CLEVELAND – Amanda Serrano sincerely appreciates the platform she has been afforded Sunday night.
One of women’s boxing’s best, pound-for-pound, will make a career-high purse for her featherweight title defense against Yamelith Mercado. Jake Paul, who’ll fight former UFC welterweight champ Tyron Woodley in the main event, also insisted that Serrano’s bout be elevated to co-feature status as part of Showtime Pay-Per-View’s telecast from Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.
Serrano sees this 10-round, 126-pound championship bout not only as an opportunity to broaden her fan base, but that of women’s boxing in general.
“I hope that people can, you know, acknowledge that women are here and we’re champions as well, we work just as hard,” Serrano stated during a press conference Thursday at the Hilton hotel. “I hope that we can steal some of Jake Paul’s fans and some of the young viewers, to see that women’s boxing is awesome, too. And yeah, I wanna thank Yamileth for taking the fight, but she’s not winning.”
Mexico’s Mercado (18-2, 5 KOs) is the WBC super bantamweight champion, but she has moved up one weight class to challenge Brooklyn’s Serrano (40-1-1, 30 KOs) for the Puerto Rican southpaw’s WBC and WBO featherweight titles.
“Listen, these are my babies, my only babies that I have,” Serrano said in reference to her championship belts. “And it’s gonna be very, very hard for her to beat me, for her to take these back to Mexico. She’s gonna go home empty-handed.”
The 32-year-old Serrano, who has won world titles in seven weight classes, is listed as a 20-1 favorite by the William Hill sports book to beat Mercado.
The 23-year-old Mercado has made two defenses of her WBC 122-pound crown. She also has won six straight bouts since she lost a 10-round split decision to Kenya’s Fatuma Zarika (33-13-2, 17 KOs), who Mercado defeated by unanimous decision in their 10-round rematch in November 2019 to win her WBC belt.
“Yes, I’m coming up in weight, but in [the super bantamweight division] I am one of the biggest fighters,” Mercado said, according to a translator. “So, I am very well-prepared, I feel very strong, and I’m pretty sure I’m gonna win on Sunday, and prove that we’re up to the challenge and that we are not as weak as some people have commented before.”
Serrano-Mercado will be the fourth of five fights broadcast Sunday night. The pay-per-view show is scheduled to start at 8 p.m. EDT and costs $59.99.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.