THE fight between Katie Taylor and Amanda Serrano has drawn US media attention.
Everyone from ESPN to CNN wants a piece of the action. Applications for media accreditations outstripped applications for next weekend’s fight in Las Vegas featuring world’s top pound-for-pound fighter Canelo Alvarez.
They all want to witness history as the two best pound-for-pound fighters in the world take the lead in New York’s Madison Square Garden, which is synonymous with boxing pageantry.
The nearby Empire State Building will light up in the flag colors of Ireland and Puerto Rico.
Losing Democratic presidential nominee Hilary Clinton held what everyone believed to be her victory event in 2016 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in Manhattan. Most of the Javits Center is constructed of glass.
It should have been a strong symbolic gesture: Clinton breaks the glass ceiling and becomes the first female President of the United States. Instead, it was a wake.
Taylor and Serrano will break the symbolic glass ceiling in boxing tomorrow night.
The couple guest-starred on NBC’s flagship morning show, The Today Show, on Tuesday. It was Taylor’s offhand comment about beating her body into submission each week that caught the presenters’ attention.
The first recognized world boxing champion was Englishwoman Barbara Buttrick, who won her title in 1957. She was also the first female boxer whose fight was shown on national television.
But it was a fight against the odds of women’s boxing gaining traction in the media. There was a brief period in the 1980s when the exploits of the “Coalminer’s Daughter”, Christy Martin, brought the sport to a wider audience.
She was the only boxer to make the cover of Sports Illustrated. What are the odds of the winner of Saturday’s fight finishing second?
US promoters Don King and Bob Arum briefly interfered in the fight, with the latter paying Laila Ali a then-record $600,000 for a fight. She was the daughter of Muhammad Ali which meant she was more marketable. But interest waned again. Then Katie Taylor changed everything.
The role Taylor played in changing the face of women’s boxing cannot be overstated. She played a pivotal role in convincing the International Olympic Committee to include women’s boxing in the 2012 Games. There will be an equal number of male and female boxers at the next Paris Olympics.
Taylor was the first professional fighter to make a decent living from the sport. Her exploits helped sell the sport.
As Amanda Serrano pointed out on the Today Show, the fact that Madison Square Garden will sell out with the support of 4,000 fans from Ireland proves there is a market for women’s boxing.
There are downsides; Women’s boxing is still in its infancy in terms of participant numbers, and it’s undecided whether female fighters will suffer from similar long-term health problems that have afflicted so many male boxers.
But Tris Dixon’s chilling book Damage, the untold story of brain trauma in boxing was a grim reminder that the sport is inherently dangerous.
And just because Madison Square Garden will be packed tomorrow night and media interest in the fight is overwhelming, doesn’t mean that women’s boxing has burst into the American public consciousness.
Amanda Serrano, her trainer Jordan Maldonado and a burly bodyguard walked a few blocks down Broadway after leaving a reception at a Times Square hotel on Tuesday. Not a single person recognized her.
Saturday’s historic fight in MSG is the beginning rather than the end of the journey for the pro fighters.
https://www.independent.ie/sport/other-sports/boxing/a-green-empire-state-building-the-today-show-and-a-sold-out-msg-how-katie-taylor-is-taking-america-by-storm-41601092.html A green Empire State Building, the Today Show and a sold-out MSG – how Katie Taylor is taking America by storm