Tuesday, March 21, 2023  |


Amanda Serrano outboxes Yazmin Rivas to defend title


Amanda Serrano, bidding to be the rising tide that lifts all ships, wanting to give a grand account of herself to raise the profile of women’s boxing, tangled with Yazmin Rivas of Mexico at Barclays Center on Saturday.

She wanted to take out Rivas, give the masses their pound of flesh, but her foe wasn’t cooperative. Midway through, Serrano realized Rivas had a solid beard. So Serrano clicked into boxing gear, stayed smart and busy and while she didn’t blow them away with a grandiose exhibition of controlled violence, she earned the judges’ love; Serrano got a UD 10: 97-93, 98-92, 99-91.

Repping Brooklyn and Puerto Rico, Serrano promised that she’d do her best to prove to doubters that the women could bring the entertainment, and that women’s boxing should get a piece of what the ladies enjoy in MMA.

The WBO junior feather champ Serrano came in with a 30-1-1 mark and Rivas was 35-9-1.

In the first, the lefty-stance Serrano came out winging right away. Her left to the body was nasty. She was the aggressor as Rivas hurled left hooks, used her legs, and knew not to stand her ground or she’d risk being dropped and stopped. In the second, more power from Serrano. Jabs, lead hooks, lefts underneath, constant aggression from BK. Rivas fought off her back foot, gamely. To the third … fast and hard hands came from Serrano, whose sister Cindy, the elder, also holds a crown. Rivas was busy from the start, led more, threw more combos, had a solid round.

To the fourth … more Serrano as the aggressor, more forward movement, more body work investiture. Same in fifth — this was a steady-as-she-goes showing, very consistent and focused from the PR-born hitter. To 6 … Rivas was not winded from eating body shots, a credit to her durability. Serrano moved more, looked to freshen up the angles some, to maybe lure Rivas into getting off balance, get her with a shot she didn’t see. In Round 7, we saw Serrano back up more, shift it up again. She was moving, boxing, being smart, understanding now she’d not blow Rivas away with power.

In the eighth, more smart boxing from sis Serrano. To 9 … Rivas pressed, still with wind, bless her. In Round 10, they both stepped it up. There was trading, and Serrano especially wanted to close hard for the locals. They traded for a spell at the close and the crowd told them they appreciated it. To the cards we’d go…

Serrano is 27, while Rivas is listed at 28, though she debuted as a pro in 2001, and that would have made her 13 then, so only her mom’s delivery doc knows for sure.