The legend of Katie Taylor grows.
The Irish icon overcame harrowing adversity in the middle rounds to defeat Amanda Serrano by a split decision to retain her undisputed lightweight championship Saturday before a sell-out crowd at Madison Square Garden in New York.
Just as important for the women’s side of boxing, the highly hyped bout lived up to expectations.
Taylor (21-0, 6 KOs) got off to a strong start by sticking and moving in the first few rounds, which made it difficult for the more aggressive Serrano (42-2-1, 30 KOs).
However, Taylor stood her ground in the middle rounds, which didn’t work out well for her.
Serrano had a huge fifth round, in which the Brooklyn product landed dozens of hard, damaging punches to both the head and body and seemed to have Taylor on the brink of being knocked out.
Perhaps Serrano expended too much energy in that round because she took her foot off the gas in Round 6, which allowed Taylor to regroup and turn the momentum in her favor.
Taylor went back to sticking and moving from then on, which allowed her to control the second half of the fight.
The two gave the fans a 10th round they’ll never forget, as they winged punches toe-to-toe in a last-minute bid to either win the round or score a knockout. However, it had no impact on the decision.
Two judges scored it for Taylor, 97-93 and 96-93. One had it for Serrano, 96-94. Boxing Junkie, which gave Serrano a 10-8 fifth round, had Taylor winning 95-94.