Amanda Serrano Says Goodbye for Now
By Felipe Leon
For years boxing in general has become a niche sport in the United States. With the rise of the National Football League and the decline of the fan’s trust in the sport, professional boxing although alive and kicking in the rest of the world is relegated to second-class citizen status in this country.
It looks to be in an upswing with a great 2017 as far as action and with ESPN, the biggest sports network in the world, jumping on the wagon with their deal with Top Rank to bring big meaningful fights to their airwaves but if boxing in general is a niche, female boxing is a sub-culture of that.
With the airtime and thus the pay nowhere close to their male counterparts, female boxers for the most part fight for the love of the sport.
One that has had enough and will now look for greener pastures is none other than multi-divisional world champion Amanda Serrano (33-1-1, 25KO) of Brooklyn, New York, by way of Puerto Rico, who will be making the jump to mixed martial arts in the upcoming year.
Serrano has been alluding to the fact for over a year now but recently she made her announcement on the 2-Minute Round, the all-female boxing podcast, in an exclusive interview.
“As of right now I am not 100-percent leaving boxing,” the 29-year-old Serrano told co-host David Avila. “I love boxing; I have been in boxing for over ten years. I have pretty much accomplished everything in boxing. I am definitely going to MMA next year, in 2018; I will be making my debut. I am having talks with a great promotional company. I can’t speak of that yet but after this fight I can announce who I will be signing with. Come next year I will be moving to MMA. If I am not doing anything in MMA and there is a boxing fight for a title then I would pick up the offer but I have been training for about two years now for MMA.”
Serrano recently signed with MMA fighter Miesha Tate as one of her co-managers and along with Maldonado who is staying as part of her new training team, she has added an array of new trainers to help her navigate the mixed martial arts seas.
The five-divisional world champion is not the first to make the move to MMA. Recently Heather Hardy and Ana Julaton have jumped to mixed martial arts with mixed success while following the footsteps of Holly Holm who reached the top tier of the sport when she defeated Ronda Rousey in a PPV main event for the UFC in late 2015.
“The recognition women get for fighting is so much better,” Serrano mentioned as one of the reasons why she is making the move to MMA. “So much better opportunities, we are working harder but it is so much better for the females. We get sponsors, we get endorsements. I am making my debut and I will be making more money than what I get for defending or winning a new title in boxing. What am I still doing here? I love the sport but it is just not giving me back what I need. They (MMA) really look after their female athletes. That is pretty much why I am moving.”
Serrano vs Hernandez at Barclays
The current WBO super-bantamweight champion is slated to fight in perhaps her last boxing match in the near future this upcoming Saturday night on the undercard of the WBC’s heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder versus Bermane Stiverne. Serrano will be facing Dominican Republic’s Marilyn Hernandez (26-10, 17KO) in a scheduled non-title eight rounder in the 122-pound division.
“I don’t know much about her, I’m not the type of fighter who researches my opponents, I have my team that does that for me,” Serrano explained. “I just fight. I go in there and Jordan (Maldonado), my trainer, tells me the game plan and I perfect it that night in the ring. I know she is tough, a Latina like me, a veteran of thirty-six fights I believe and that is pretty much it. All I need to know is that she is a girl, she has hands and legs and it’s good to go.”
Serrano would have liked for this last fight in boxing to be a much bigger one or at least a more meaningful occasion but like many things in boxing it just didn’t pan out.
“I wanted to leave the sport with a big hurrah. It is going to be a bittersweet day. Hopefully I am going to go out there and stop this girl and I want to leave MMA the same way as boxing. That is my mindset. I am going to go out and give it my all, give the fans what they are looking for and then continue to work on MMA. I am always open if a good fight comes along but I am going to give my all to MMA.”
Recently there were talks for Serrano to challenge for the WBO super lightweight title this Saturday night against champion Ana Laura Esteche (13-4-3, 2KO) but it seems like again there wasn’t enough in the purse for the South American to make the trek north with her belt.
Serrano doesn’t have much regrets regarding her boxing career mentioning she would have loved to unify the super bantamweight or featherweight divisions but it all came down to economics.
“The money is not there so we can’t make these great fights. The networks, the promoters, they are not offering what these girls want to hear so it is not going to happen.”
Despite making the move to the cage, Serrano’s boxing promoter Lou DiBella has kept the door open for Serrano’s return whenever she feels ready to do so.
“He is an open book, he is great guy,” Serrano said of the veteran promoter. “He has helped me out with the last couple of division fights. He is a real advocate for female boxing but he is only one person. He needs the networks to get behind him. He has done a great job getting me on Showtime Extreme. I am thankful and I am blessed to have him by my side and on my team. He is definitely open for me to coming back and for me to go to MMA.”
What would it take for Serrano to come back to boxing?
“I don’t think there is anything that will bring me back,” she says with an audible smile. “I have been doing it for ten years and I am just looking for something new, something different. I have been enjoying my transition to MMA. I have a great team. I am just excited. I feel like when I started boxing, like a little kid in a candy store. We didn’t make anything in boxing; it was maddening, fights falling out. It is always going to be my #1 love but I think I found a new love.”
To listen to the full interview, please visit BlogtalkRadio.com/2MinRound
(Photo By JP Yim)