her being the catalyst in this culture shift is a key ingredient in what makes this a women’s scrap for the ages. Serrano resents her for it. She has admitted as much in the past.

“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,” she told BoxingScene in January of last year. “It’s not fair.

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. I don’t want all my sacrifices to be defined by a Katie Taylor. 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.

Of course, things change, and money talks. 14 months and a few signatures later, it’s all gravy. “Much respect to Katie Taylor,” Serrano told Sky Sports in a recent interview. “Because of her, a lot of women are getting big paydays, good paydays.”

boxing-2019-amanda-serrano-defeats-eva-voraberger-by-1st-round-ko Serrano lands a right hand on Eva Voraberger. Source: Joel Plummer

But what will always rankle with ‘The Real Deal’ [38-1-1, 28KOs] is that despite her own life’s work and plethora of achievements, few in boxing had even heard of her name until it became inextricably linked to that of her Irish adversary [15-0, 6KOs], a relative newcomer in the pro game.

Consequentially, Serrano seems perpetually caught in two minds as to whether she should play nice or play the antagonist. She’s better at the latter. “I’m not going to talk down to Katie”, said the Puerto Rican Brooklynite in quotes released by Matchroom upon confirmation of the fight on Friday morning.

This seemingly classy decree was made exactly 30 days after Serrano said, “Once I go in there and prove that I am the best, and go in there and beat Katie Taylor, it’s going to be a different story — they’re going to be talking about me as the golden girl”, and, “She’s average — there’s nothing really to her; she’s not no superhero like everyone paints her to be” while speaking about Taylor on American satellite radio station SiriusXM.

boxing-serrano-hardy Serrano lands a left hand on Heather Hardy. Source: Frank Franklin II

“She can be a wildcard,” Taylor’s trainer, Ross Enamait, told The42 of Serrano in a recent feature interview. “When someone talks and shifts directions so often, you can’t really take much of what they’re saying seriously. One day it’s one thing, another day it’s another.

“What does she actually believe? Does she even know herself? From that standpoint, I really could care less what she’s saying. Boxing is one of those great sports where all of the talk is over when you get inside the ring.”

Enamait’s own discord with his equivalent in Serrano’s corner, Jordan Maldonado, is a spicy subplot: the talk between them only began once they each got inside the ring to tend to their fighters following Taylor’s facile victory over Serrano’s sister, Cindy, in Boston in October 2018.

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Maldonado, who is Amanda Serrano’s brother-in-law, manager and coach, shouted at Taylor post-fight: “Don’t worry — Amanda is going to knock you out next time,” to which Enamait understandably took umbrage. It nearly kicked off. The pair of them — two absolute units — will be worth keeping an ear out for, and an eye on, in May.

katie-taylor-in-acton-against-cindy-serrano Taylor battered Serrano's older sister, Cindy, in October 2018. Source: Emily Harney/INPHO

Taylor herself laughed off Maldonado’s bizarre outburst and while her respect for Serrano the fighter has always been transparent, Serrano the person definitely gets her back up. “I think she’s mentally fragile at times — that’s what her biggest problem is, really,” the 2012 Olympic champion told this writer in October 2018 while discussing her pugilistic archnemesis. “I don’t think she wants the big fights. Maybe she’s afraid to lose.” It remains the meanest thing Taylor has ever said.

“Katie Taylor feels like she’s been disrespected by Amanda Serrano”, Eddie Hearn told Sky Sports on Friday, “and I love to see that in Katie Taylor.

“I think you’re going to see some spite in this fight, but you see spite from Serrano in every fight.”

So, let the fun begin.

Katie Taylor versus Amanda Serrano for the undisputed lightweight championship of the world: a fight with plenty of needle and a fight to move the needle.

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