Marlen Esparza was among the many in attendance for the Katie Taylor-Amanda Serrano superlight earlier this year.
The reigning unified flyweight champion was in awe of the magnitude of the event, one which she feels can be surpassed by the biggest fight that still awaits her career. Houston’s Esparza has long ago mapped out a set of goals she wishes to achieve before entering a long-awaited rematch with bitter rival Seniesa Estrada.
Whenever that day comes, she firmly believes it will be an event that will stand the test of time in boxing history.
“I think a rematch with Seniesa will be bigger than Taylor-Serrano,” Esparza told BoxingScene.com. “Not just because it’s a real grudge between us but because we both have that same attitude. Katie’s a very sweet person. Serrano has that in her but she’s not just gonna go at Katie like that. She doesn’t really have anything negative to say because Katie’s not gonna say anything back. Their fight was as big as it was and hyped just off talent alone. Everyone know who they were, and were trying to find out who’s the better fighter.
“With me and Seniesa, when we fight again after I get all these belts, it’s not just finding out who’s better but that we just don’t like each other at all. It’s the second time around. We went at it the first time, there will be a second time and who knows, there could even be a third time.”
Their previous meeting took place in November 2019, as part of a DAZN show headlined by Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez’s knockout win over Sergey Kovalev in Las Vegas. Alvarez became a four-division titlist that night, hours after Estrada (22-0, 9KOs) outpointed Esparza (12-1, 1KO) via technical decision win in an entertaining clash preceded by harsh words an on-stage fracas exchanged during fight week.
Esparza did her best to remain professional throughout the event and in the aftermath, having since won five straight. Her run includes title wins over Ibeth Zamora and Naoko Fujioka to presently serve as the lineal/WBA/WBC flyweight champion. Next in line is a title defense versus WBA mandatory challenger Eva Guzman (19-1-1, 11KOs) this Saturday at Dickies Arena in Fort Worth, Texas.
It’s the fourth straight fight in state for Esparza, a 2012 Olympic Bronze medalist who continues to build her fan base. Each win also builds towards an inevitable rematch with Estrada once the East Los Angeles native is prepared to move back up in weight in a bid to become a three-division champion.
Esparza plans to be undisputed flyweight champion by then—and a completely different person than the fighter who sought to take the high road the first time around.
“I think it’s going to be a major fight, plus—I’ll be honest, I really can’t stand her,” admitted Esparza. “I usually just say as a fighter I don’t like you but as a human being, you’re cool. Seniesa? Nah, I just don’t like you at all. I just don’t have any respect for her. When those things came along, I tried to be more professional. I didn’t say a lot. I didn’t let anything out.
“This time, I’m gonna tell everything I know. And I’ve been knowing Seniesa since like eleven years old so there’s a lot of shit to let out. It’s gonna be like, ‘Seniesa did what?’ So yeah, it’s gonna be a major fight when we go again. It’s gonna be major problems next time around.”
Esparza-Guzman serves as the lone title fight of a DAZN telecast headlined by locally-bred welterweight contender Vergil Ortiz Jr. (18-0, 18KOs) in a twelve-round bout versus England’s Michael McKinson (22-0, 2KOs).
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox