For Serrano, second shot at undisputed, then maybe at Taylor

Feb 2, 2023, 6:20 PM | Updated: Feb 3, 2023, 8:52 am
FILE - Amanda Serrano punches Ireland's Katie Taylor during the fourth round of a lightweight champ...

FILE - Amanda Serrano punches Ireland's Katie Taylor during the fourth round of a lightweight championship boxing match on April 30, 2022, in New York. Serrano's next fight comes Saturday, Feb. 4, 2023, where she can become undisputed featherweight champion with a victory over Erika Cruz, the main event on a female-filled card at Madison Square Garden. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II, File)

(AP Photo/Frank Franklin II, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — Amanda Serrano narrowly missed becoming an undisputed champion last year when Katie Taylor edged her at Madison Square Garden.

She has another chance at undisputed on Saturday. Win that and she might get a second shot at Taylor, too.

Serrano (43-2-1, 30 KOs) returns to Madison Square Garden, this time back in her own weight class, to face Erika Cruz (15-1, 3 KOs) with all four belts in the featherweight division on the line. A champion in seven weight classes, she can become the first Puerto Rican to hold all four in one division simultaneously if she adds Cruz’s to the three she currently owns.

“So to me, that was definitely a goal I wanted to accomplish,” Serrano said. “Honestly, once I accomplish this goal, I think I’ve pursued everything in my career, I can retire and be happy. But I won’t.”

Not with a rematch with Taylor possibly up next.

They fought for Taylor’s four lightweight titles in April in the first women’s boxing match to headline at the Garden in front of a sold-out crowd of 19,187 that was divided between Puerto Rican and Irish fans. Taylor won by split decision in what organizers called the most significant bout in women’s boxing history.

Eddie Hearn, who promotes Taylor, was back at MSG on Tuesday to watch LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Knicks in overtime. As he walked around the arena, he found himself thinking back to the moments before that fight.

“And I thought to myself, this is one of the biggest basketball games that can take place here. The atmosphere for Taylor-Serrano was a thousand times better,” he said. “I know it’s a different sport, but what I’m trying to say is like, that was such a special sporting occasion that doing it back in Ireland, like, we have to see it again.”

If Serrano wins, the goal is to get them back in the ring in May at a venue in Taylor’s home country, where she has never fought as a pro. If she loses, perhaps the opportunity would go to Alycia Baumgardner, who could become the undisputed champion at 130 pounds with a victory Saturday over Elhem Mekhaled earlier in the event that will stream on DAZN.

Baumgardner (13-1, 7 KOs) has owned three belts in the division since edging Mikaela Mayer in October in London, and the vacant WBA belt will become hers with a victory over Mekhaled (15-1, 3 KOs).

“As I walked in the gym as an 8-year-old girl, I had a vision, I had a plan to become the best and that’s what I’m doing,” Baumgardner said. “Now, here just seeing it come alive, I’m just, I’m hungry and I love to fight.”

This card is in the smaller Hulu Theater, not the main room where Serrano fought last time, but she said it’s no less meaningful. She began this current run atop the featherweight division in the Hulu Theater when she beat Heather Hardy in September 2019.

Eight months earlier, she had claimed a title at 115 pounds to become a champion in a seventh weight class, then told her team it was time to stick at 126, where she feels most comfortable. She added the third piece by rebounding from the loss to Taylor with a victory over Sarah Mahfoud in September.

The 34-year-old Serrano has fought anywhere from 115 to 140 pounds and would like to stay at 126. But she doesn’t have many matches left before planning to retire at 36 — she pushed the original intention of 35 back a year due to the pandemic — and probably none would be bigger than Taylor-Serrano II.

That would require going back up to 135 pounds again.

“I say featherweight is where I want to be at, but the only way I’m going to go up is to fight Katie Taylor for the rematch,” Serrano said. “But right now I’m focused on Erika Cruz. I’m focused on becoming undisputed and then after that, it’s game time. So we’ll see, we’ll see.”


More AP boxing: and

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Associated Press

Ex-Packer Guion gets 1 year for domestic violence assault

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Former Green Bay Packers defensive tackle Letroy Guion was sentenced to one year in jail after pleading no contest in a domestic violence assault at his home last fall. Brown County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Walsh also ordered Guion on Tuesday to serve three years’ probation and complete a domestic […]
22 days ago
Joe Jarzynka...
Associated Press

Durant eager for Suns debut vs. Hornets after knee injury

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Kevin Durant has been through quite a bit during his 15-year NBA career — but joining a new team midway through the season is a new one for the 13-time All-Star. The 34-year-old Durant doesn’t seem all that worried. Durant makes his highly anticipated Phoenix Suns debut on Wednesday night against […]
22 days ago
FILE - Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores stands on the sideline during the second half of an N...
Associated Press

Judge: NFL coach can press discrimination claims in court

NEW YORK (AP) — NFL Coach Brian Flores can pursue some of his discrimination claims against the league and its teams in court rather than through arbitration, a judge ruled Wednesday. The written decision by Judge Valerie Caproni in Manhattan was issued months after lawyers for the league tried to get the lawsuit moved to […]
22 days ago
Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Alex Stalock cools off in the first period during an NHL hockey game ...
Associated Press

Kane trade reinforces hard reality of Blackhawks rebuild

CHICAGO (AP) — After days of speculation, the harsh reality of the Chicago Blackhawks’ situation was reinforced by one move in a flurry of transactions ahead of the NHL trade deadline. Showtime is over, at least in Chicago, and a seemingly bright future is, well, way off in the distance. The reverberations of Chicago’s decision […]
22 days ago
FILE -  Yves Jean-Bart, president of the Haitian Football Federation, wearing a protective face mas...
Associated Press

Disgraced ex-Haitian soccer president announces he’s back

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Haiti’s former soccer federation president whose lifetime ban from sport over sexual abuse allegations was overturned last month announced Wednesday that he is reclaiming his position. Yves Jean-Bart’s defiant announcement could lead to a standoff with FIFA, which already has appointed an emergency management committee to lead the Haitian Football Association […]
22 days ago
FILE - Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers walks off the field after an NFL football game against the ...
Associated Press

Rodgers says decision on future will come ‘soon enough’

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Aaron Rodgers says he will make a decision on his future “soon enough” as the four-time MVP quarterback ponders whether to play next season and if his future remains with the Green Bay Packers. Rodgers, 39, discussed his future while speaking on an episode of the “Aubrey Marcus Podcast” that […]
22 days ago
For Serrano, second shot at undisputed, then maybe at Taylor