Headline NewsNews

Love not Hate! Katie Taylor fans should be grateful for Amanda Serrano

It might not be too safe a statement to make, particularly within earshot of one Irish-Boxing.com writer, but Irish and indeed Katie Taylor fans around the world should be grateful for one Amanda Serrano.

The Puerto Rican has past experience of drawing out the ire of Taylor’s support and will no doubt get under their skin in the build up to the pair’s rescheduled ‘mega fight’.

The seven-weight world champion has promised otherwise, but the natural born talker and skilled fight-builder will most likely return to type, particularly if she is on a PPV cut, and verbally assault the Irish sensation as fight night draws near.

The explosive Big Apple based fighter also has apple cart upset capabilities and has the experience, talent, power and confidence to beat the trailblazing Bray star she has called out and then distanced herself from with confusing regularity over the last two years.

All of the aforementioned are reasons to be wary and potentially have a temporary dislike for the Lou Di Bella-promoted banger. That said, Serrano can prove as important to Taylor’s legacy as the gifted Wicklow fighter’s own skill set.

Serrano is keen to let everyone know Taylor isn’t a superhero, but there is no doubting the Olympic gold medal winner is a superstar and, like superheroes, superstars need nemesis to make the most of their time in the spotlight.

Without The Joker, The Penguin, The Riddler and the various colourful baddies , Batman would be nothing more than a man with a fetish for tights and masks.

Equally, top fighters need challenging nemeses.

Would Sugar Ray Leonard be remembered with such fondness if he hadn’t shared memorable nights with his fellow ‘kings’ Tommy Hearns, Marvin Hagler and Roberto Duran.

George Foreman and Joe Frazier have a major part to play in the greatness of Muhammad Ali. Closer to home, what would Steve Collins, Nigel Benn and Chris Eubank Jr be without each other?

All the aforementioned’s greatness owes in part to the rivals and their legacy was cemented by the fact they were involved in memorable and build-ups, bouts, and battles.

Being a superior talent will get you respect and recognised, but history never forgets rivalries. Roy Jones, Wladimir Klitschko, Joe Calzaghe and maybe even to a lesser extend Floyd Mayweather have all suffered from not having a list of worthy rivals in the opposite corner for large parts of their careers.

In fact Mayweather, who some argue, including himself, is the best ever, but you can be sure he’d be more revered if he had fought in the Four Kings era. ‘Money’ may even have more fan goodwill in the bank had he had an exciting defeat or two on his record rather than waiting until he hit retirement age to fight the only real rival of his era.

It’s not quite fair, but supreme talent can be punished in boxing. Supreme skill isn’t always the first thing fight fans tune into watch.

Taylor’s legacy as a trailblazer, barrier breaker, and extremely talented winner is safe regardless of what transpires in the remainder of her pro career.

The Olympic gold medal winner accounts for as many records as the big Guinness book and has changed the shape of women’s boxing, and arguably even female sport in Ireland and around the world.

However, despite having a genuine claim to being Ireland’s greatest ever sports star and one of the greatest female stars globally, the 33-year-old is in a battle for GWOAT status.

Claressa Shields has, with regular vigour, told the world she is the greatest female of all time ahead of the Bray sensation. With two Olympic gold medals in the bag and with world titles at three weights as a pro the precocious Michigan powerhouse has her supporters.

The American hasn’t quite got the ground breaking background of the Irish fighter who most agree is responsible for female boxing being accepted into the Olympics in for London 2012, but is a real Taylor GWOAT threat.

That is where the likes of Serrano come in. The likes of the Puerto Rican can add real value to Taylor’s career and provide her with the chance to register victories of the folklore kind, which in turn can prove massive in cementing her status as an all time great.

The meeting of the pair is already being promoted as the ‘biggest female fight in history’, which in itself makes the point.

While Shields may have world titles in three weights to undisputed lightweight champion Taylor’s two, if the Matchroom fighter beats the Brooklyn native, she will have the biggest and best win on her record. Indeed she will be the victor of the biggest female fight of all time.

Serrano’s fight building ability and fondness for talking up her chances as well as down Taylor’s capabilities may annoy Irish fight fans, but it draws more eyes to the occasion.

By the time fight night comes around, it will be the most eagerly anticipated female fight of all time and no doubt one of the most looked forward to fights of the summer, regardless of gender

Then there is the air of jeopardy Serrano brings to the table. A champion at seven weights with a reputation as one of the biggest punchers in the female fight game. For the first time casual fight fans won’t be expecting a routine victory for the Brian Peters-managed fighter.

So, if Taylor defeats Serrano next she would have defeated a fellow pound for pound fighter in a hyped clash that captured the attention of a massive audience.

It would prove a marquee victory that would allow Taylor to leave a GWOAT mark – and Irish fight fans should be grateful for Serrano for helping to make that possible.

Jonny Stapleton

Irish-boxing.com contributor for 15 years and editor for the past decade. Have been covering boxing for over 16 years and writing about sports for a living for over 20 years. Former Assistant Sports editor for the Gazette News Paper Group and former Tallaght Voice Sports Editor. Have had work published in publications around the world when working as a freelance journalist. Also co-founder of Junior Sports Media and Leinster Rugby PRO of the Year winner. email: editoririshboxing@gmail.com