Amanda Serrano beat Erika Cruz on Saturday night in an absolute war. In doing so, ‘The Real Deal’ clinched the undisputed featherweight championship. The bloody ten-rounder was scored a little too widely to reflect the action, with marks of 97-93, 98-92, and 98-92. But the bout set the bar for women’s boxing in 2023.
In the wake of this thriller, an announcement was made for a fight that could raise that bar. Serrano has agreed to face undisputed lightweight champion Katie Taylor in a rematch from 2022’s The Sportsman Fight of the Year. Taylor’s electrifying win last April headlined Madison Square Garden. The venue gave Puerto Rico’s Serrano something of a home advantage, given the fact her family moved to New York City while she was a child. This time, Serrano will have to travel to Taylor’s backyard in Dublin, Ireland.
We have a city and we have a date, with Taylor-Serrano II confirmed for 20th May. But one unanswered question remains, that being the venue for the showdown. 82,000-capacity Croke Park has long been targeted to host one of Taylor’s fights. A rematch of perhaps the greatest women’s fight ever would be an appropriately-grand occasion befitting such a venue. If only those who operate the stadium felt the same way.
The Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) have cited a figure of €500,000 to cover security costs for the event. According to Croke Park’s Commercial Director, Peter McKenna, it is a sum promoters Matchroom Boxing have been unwilling to pay. Casting aspersions on the sort of clientele high-level boxing attracts, McKenna added "You're talking about bringing 60,000 to 70,000 people into a stadium for a fight that's late in the evening with quite a bit of alcohol taken."
@KatieTaylor vs. @serranosisters for the undisputed world lightweight title.
Watch the Fight of the Year - Part 2, LIVE on , May 20 👑
While boxing does attract an intoxicated audience at times, such a view seems short-sighted. After all, the same venue hosted music concerts by Ed Sheeran and Garth Brooks last year. The venue has also played host to the Republic of Ireland national football team. It even has a boxing tradition, with Muhammad Ali having fought at the stadium in the 1970s.
It is looking increasingly likely that the indoor 3Arena will put on the fight, but a 13,000 capacity venue feels like a huge step down. An unexpected source could yet rescue Katie’s big night under the lights, though. Ireland’s UFC icon Conor McGregor publicly offered to sponsor the event on Twitter. Matchroom supremo Eddie Hearn replied with, “Let’s talk”. If ‘Notorious’ can get his fellow fighting pride of Ireland into the headline spot at Croke Park, it will rank alongside his finest Octagon achievements.
Taylor has arguably done more for the perception of women’s boxing than anyone in history. ‘KT’ has taken Ireland along for the ride through her success as an amateur and a professional. The fighter is inextricable from the nation she proudly represents. It is to be hoped that the GAA will see that and be as accommodating as possible. Ireland deserves this fight. Katie deserves this stage. Women’s boxing deserves this occasion. Over to you, Conor.
*18+ | BeGambleAware | Odds Subject To Change