NEW YORK - At a time when he deserves to take a victory lap, Jake Paul couldn’t be happier with his unfamiliar role of simply being along for the ride.
The online influencer and boxing cruiserweight novice played a significant role in helping finalize an historic championship fight on tap this weekend. Paul’s Most Valuable Promotions (MVP) took the lead in negotiating on behalf of seven-division titlist Amanda Serrano in her forthcoming challenge of two-division and reigning, undisputed lightweight champion Katie Taylor. Both boxers will make seven-figure paydays for the first-ever female boxing fight to headline at Madison Square Garden in New York City (Saturday, DAZN, 7:30 p.m. ET).
“Amanda has accomplished so much,” Paul told BoxingScene.com. “She deserves to be rewarded. I’m excited to be Promoter Paul while she gets to be put on a pedestal. She’s a superstar who has committed her life to boxing. She doesn’t have a phone, meanwhile I’m posting TikToks all the time.
“Now it’s time to show the commitment she has made and how important women’s boxing is.”
Paul (5-0, 4KOs) put on his corporate hat to work out terms with Matchroom Sport chairman Eddie Hearn, Taylor’s career-long promoter, for a fight that was considered dead at the negotiating table.
Taylor (20-0, 6KOs) and Serrano (42-1-1, 30KOs) were previously due to meet two years ago—nearly to the day of Saturday’s main event—in Manchester, England, only for the initial wave of the global pandemic to shut down those plans. Efforts to reschedule led to a very public and ugly disagreement over terms which ultimately killed the fight.
Hope of the fight making its way back to the forefront resurrected last summer, shortly after Serrano—a Puerto Rican southpaw based out of the Bushwick section of Brooklyn, New York—signed as MVP’s first athlete. Their first official fight together came last December 18, when Serrano appeared as the co-feature for the second straight time on a Showtime Pay-Per-View headlined by Paul, with both posting wins in Tampa, Florida.
Serrano went into the fight with the knowledge that a win would very likely next lead to a superfight with Taylor. The current unified featherweight titlist did just that, moving up to lightweight to dominate Spain’s Miriam Gutierrez over ten rounds. Gutierrez’s lone other loss came in a November 2020 title bid versus Taylor, who was coming off a ten-round decision win over mandatory challenger Firuza Sharipova one week prior to Serrano-Gutierrez.
The latest round of negotiations for the fight went smooth, with Serrano now due to earn more than three times above the payday she would have earned had they fought in 2020. A win by Serrano will make her the first-ever Puerto Rican boxer—male or female—to earn undisputed championship status in the multi-belt era. No other fighter was an option for Serrano following her last win, with Paul and business partner Nakisa Bidarian clear on the importance of closing the deal.
“Amanda is a superstar and one of the greatest fighters of all time,” Paul said. “Honestly, we just clicked from day one. She told me how much she was getting paid for her fights, and I thought it was crazy how little she was getting.
“She’s an incredible fighter. She just needed help and guidance and I’m honored to play that role.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox