A women’s boxing match headlines the show at MSG

Years ago, when Katie Taylor had to pass herself off as a boy in order to box, or when Amanda Serrano was fighting for thousands of dollars despite

Years ago, when Katie Taylor had to pass herself off as a boy in order to box, or when Amanda Serrano was fighting for thousands of dollars despite a resume that would have earned her millions if she were a man, it’s hard to imagine where both female fighters are today. day.

The two will square off on Saturday night in what has been described as the biggest fight in women’s boxing history, the first to headline a show at Madison Square Garden. At stake will be the four lightweight titles of the undefeated Taylor, but this fight is about more than just titles.

It has grown far beyond promoters’ expectations, with a possible sellout in the stands, the Empire State Building lighting up in the colors of both fighters’ nations and drawing unprecedented media attention for a women’s bout. Those involved assure that this shows that if the best face each other, with due promotional support, the genre is the least of it.

“Women’s boxing wasn’t even a sanctioned sport in Ireland,” Taylor said. “Now here we are many years later headlining the show at Madison Square Garden, boxing’s most iconic venue, making history in the biggest fight in women’s boxing history. It’s incredible.”

Taylor (20-6, 6 KOs) became the undisputed champion with a victory at the Garden in 2019, while Serrano (42-1-1, 30 KOs), a champion in seven divisions and who moved up two categories for this fight, he has been on the string at MSG’s Hulu Theater, but never in the main arena.

The organizers originally thought of holding this match at the Hulu Theater, but after concluding that the match was suitable for the main arena, they planned a setup for around 10,000 spectators. They had to make more places available after tickets sold out. More than 15,000 tickets have been sold and there will be a significant turnout of Irish fans traveling to support the 2012 Olympic champion.

There will be a lot more support for Serrano, a Puerto Rican who lives in Brooklyn and is a slight favorite according to bookmaker Fanduel Sportsbook.

“I can’t wait for Saturday to show that we deserve this opportunity, these spotlights, and everything this represents,” Serrano said.

Promoter Eddie Hearn sees the fight as the culmination of Taylor’s mission to never stop trying to do more than seemed possible to her. She wore a mask to enter and leave the gym to hide her appearance and she did not use her first name when she started boxing, because it was not allowed among women in Ireland. According to Hearn, it was she who lobbied the International Olympic Committee to make women’s boxing a medal sport, and once she turned pro, she always sought out the bigger events.

“When Katie walked into my office six years ago, we had a dream and we always said ‘One day you’re going to be a star at Madison Square Garden and make millions of dollars’ and I thought that probably wouldn’t be the case, but we kept saying it anyway.” Hearn said. “And here we are.”

Despite his decorated career, not long ago Serrano was earning $5,000 or $10,000 purses, according to his promoter Jake Paul. But once they made a dumbbell, the Youtuber, boxer and promoter, began to add her to his functions and ascended fiscal tabulators with the same ease with the change of weight category.

Pioneering women in their , such as tennis player Billie Jean King and boxers Laila Ali and Christy Marin have joined the promotion. Ali’s father starred in the most memorable fight at Madison Square Garden, in which Joe Frazier beat Muhammed Ali in his first fight in 1971.

Now it’s Taylor and Serrano’s turn to write another chapter of boxing in this arena.

“Regardless of what happens on Saturday night, I think the real winners are the fans and the women in general and the sport of women’s boxing, because from now on it will only grow,” Serrano said.