Katie Taylor would relish a rematch against Amanda Serrano after prevailing by a wafer-thin split decision in an engrossing contest at Madison Square Garden in New York.
In the first women’s bout to headline the famed venue, which staged the ‘Fight of the Century’ between Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali in 1971, Taylor retained her status as undisputed lightweight champion.
The Irish fighter soaked up a brutal onslaught in the middle rounds but showed terrific resilience and used every ounce of her experience to finish strongly to keep hold of her WBC, WBA, IBF and WBO titles.
She was given the nod from two judges by scores of 97-93 and 96-93, with a third plumping for her Puerto Rican opponent 96-94, although there were immediate calls for a return showdown.
Taylor, who extended her unbeaten professional record to 21 wins from as many fights, certainly seemed agreeable to the idea, saying in the ring afterwards to DAZN: “Let’s do it again, Amanda.”
“I knew going into it I was going to be in the trenches at some stage. She’s a phenomenal fighter, a great, great person.
“I have the heart to go with the skill and I knew I was going to be able to come through.
“What a fight, what a win, what a night.”
Robbed.— Jake Paul (@jakepaul) May 1, 2022
This was billed as the biggest women’s fight in history and the pair, both viewed as pioneers in the sport for what they have accomplished, justified the hype in a frenetic see-saw battle.
Serrano, who has won nine world titles across seven weight categories, seemed to gain the upper hand as she landed some punishing blows to the head and body of her opponent but Taylor refused to buckle.
The Bray fighter used her movement and counter-punched effectively to finish strongly and while both fighters had their moments in an absorbing final round that thrilled a sell-out 19,187 crowd, Serrano was left to reflect on a first defeat since 2012 and the second of her celebrated 45-fight career.
“Katie is a great champion,” Serrano said afterwards. “She’s undefeated and undisputed, I’m truly honoured to share the ring. Women can sell, women can fight and women can put on a hell of a show.”
While Serrano was magnanimous in defeat, Jake Paul, the former YouTube star who promotes the multi-weight world champion, tweeted his disgust at the decision, simply saying: “Robbed.”