Amanda Serrano is far more comfortable in the ring than she is talking to the media to hype what is being billed as the biggest fight in women’s boxing history.
“This is definitely the hardest part,” Serrano told Front Office Sports in advance of her showdown with Katie Taylor for the undisputed Lightweight title Saturday night at Madison Square Garden. “I’m good with training and I’m great at fighting, but the media part is something new. I don’t want to get used to it because it’s just overwhelming. But we have to get our faces and names out there.”
It marks the first time two women fighters are headlining a combat sports event at the venerable venue — and, thanks to heavy promotion spearheaded by Serrano’s manager, social media star and professional boxer Jake Paul, each fighter has been guaranteed a purse in excess of $1 million.
Pound-for-pound, the women are the Nos. 1 and 2 fighters in the world. While Taylor (20-0, 6 KOs) is the current champion, Serrano (42-1-1, 30 KOs) is a seven-weight world champ and is the favorite to win (-140).
Serrano, 33, sat down with Front Office Sports to discuss the historic bout, the growth of women’s boxing, and more.
I know this fight is very important to you, but how important is it for women’s boxing?
Oh, it’s very important. This will be an introduction to many. People who have never seen women’s boxing are going to see the best go at it Saturday night. We have great talent in women’s boxing, and the best is yet to come.
I’ve worked so hard. My whole saying is, “Greatness requires sacrifice.” I sacrificed all these years to be the best fighter that I can be. Now is the best time to be a female fighter, and I just want to open doors for young girls by continuing to make history, break records, and make noise like we’re doing with this big fight.
You’re headlining at Madison Square Garden. How does it feel to hear those words?
I still don’t think it has hit me yet. It’s really surreal. There have been great fighters in the main events at Madison Square Garden, and to be a Latina and do it is amazing.
Do you make it a point to promote the sport in the community?
I love doing that, especially on my island of Puerto Rico. Me and my sister [Cindy], opened doors for these young girls, and when I go back to the island, it’s just so overwhelming. They come to me saying, “I started boxing because of you.” We had maybe like five, and now we have hundreds of girls boxing — and it’s just truly something I love to see.
Do you feel a responsibility to prove that you can sell tickets to a major women’s boxing bout?
Yes, both of us do, and we have Madison Square Garden almost sold out. Now, there are no excuses. Great women can definitely sell fights.
How has Jake Paul’s involvement with you and the sport had an impact?
He’s been a great influence in the sport. He’s a great advocate for women in sports. He’s always pushing for us. This time was going to happen no matter what, but with Jake Paul’s name on the promotion, it just went up higher. We got Madison Square Garden backing us up and giving us a main event. He’s done a lot for the sport of boxing, as well — not just for us women.
Jake said that both fighters are guaranteed at least seven figures. That’s got to feel pretty good.
It’s amazing. It’s been overdue, and I think me and Katie Taylor are well-deserving. We’ve worked hard for it.
When you were first getting into the sport, did you ever think you make that kind of money boxing?
Not at all. To this day, I’m still like, “Oh my God, it’s real.”
Has it been a battle for women’s boxing to enter the mainstream?
Of course. Even to this day, it’s still a little hard. Yes, we’re making history in the Garden, we’re making noise, and we’re making seven figures, but we’re still going to have to keep fighting for recognition. This is one step closer to making women’s boxing great.
Can Saturday’s fight have a carryover effect on the popularity of the sport?
We have great talent in women’s boxing right now, and it’s just going to continue to be champion vs. champion, and that’s what’s going to continue to keep people’s interest in women’s boxing.
What do you want your legacy to be?
I would love to be a role model and open the doors. I just want to be known as one of the girls who did it the best and continue to push for women’s boxing to be great.
You spend so much time training. What do you like to do outside of the gym?
I love going to the movies, and I love shopping. I have about a year left, and then I’m going to retire — and then I’ll get to do all the things that I missed out on, like vacations and just living life.
What’s your greatest attribute in the ring?
I’m a puncher — I’m a brawler. I don’t mind taking one [punch] to give you 10.