By: Hector Franco
This Sunday, the boxing world is buzzing or groaning, depending on whom you talk to about the upcoming Showtime PPV headlined by social media star Jake Paul as he takes on former UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley.
The event will be held in Paul’s hometown of Cleveland, Ohio, at the Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse.
Paul will be fighting in his fourth professional boxing match, and Woodley will be making the move from mixed martial arts to boxing in his debut bout.
Much of the attention of this event has gone towards Paul, who has a talent for promoting events no matter what the general public thinks of him.
The co-main event will feature one of the best fighters in the world pound-for-pound in Puerto Rico’s Amanda “The Real Deal” Serrano (40-1-1, 30 KOs). She will defend her WBO and WBC female featherweight titles against WBC super bantamweight female champion Yamileth Mercado (18-2, 5 KOs).
Serrano is currently the third-ranked women’s fighter on ESPN’s and Ring Magazine’s pound-for-pound list, only behind Katie Taylor and Claressa Shields. The Puerto Rican is arguably the most decorated women’s fighter at this time, holding world titles in seven weight classes ranging from super flyweight to super lightweight.
Moreso than her accomplishments moving up and down weight classes, Serrano is able to deliver entertainment inside the squared circle being one of the few women’s boxers who can consistently score knockouts.
“Expect this to be a war because I always bring the fireworks,” Serrano said during a media session in training camp. “I have a fan-friendly style, and I’m going out there to finish my opponent. That’s what the fans want to see.”
Serrano, who hasn’t lost a fight since 2012, won’t be facing on paper her most challenging opponent in Mercado. However, she will be fighting on the most crucial stage of her career since meeting Heather Hardy in 2019 at Madison Square Garden.
It’s taken the world of boxing years to get to the point of just showcasing women’s boxing on a regular basis. This led to many leaving the sport for MMA.
Most famously, Holly Holm left boxing and became the first fighter to hold world titles in boxing and MMA. Serrano followed in her footsteps in 2018, fighting for Latin MMA company Combate Americas.
When opportunities didn’t present themselves in boxing, Serrano wasn’t deterred by choosing to stay on the sidelines. She chose to forge her own path.
“I train and fight to be the best in the world,” stated Serrano at the final press conference. “I hope that people can acknowledge that the women are champions as well and that we work as hard as the men. I’m showing everyone that women’s boxing is great too.”
The seven-division champion who is known for never owning a cell phone and openly admitting to never having a boyfriend or significant other has put fighting at the forefront of her life.
There is a specific set of goals that Serrano wants to accomplish not just for herself, but also for all women in boxing.
“This is a performance, and I don’t want to let down women’s boxers,” Serrano stated in an interview with ESPN. “I’m doing this for the whole sport of women’s boxing.”
Jake Paul and Tyron Woodley may be the reason that fans buy the PPV or show up to the event in Cleveland, but the goal for Serrano is to for them to leave talking about her.
“Jake Paul is the main event, but he’s not the main attraction,” Serrano said during a media workout. “I am going to make sure I steal the spotlight from him and entice people to enjoy female boxing and to understand that women can fight and put on shows and showcase that we’re deserving of this opportunity.”
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