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Boxing Results, Conclusions: Katie Taylor, Amanda Serrano Exceed Expectations; Shakur Stevenson announces himself

With a pair of stellar fights on opposite sides of the country, the sport of boxing took center stage in the United States on Saturday, including the biggest women’s bout in history.

Undisputed lightweight champion Katie Taylor (21-0, 6 KOs) edged seven-division champion Amanda Serrano (42-2-1, 30 KOs) by split decision in a fight of the year contender at Madison Square Garden of New York. Meanwhile, in Las Vegas, Shakur Stevenson (18-0, 9 KOs) surgically dismantled Oscar Valdez (30-1, 23 KOs) to unify the 130-pound titles in a battle of undefeated junior lightweight champions.

Let’s take a closer look at the biggest takeaways from a wild night of fighting.

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1. Somehow and someway, Taylor-Serrano exceeded expectations

In the first women’s combat sports main event in the 140-year history of “The World’s Most Famous Arena” in midtown Manhattan, Taylor and Serrano went above and beyond to elevate their sport. This matchup between the two best pound-for-pound fighters in the game was a slick war with dramatic swings of momentum. But she was also free from trash talk and some of the excesses often associated with boxing. Even with a disputed result from the divided trio of judges at ringside, both fighters showed nothing but class and humility as they praised each other after the fight. Even better, everyone associated with this instant classic, including promoters Eddie Hearn and Jake Paul, showed an immediate desire to race it back (possibly to Taylor’s native Ireland). Despite the hype and pressure, both Taylor and Serrano refused to back down from a slick and wild display of their future Hall of Fame talent. This was a special night that will not soon be forgotten and the sold-out crowd of over 19,000 produced one of the most electric atmospheres for a big fight this country has seen in years.

2. Whatever the Taylor-Serrano score, you were probably right.

No, seriously, the fight really was that close. If ever there was a women’s boxing match that deserved the same rules as men when it comes to three-minute rounds and 12-round title fights, this was it. Instead, the two-minute round setup was meant to create a potential scoring controversy if there were no knockdowns. Fortunately, in this case, the split decision end result was anything but a steal. With the exception of a dominant Round 5, in which Serrano routinely hurt Taylor, there was enough two-way action in each remaining stanza that he would have gone either way. In the end, the judges preferred Taylor’s counter-punching combinations to Serrano’s harder individual punches in the big moments. However, to illustrate just how close this fight really was, Serrano outscored Taylor by a margin of 173-147, according to CompuBox, but it was Taylor who was far more accurate landing 39% of his total punches and nearly 47% of his total punches. his power shots. . The fight could have gone either way and he instantly demanded a rematch. There’s no reason this incredible rivalry couldn’t end up being a trilogy, when all is said and done.

3. Taylor showed the heart of a lion

Despite not being the bigger puncher of the two, the 35-year-old Taylor showed a mad heart to survive being nearly knocked out in round 5 and stubbornly refused to walk away. Not only did Taylor look at his feet at least twice during the gut-wrenching round, but it was the onslaught he unleashed in the next round to hold his own and land the bigger, cleaner punches in the sixth round that could have won him the fight. . Taylor refused to allow Serrano to develop sustained momentum, even with a cut over his right eye and blood pouring from his nose. With both fighters’ raucous fan bases from the Irish and Puerto Rican communities cheering them on, Taylor needed all of his determination to pull off the biggest win of his career. This was a classic fight that demanded a performance of old-school toughness to get the job done.

4. The next big boxing star has arrived

Shakur Stevenson, the 24-year-old southpaw, put on nothing short of a punching masterclass and didn’t get hit as he blew out Valdez in a unanimous decision that included a round 6 knockdown. can. , Stevenson was sharp and quick enough to land just about anything he wanted against Valdez, leaving the Mexican warrior’s face cut and stained afterward. It’s rare when a boxer is compared to someone as clinical as Hall of Famer Floyd Mayweather, but Stevenson really deserves the mention in this case. He controlled the distance with ease against Valdez and armed him with combination after combination. Not only will Stevenson be a fixture in the top 10 on nearly every pound-for-pound list going forward, but it’s not out of the question to wonder how soon it will be before he grabs the top spot. The 2016 Olympic silver medalist is a champion in two divisions and appears to have the speed, IQ and technique to eventually climb as high as welterweight when all is said and done.

5. Danos Stevenson vs. Vasiliy Lomachenko

Talk about a superfight in the making. Lomachenko, who won titles in three divisions after an amateur career that produced a pair of Olympic gold medals, can still make 130 pounds with ease despite fighting at lightweight in recent years. Though he chose not to get a chance to fight unified 135-pound champion George Kambosos Jr. in order to suit up on the front lines of his native Ukraine during its current conflict with Russia, Lomachenko, 34, still finds himself ranked among the better P4P. A fight against Stevenson, regardless of which division it takes place in, has high-speed chess in the book and could become the passing of the magician’s torch from one generation to the next.

CBS Sports was with you all the way on Saturday for both events, so be sure to follow the live results and highlights below.

Results, highlights