Taylor/Serrano: Blood, Guts & History
Boxing is seemingly always in the gutter in some ways. The sport is rarely pure or clean. Boxing too often is dressed in an invisible cloak of purity. Dark clouds will seemingly linger in some way shape or form, they always have. They always will. In recent weeks the clouds have been darker still.
Stories and links to the alleged crime boss Daniel Kinahan have dominated many headlines and overshadowed everything around the sport including a fight for the heavyweight championship of the world, the biggest prize in boxing. Talk of dirty money and plenty of it, bouts of amnesia, vows of silence, deleting everything remotely in sight. Leading figures in the sport being denied entry into America. Ugly doesn’t even begin to cover it. Boxing has hit a new low, and that’s saying something. And trust me, it will get worse.
But boxing has a way of making you forget, overnight in New York, we forgot. A little glimpse of light amid all the darkness.
Katie Taylor and Amanda Serrano delivered something truly special in Madison Square Garden. A fight we will never forget. And for the right reasons.
Both gave more than they perhaps should have. A brutal savage fight, that will linger long in the bodies of each fighter. At times it was raw and primitive, and then in a flash, it became a thing of beauty. Blood, guts and more than a hint of thunder. Both are class acts who were quie rightly the deserved recipients of such an occasion. The pedigree of each needs no further telling, but at times, both forgot everything they have learned about the Noble Art. There were moments where it could have been decided on the cobbles. Taylor and Serrano did what they had to do. At times it was uncomfortable, but nobody wanted less. Even the squeamish will have applauded and begged for more.
At the beginning Taylor was the hunted, at the end, she became the hunter. A great fight needs swings of momentum. This fight had everything. It was magical, but there were no illusions here.
Taylor had to dig deep, too deep in all honesty. Serrano also had to draw on reserves she probably didn’t know she had. It was as if they knew they had to deliver in such a manner on a night of such historical importance to their sport and cause.
Many came to party, some came to judge, Taylor and Serrano just came to fight.
Taylor looked close to defeat in that sensational 5th round. Thoughts must have flickered to pull her out. But Taylor is some fighter. A special one. Serrano emptied the tank sensing this was her moment. It very nearly was. The bell was one of relief and frustration. The tale of two corners and a never-ending argument about true equality. The lack of it saved one fighter and the torch being passed.
The drama never relented, only enhanced. The 5th was some round, the 10th was an even better one. I’ve seen some great fights, but trust me, this one is right up there. The greatest fight in women’s boxing history. Definitely. In truth, it is one of the greatest fights in boxing history period.
The scorecards were split and disputed, but Taylor remained undisputed. Another contradiction in a sport of many. Jake Paul cried robbery, it wasn’t, it was just close. It could have gone either way. I think it went the right way. Just.
Everything about the whole event was special, memorable and unforgettable. It just had that feeling of history. A final nail in the coffin of indifference, apathy and prejudice. Taylor and Serrano knew what it meant, it was their moment in time. It was our moment too. Boxing needed it perhaps like never before.
90,000 at Croke Park in Dublin could be next. It needs to be. Any rematch must be bigger and better for emotion and grandeur, we can’t take a step back. Both Taylor and Serrano deserve an even larger stage next time.
I’d like to see Taylor retire, she won’t, there will be one more dance. Hopefully, the final one. In many ways, Serrano will think an opportunity has been missed, but she will get another go. Some rematches are pointless, this one is inevitable. And far from pointless. Many will have held their breath hoping the occasion didn’t fall flat. We can all now breathe again. Until next time. Just for one night, one fight, we forgot.
Photo Credit: Ed Mulholland/Matchroom