Women's Sports: Hardy vs Serrano - a landmark for women's boxing

Hardy vs Serrano Fight Night: a landmark for women's boxing

Heather Hardy will fight Amanda Serrano this evening at Maddison Square Garden in what is being called a landmark moment for women's boxing.

The two women, who both grew up in the Bronx, had previously pledged to never face each other, however alongside promoter Lou DiBella, they're challenging for equal rights as the boxing pay gap stretches. 

Hardy, 37, is defending her WBO featherweight title against Serrano, 30. The two have been described as the best female fighters in New York, and the winner of this fight will go onto face Katie Taylor.

Promoter DiBella made headlines during this week's press conference as he took to the stage in support of female boxing.

"This is as good as it gets, [Hardy and Serrano] have carried the torch and the banner for women's boxing in this city for years," said DiBella. He went onto thank President of Matchroom Boxing, Eddie Hearn.

"It's a career-high payday for them, but we're only beginning to crack the door open. I want to thank Eddie for helping to crack the door open, but it's time to knock the f—ing door down!"

As the reigning HBO featherweight champion, Hardy currently holds a flawless 22-0 record that includes four knockouts. Serrano, on the other hand, is the only ever female seven-division world champion and has a 35-1-1 record that boasts 26 knockouts. 

As DAZN has previously highlighted, male fighters with similar records have earned seven or eight-figures. However, the two women are not even taking home a six-figure paycheck.

Alongside their equally impressive records, the two fighters weighed in the same at just under 126 lbs. The fight could go either way, with pundits struggling to call who will leave the ring victorious.

The promoter explained that "the paydays they're getting are solid paydays for women." Both Hardy and Serrano are known for campaigning against the boxing gender pay gap, and although this fight is a 'career-high payday' for the two, it's nowhere near the amount that male fighters would earn for a fight of this calibre.

They both voiced their frustration during the press conference. "While the rest of America is watching women make a payday of 80 cents to the dollar, women in boxing are making 15 to 20 cents (to the dollar) of a man's salary. It's a blatant discrepancy," explained undefeated champion, Hardy.

She added: "a man selling the show would be making in the millions, we're not even making six figures."

Puerto Rican-born Amanda Serrano said that she thinks she deserves more than what she was paid. "I'm getting the same pay that I did in my last fight against Eva Voraberger [earlier this year], and Eva Voraberger and Heather Hardy are two different fighters."  

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Both women have also fought MMA bouts due to the better pay. Last year, Serrano revealed that she was paid less for her sixth-division boxing world title fight than her first-ever MMA fight. Both fighters have even spent time training clients while competing to earn extra money.

Although not the main event, tonight's fight between Hardy and Serrano has generated substantial excitement and, according to DiBella, is the reason Madison Square Garden will be a sellout. The buzz surrounding tonight's event suggests that it will be a huge turning point for women's boxing, and with tonight's winner going onto face the undisputed lightweight champion Katie Taylor, the enthusiasm can only continue.

The only hope is that fan enthusiasm, in the not so distant future, can be converted into a fairer playing field for female fighters. As promoter DiBella put it, we're "waiting for a day when it's more equal."

Hardy vs Serrano will support the main event, Haney v Zaur Abdullaev, this evening in Madison Square Garden with the main card starting at 2 AM GMT.

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