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Heather Hardy Vs Amanda Serrano [Vol.I]: Fade To Black

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I’m only biggin’ up my brother

Biggin up my borough

I’m big enough to do it

I’m that thorough–

Plus I know my own flow is foolish

Jay-Z, “What More Can I Say?”, The Black Album

So them rings and things you sing about, bring em out Devin Haney, as the ladies will walk you down a red carpeted aisle and introduce you to the world smile.

But before the new sensation auditions for Madison Ave, les femmes de combat will set the stage in Big Apple style.

Every now and then comes along the potential of a match-up that both captivates and teases the senses. On Tuesday, standing in front of a Madison Square Garden marquee decorated with their images on 7thAve in little black business dresses adorned with championship belts and make-up, I’ve always thought that Heather Hardy Vs Amanda Serrano was such a match-up.

It’s not a throwback but it feels like one. The last time I talked to Amanda she didn’t have a cell phone and you got the sense that she missed her beeper. Heather conjures a more glamorous Hillary Swank from “Million Dollar Baby” with a receipt from hell to prove it. Be part of what will feel like the set of a motion picture on Friday, September 13 at Hulu Theater tucked inside of the world’s most famous arena or watch it on DAZN.

This is the best fight for women’s boxing on the 2019 sweet science schedule, and to see the two beautiful women preening in front of cameras amid honking, old-school yellow taxis just down the street from Times Square, was good for them and a credit to the partnership between Lou DiBella for DiBella Entertainment and Eddie Hearn with Matchroom Boxing. However, it was especially good for Hearn and the suits at DAZN. For the enigmatic streaming platform, which essentially morphed into the beloved and late HBO, the female promotional event came on the heels of scathing criticism regarding its decision to stage Andy Ruiz Jr Vs Anthony Joshua 2 in the maligned Saudi Arabia, a nation responsible for the heinous murder of visiting Washington Post journalist Jamal Kashoggi; ethnically cleansing a tiny and desperate Yemen; and a misogynistic malevolence toward women with a caught-in-the-middle US military backing.

While business is business and Eddie Hearn and company can do whatever the hell they want, there is such a thing as alienating female journalists via association and pissing off a segment of the Latino fan base – a community that spans ethnicity due to a common solidarity in cultural bonding. With boxing now taking on the profile of a professional Olympics brand, this fight – which looks to be a stylistic barn burner for Brooklyn bragging rights – has the simultaneous feel of a gold medal bout between the USA and Puerto Rico for pride and glory. It’s also not without its share of controversy, mainly, centered around Amanda Serrano (36-1-1, 27KOs), and a lingering Katie Taylor problem.

I watched “The Real Deal” go a vintage 140lb Evander Holyfield, Latina style, looking strong throughout a gritty UD over Yamila Reynoso to capture the WBO super lightweight title, her amazing 6th in as many divisions. This was on the undercard of “Showtime” Shawn Porter Vs Danny “Swift” Garcia at Barclays Center last September 8, 2018. Shortly thereafter, right around her 30th birthday in October 2018, Serrano signed a three-fight deal with DAZN, with many expecting that would culminate in a megabout with Taylor in 2019. But then the oddest thing I’ve ever witnessed in boxing – male or female – occurred, as Amanda went down to 115lbs to go for and get a 7th world title in as many divisions at Hulu Theater, where I watched her bounce Eva Voraberger in just 0:35 seconds to snag the WBO super flyweight title on a card headlined by Demetrius Andrade this past January 18, her first under DAZN. It baffled the hell out of me then – and frankly, right now. Manny Pacquiao was set to face Adrien Broner the next day in Las Vegas, and all I could think about was a 30 year-old “Pac-Man” bludgeoning Ricky Hatton, and then, instead of going on to face Miguel Cotto, a fighter many felt he could not defeat, he went down to 115lbs to face… Vic Darchinyan? Floyd Mayweather would’ve turned into George Jefferson while telling the world, ‘See, I told you something was wrong with that little motherf*****!’, and we would’ve had to listen with a lot less doubt.

This is just me, but if I’m the “Real Deal” and I really want it with Taylor, who’s a monster (not a Naoya Inoue “Monster”, who just might be fucking Godzilla), I would’ve dropped down to face a brick shithouse in then WBO lightweight champion Rose Volante. Afterall, as a WBO “super” champion, she’s afforded the privilege to face any WBO champion within her grasp. But she passed on Volante, only to watch Taylor, the current undisputed lightweight champion, chop down and mug Volante via 9th round stoppage in March.***

Prior to that, she watched her grind out a tough MD win over a previously unbeaten and 43-0 world champion in Delfine Persoon, far and away tougher than anyone on Amanda’s resume in a certain Hall of Fame career. I said all of that to say – to all of you who keep talking about a Serrano Vs Taylor fight, it ain’t gonna happen.

Women do think about their bodies post boxing (duh), and I think she went all the way down to 115lbs to make the best  financial decision and with a physical means to an end (again, my opinion) – she didn’t need it with Volante and she damn sure doesn’t want it with Taylor. I could be wrong, but I don’t think so.

Let that fight talk Fade to Black.

But she is a legend, and she does want it with longtime friend, the single mom and stablemate Heather Hardy (22-0, 4KOs), one of the most compelling and charismatic fixtures in the history of women’s boxing. Having now turned a youthful 37, “The Heat” is still an unbeaten WBO featherweight world champion full of moxy and no stranger to pulling off the improbable on the big stage. A true pioneer of the game, no woman has done more to advance the cause of women, or shine a light on the glaring inequality ladies face in prizefighting than Heather has.

Stylish, outspoken and pugnaciously charmed in character, much of the reason behind this fight taking place is due to boxing’s unofficially acknowledged debt it owes both Hardy and Serrano, for forcing them into MMA disciplines for money they were unable to earn in boxing; despite contributing greatly to numerous successful promotions involving men of lesser drawing power. Though boxing by and large failed to produce the type of major network promotions that made Ronda Rousey a global star, near their zenith, DAZN will most likely own the rights to an instant classic in Hardy Vs Serrano, as the two friends head for the twilight underneath a midnight sun.

**NOTE: We received this response from the Serrano Twitter account, Friday afternoon, and this offered clarification regarding Serrano and Volante (see below)

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About John Gatling

John Gatling

Senior correspondent for NY Fights and author of upcoming book, "The Fist Club." Conscious indie recording artist "T@z" and humanist advocate for the Green Party.

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