By Jonah Dylan
For the first weekend in what feels like forever, there was a ton of boxing. And whether it was Tyson Fury’s drama-filled clash with Otto Wallin, Devin Haney’s near-perfect performance or the fact that the DAZN team flew from New York to LA to cover two cards in as many nights, it delivered. But the most underappreciated fight of the weekend was the WBO featherweight title fight between Heather Hardy and Amanda Serrano, which served as the co-feature to Haney’s fight at Madison Square Garden.
Hardy-Serrano got a good amount of media coverage compared to most women’s fights, but Serrano isn’t getting nearly enough credit for what she’s done over the last year and really over her entire career.
1. Amanda Serrano is one of the best fighters in the world, and you could make the case she beats Katie Taylor.
On Sept. 8, she beat Yamila Esther Reynoso to win a super lightweight world title and weighed in at 138 ½ lbs. On Jan. 18, she weighed 114.2 lbs when she dropped all the way down to super flyweight and knocked out Eva Voraberger in 35 seconds to win a world title in a record-setting 7th weight class.
So, to recap: she somehow cut all that weight in just over three months, then casually knocked out a game opponent in less than a minute. Serrano is the only woman to win world titles in seven weight classes, and that feat is matched only by Manny Pacquiao, who’s done it in eight different classes. But even Pacquiao isn’t dropping to super flyweight anytime soon.
Anyways, Serrano then moved back up to 126 – which she says is her natural weight – and nearly stopped the previously undefeated Hardy in the first round before cruising to a clear decision win. Give Hardy tons of credit – she showed unbelievable heart to stay in there with Serrano – but it was simply too tall a task.
DAZN seems to be putting most of its weight behind Katie Taylor, which makes sense because she’s a marketable fighter and is the undisputed lightweight champion. A Taylor-Serrano fight was supposed to be in the works after this weekend, but that makes too much sense so of course Taylor is now moving up to 140 to chase a title in a second weight class.
Serrano – who has flirted with an MMA career in the past – took to Twitter on Tuesday to say she’s going back there for the near future. It’s tough to blame her, because there aren’t many fights out there for her if she can’t get Taylor in the ring.
Honestly, go fight Cecilia Brækhus at 147. I’m only half-joking.
2. Tyson Fury survived and Wilder-Fury II is still in play, but that was close.
Here’s the thing: if Deontay Wilder hits Tyson Fury with the punch that opened up that horrible cut on Saturday, he’s not getting up. Otto Wallin had a nice showing and should get some big fights in the heavyweight division, but he’s nowhere near the puncher Wilder is (for that matter, nobody is). Fury’s calling card is his movement and defense, but there wasn’t a lot of that going on against Wallin.
That’s fine for one fight, because it made for an entertaining scrap and Fury still won clearly. But that version of The Gypsy King is not going to do very well against Wilder.
As for Wilder’s next fight: why is he even fighting Luis Ortiz? I know this was set up months in advance and it’s the reason Ortiz turned down the fight against Anthony Joshua, but what does he have to gain? The Pay-Per-View won’t do very well and while Wilder will be the favorite, anything can happen in the heavyweight division. Also, what’s the story? Wilder already knocked Ortiz out and it’s not like people are clamoring to see it again.
On second thought, maybe this whole ordeal will make people want to watch Wilder-Ortiz II. Who knows.
3. Once again, we have a nonsense interim title in play
Haney’s win against Zaur Abdullaev made him the mandatory challenger for the WBC lightweight belt held by Vasiliy Lomachenko, which I don’t think anyone is complaining about. Haney had worked his way to the No. 1 spot and won a title eliminator, which is typical.
Still, sanctioning an interim title fight literally two weeks after an actual title fight is beyond ridiculous. If a guy hasn’t defended his title for a year? Ok, create an interim belt for one fight and make sure the winner fights the champ in his next fight. But Haney isn’t fighting Lomachenko anytime soon, and the WBC probably did this so they can elevate Lomachenko to “Franchise Champion” and not have to sanction a vacant title fight.
This is basically a playbook the WBA – which gets more criticism than any other sanctioning body – has been using for years. But seriously, how can there be an interim title fight two weeks after the actual title fight?
Well, at least we have the “Mayan” belt.
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