Amanda Serrano is content with the history already achieved in her move through seven weight divisions.
With a win on Saturday, there is only one fight left that will get the Puerto Rican star to abandon the featherweight division—a lucrative rematch with undisputed lightweight champion Katie Taylor. Beyond that, the plan is clear for Serrano—to not only become the undisputed featherweight champion but defend that crown through the rest of her storied career.
“God willing all goes well, the only fight I’m going up in weight for after this is the rematch with Katie Taylor,” Serrano told BoxingScene.com. “After that, I’m done chasing divisions. I want to stay put at featherweight. It’s where I feel the most comfortable. The only way I’m moving up again is for the Katie Taylor rematch.”
Before she gets there, Serrano (43-2-1, 30KOs) aims to create more history for her beloved island.
The 34-year-old Boricua southpaw—from the Bushwick section of Brooklyn, New York by way of Carolina, P.R.— faces Erika Cruz (15-1, 3KOs) for the undisputed featherweight crown this Saturday on DAZN from Madison Square Garden’s Hulu Theater in New York City. Serrano holds the lineal, WBC, IBF, IBO and WBO titles and aims to win Cruz’s WBA title to become Puerto Rico’s first-ever undisputed champion, male or female.
She came oh-so-close two fights ago, dropping a hotly contested split decision to Ireland’s Taylor (22-0, 6KOs) for the lightweight championship last April 30 in the main room at MSG. The fight was her second straight at lightweight, and just her fifth overall above the 130-pound limit.
The bulk of Serrano’s career has come at featherweight, where she turned pro in 2009 and where she has enjoyed three separate title reigns. A committed effort was made to become undisputed champ at 126 following her narrow defeat to Taylor, returning to her prime weight to dethrone unbeaten IBF champ Sarah Mahfoud last September 26 in Manchester, England.
Serrano became a three-belt champ with the win. The current unified featherweight reign began with her regaining the WBO belt in a September 2019 win over unbeaten Brooklyn native and reigning titlist Heather Hardy at MSG Theater where she aims to make history on Saturday. The fight also came with the interim WBC title, which Serrano upgraded to the full crown in 2021 when Jelena Mrdjenovich was unavailable for their ordered title consolidation bout.
Three title defenses have come of Serrano’s current reign, where she has come in well under the divisional limit. Also mixed in were three non-title fights above the weight and the unforgettable clash with Taylor for the undisputed lightweight crown. Serrano was fighting at her walkaround win in her loss to Taylor and prior ten-round shutout win over the naturally bigger Miriam Gutierrez in their December 2021 non-title fight.
Serrano’s last title claim outside of featherweight came in January 2019, when she weighed a career lightest 114 ¼ pounds in a first-round knockout of Eva Voraberger for the WBO junior bantamweight title. The win marked her seventh conquered division, coming four months after weighing a career heaviest 138 ½ pounds in a ten-round decision win over Yamileth Reynoso for the WBO junior welterweight title.
Through the years have come title wins in every weight in between.
“It’s always Amanda making the sacrifice,” noted Jordan Maldonado, Serrano’s head trainer, and brother-in-law. “Katie’s always stayed at lightweight except for that one fight (versus Christina Linardatou for the WBO junior welterweight title in November 2019). Nobody talks about the fact that Katie has fought a lot of girls at 126 and 130 who moved up in weight to fight her. Those are the girls making the sacrifices. Katie is the one who’s comfortable. She’s been where she is since the amateurs. She moved for that one fight then came back down.
“For us, it takes a toll. After this fight, Amanda has to go to McDonalds, force feed herself to fight Katie at her weight and then come back down after that to defend our featherweight championship. After that (Taylor rematch), we’re done chasing weight divisions. We can’t be the ones always having to prove ourselves. After the rematch, we’re going to finish at featherweight.”
That plan is fine with Serrano. In fact, any plan that doesn’t apply focus to the task at hand is really of no interest to her through this weekend.
“I’m not even looking that far,” insists Serrano. “I have Erika in my sights. Featherweight is always the division I wanted and I’m just focused on this.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox
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