The biggest women’s fight in boxing history is just hours away — Katie Taylor and Amanda Serrano are ready to light up Madison Square Garden.
Tonight’s title bout will mark the first time two women have ever headlined a main card at the famous New York arena.
As the milestone moment edges nearer, the boxing world has been discussing who will emerge victorious from this much-anticipated occasion.
Jake Paul and Eddie Hearn
The promoters who helped make this fight happen, Jake Paul and Eddie Hearn, have worked alongside each other to push women’s boxing into the spotlight and secure a monumental title fight for their clients.
But the two raised the stakes when they shook on a $1 million bet during a recent press conference.
Paul initially offered up “all the jewellery” he was wearing at the time, which he claimed was worth $500,000. The Problem Child backed his client Serrano as the winner of the fight, before Hearn upped the bet to seven figures.
“One million dollar bet, let’s go,” an excited Paul said.
Hearn had of course backed his client Taylor prior to his bet with Paul.
“I’m actually going for a Katie Taylor late stoppage in this fight and I don’t think that’s going to be a common pick from people but I just feel like she’s got that eye of the tiger,” the Matchroom Chairman said.
“People look at Katie sometimes and think, ‘softly spoken, oh she’s such a nice girl,’ and she is, but she’s a fierce competitor and she really wants to do a job on Amanda Serrano.”
Jake Paul prediction: Serrano
Eddie Hearn prediction: Taylor
Self-proclaimed GWOAT Claressa Shields recently ranked both Taylor and Serrano in her top tier of the world’s best fighters. However, when predicting the outcome of tonight’s match, she backed the Puerto Rican to cause an upset.
“I have Amanda Serrano by split decision to win this fight,” Shields said. “Even though Katie to me is a dog, she’s skilled. She’s been around the block in the amateurs and the pros.
“I think that Amanda Serrano, I’ve seen her improve, you know, and just her strength to be that small to be able to fight.”
Former cruiserweight champion Tony Bellew is another high profile name backing this fight. He described the MSG bout as “everything boxing should be” before making his prediction for the winner.
“My head does say that Serrano gets the job done despite my heart saying, Katie,” he wrote in his column for DAZN.
“Two fantastic champions at the peak of their powers coming together to deliver what will be a huge event to determine who’s the best. Plenty in the sport can learn a lot from Taylor and Serrano.”
In a column for the Belfast Telegraph, former two-time world champion Carl Frampton stated he hopes Taylor has enough left in the tank to take the win over Serrano, but he has some doubts.
“Katie has not been performing to the same level over the past year or so and it just shows that age catches up on us all,” the Northern Irish ex-fighter wrote.
“Katie has had a long career and trains religiously hard in long training camps, and had a tough amateur career, so it doesn’t surprise me she has slowed down a little.
“Still, she’s a quality fighter but whether there’s enough left to beat Serrano, I just don’t know — but I hope there is.”
Prediction: On the fence
Natasha Jonas is well aware of Taylor’s ability inside the ring, having lost to her in the 2012 Olympic gold medal lightweight match.
The Irish fighter put in an impressive shift at the London Games, beating the Liverpudlian 26-15. However, Jonas has pointed out the problems that southpaw fighters can cause Taylor, especially those who have an aggressive fighting style.
“Serrano is all of those things — a come-forward, hard-punching, aggressive southpaw. I just think that is all wrong for Katie,” the former WBO junior-middleweight champion admitted.
“She can be dragged in, Serrano is a southpaw which will cause problems and she can punch. She is tough. I don’t think Katie will have speed over Serrano. She isn’t a massive puncher either.”
Retired undefeated super middleweight and light heavyweight champion Laila Ali has admitted she is a big fan of Taylor, but is very aware of the ability of Serrano.
“[Serrano] has power, has boxing skills, can mix it up, can take a punch. That’s really dangerous,” she discussed. “Then you have someone like Katie Taylor who is so talented. She has all these God-given gifts and she works really hard at her craft, and she can really just dominate a lot of the fights.
“But we’ve seen her get roughed up when she gets in there and tries to punch it out, because she doesn’t necessarily have any devastating power. She’s very tough, but that’s not what I want to see in this fight. I don’t want to see her stand there and try to duke it out with Amanda Serrano.”
Prediction: On the fence
Skye Nicolson, who won gold at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, is one of the few to go against the bookies’ favourite in Serrano. She will be fighting Shanecqua Paisley Davis on the undercard at Madison Square Garden tonight.
The Aussie fighter believes Taylor has the upper-hand in terms of skill and experience has tipped her to come out on top.
“I think it’s going to be an amazing display of classy boxing that I cannot wait to witness. But I do see Katie Taylor being too skilful for Serrano. I don’t think Amanda Serrano is going to bring anything that Katie Taylor hasn’t seen before or anything she hasn’t had to deal with before.
“The calibre of opponents that Katie Taylor’s faced are on a whole other level.”