An active schedule for Katie Taylor is going to mean a mixture of mandatory title defenses and the type of matchups that enhance her standing as one of the best in the sport.
That type of future is already being mapped out on her behalf.
The undisputed lightweight champion is coming off a ten-round shutout of Jennifer Han this past Saturday at Headingley Rugby League Stadium in Leeds, England. Han (18-4-1, 1KOs) entered as a former featherweight titlist fighting two divisions above her best weight and six months removed from giving birth to her second child.
The performance—while dominant—will ultimately go down as a footnote in the incredible career already enjoyed by Ireland’s Taylor (19-0, 6KOs), the most influential figure in the advancement of women’s boxing. Bigger fights are in her future, for the moment none bigger than an elusive showdown with fellow pound-for-pound entrant and modern-day ring legend Amanda Serrano (41-1-1, 30KOs). The hope from her team is that Taylor can ultimately have her cake and eat it.
"I think Katie Taylor fights again in December and then I think she has to fight Amanda Serrano,” Eddie Hearn, Taylor’s career-long promoter stated on DAZN upon the conclusion of Saturday’s telecast. “It's not her fault that fight hasn't been made. It's a mixture of many things but that's the past. The future... I think we have to."
Taylor and Serrano were first due to collide last May, only for the pandemic to shut down those plans. Efforts to reschedule the titanic showdown proved to be a bust, breaking down first over money and then location.
Both have managed to remain active in the aftermath. Taylor—a 2012 OIympic-Gold medalist, two-time Olympian and two-division titlist in the pros—has fought four times in just over a year, scoring decision wins over Delfine Persoon, Miriam Gutierrez, Natasha Jonas and Han.
Serrano—the record-setting seven-division and reigning WBC/WBO/IBO featherweight titlist from Brooklyn, New York by way of Puerto Rico—is 3-0 (2KOs) in that same span. A first-round knockout of Dahiana Santana last December was followed by more substantive victories, stopping three-division titlist Daniela Bermudez in nine rounds this past March before soundly outpointing junior featherweight titlist Yamileth Mercado over ten rounds on August 29, just six days prior to Taylor’s most recent victory.
The latest win for Serrano came as the chief support to a high-profile Pay-Per-View card topped by social media celebrity and unbeaten cruiserweight novice Jake Paul (4-0, 3KOs). Placement on the Showtime-produced and distributed event saw a surge in notoriety, with each fight seeing her name value catch up to her in-ring accomplishments.
"I think Amanda Serrano fancies that fight, I think she's done a fantastic job to raise her profile,” admits Hearn. “She brings tremendous value in the fight. She can be rewarded for that value.
“I think we can headline that fight at Madison Square Garden (in New York City). By far the biggest fight in women's boxing. We have to do that fight. We have to make that fight because it will be a piece missing in a wonderful career.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox