Katie Taylor’s Madison Square Garden bout shows boxing’s progress for women

Katie Taylor has been a torch-bearer for women’s boxing, an inspiration to so many kids and the major reason women’s boxing was embraced by at the Olympic Games.

After a glittering amateur career that included five world championships and an Olympic gold medal, it is entirely fitting she should be involved in the first female pro bout to top the bill at Madison Square Garden in New York.

The defence of her lightweight titles against Amanda Serrano on boxing’s hallowed stage is a measure of how far women’s boxing has come. It is also the hardest fight of her professional career so far.

Though Serrano is coming up from featherweight she is arguably the most talented fighter in women’s boxing. Her punches are hard and accurate and she has been a pro much longer. I don’t know that Taylor’s style has changed that much since the amateurs and of late she has shown signs of slowing.

Taylor throws in bunches but does not place her shots with power. Only six stoppage wins in 20 bouts is proof of that. That’s the big difference in the pros. In any combination one punch has to have the money on it. Because of her long career in the amateurs I don’t think she has ever quite got that. In the last couple of fights it seems to me that opponents have worked her out. She is not hurting them like Serrano does and is more hittable.

This fight has come at the perfect time for Serrano, whereas for Taylor it coincides with the onset of decline. Taylor still has a great chin and is super fit, but looks predictable all of a sudden. Even legends start to tire. Because of Serrano’s natural power and speed I fear this could be one fight too many for Katy. What she has achieved as an amateur will never be forgotten nor repeated. I hope I’m wrong but I think Serrano wins.

Over in boxing’s modern capital, Las Vegas, Shakur Stevenson meets Oscar Valdez in a super featherweight unification cracker. Stevenson is a major talent. He has the skills of Sugar Ray Leonard but I don’t know if he has the same visceral hunger for the fight. Valdez is lucky to be in a ring after his drug violations.

He should have suffered greater penalties. However he will come for Stevenson and that should make it a classic. Stevenson can really fight but if he is to fulfil his potential he needs to open up and take risks. Hopefully Valdez will really bring out the fight in him. Stevenson for me, most likely on points.

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