Among the YouTubers and gross mismatches on show in Cleveland, Ohio on the Jake Paul vs Tyron Woodley card, fans were able to see at least one genuine boxing superstar in action on Sunday night.
Amanda Serrano outclassed Yamileth Mercado to defend her WBC and WBO featherweight titles by unanimous decision to further her claim as the pound-for-pound number one queen, less than a week before another contender to the throne, Katie Taylor, takes to the ring.
The Puerto Rican superstar put in a dominant performance against the tough Mexican who, while outboxed, fought admirably, especially against one of female boxing’s most destructive punchers (30 of Serrano’s 41 wins have come inside the distance).
The win means that the 32-year-old, the only female to win world titles in more than four weight classes (seven), is on a ridiculous 27-fight win streak and has not lost for the best part of a decade.
Despite a strong claim to pound-for-pound supremacy in women’s boxing, ‘The Real Deal’ remained humble in her post-fight interview acknowledging there are other fighters who are just as worthy.
“I don’t want to say that I’m No.1 pound-for-pound, because there are great female fighters like Claressa Shields. As long as I’m at the top with fighters like her, then I’m good.”
Another such fighter is the aforementioned undisputed lightweight champion Taylor. A showdown between Serrano and ‘the Bray Bomber’, which has been mooted for some time now, seems inevitable. Serrano, however, says she has some unfinished business at 126lbs before she can move up to duke it out with Taylor.
“I want that fight with Katie Taylor in the future,” Serrano said. “First I want to fight the other featherweight champions (WBA champ Erika Cruz Hernandez and IBF strap-holder Sarah Mahfoud) and become undisputed in my weight class. Then we’ll have two undisputed champions against each other when Katie and I fight.”
Undisputed vs undisputed certainly has a nice ring to it, and should these two meet, which would likely be 2022, it would almost certainly go down as the biggest bout in women’s boxing history.
That potentially groundbreaking match-up will be the furthest thing from Taylor’s mind this week though, as she prepares for her outing on the undercard of Josh Warrington’s rematch with Mauricio Lara in Leeds on Saturday night - any slip ups and that mega-fight with Serrano could vanish.
Taylor puts all her belts on the line against six-time national amateur champion and former IBF featherweight world champion Jennifer Han, who heads into the clash on the back of an eight-fight winning streak.
“I think the last 12 months have been fantastic for me personally. I’m still sitting here as the undisputed champion, 18-0 with some fantastic performances and some amazing fights under my belt,” said Taylor.
“The fights I’ve been in have elevated women’s boxing to another level. This is the pinnacle of professional boxing – holding all of the belts, that’s what everyone in professional boxing wants to do. Everyone’s dream is to become the undisputed champion.
“I’m going to try my best to hold on to every one of those belts for as long as I can. This is what I’m in the sport for. I want to make history, I want to be a world champion and I want to hold all of the belts - I’m all in.”
“The women are definitely more inclined to take a few more risks and actually go in and take the bigger fights. I love that about the female fighters. We actually want the big fights. We’re willing and able to actually step in the ring and fight all of these other champions.”
Both Taylor and Serrano, alongside the likes of Shields and Savannah Marshall, are all doing their bit to take the women’s game to new heights and the fact that two potentially undisputed champions could meet in the ring in the near future is tantalising. Maybe the men should take note.