The Serrano Aftermath and More

MVP Promotions

Amanda Serrano, the unified featherweight champion from Puerto Rico and Brooklyn has propelled females to continue their quest as she has. From this perspective female boxing was put on the map because Serrano in many ways has been the best advocate to do so.

Her popularity is an example. Serrano can fight and draw a crowd, such as the one seen two years ago at Madison Square Garden on a Matchroom boxing card that sold to capacity when she lost a split decision to Katy Taylor for the lightweight titles. That was described as a fight of the year and the biggest women’s fight of all time.

This has become the Amanda Serrano era for female boxing, an advocate for other female fighters who petitioned to compete in three minute, 12-round fights instead of two minute, 10-round limits, a big difference in championship fights. A step up in competition for females that are getting more exposure because Serrano is more than a fighter.

Again, she is good about a sport that thrives in adversity and controversy. Serrano is an advocate and that adds to her popularity. It helps that Jake Paul, the YouTube sensation and pro fighter has Serrano under his Most Valuable Promotions banner.

So there they were last Saturday evening at the Coliseo de Puerto Rico. Paul, a few moments earlier defeated Ryan Bourland in his cruiserweight bout with an early first round stoppage. Anticipation of 18,000 fans waiting for the Serrano homecoming fight with Nina Meinke.

And in the ring comes Serrano not dressed to fight with dark sunglasses, Paul by her side explained there would be no fight because Serrano sustained an eye injury to her cornea and the Puerto Rican Athletic Commission denied her the privilege.

Certainly the right call as a damaged cornea is detrimental to a fighter. It has implications and recently former welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr. sustained a damaged cornea. So has former champion Abnar Mares who fought again once but stayed in the game as an excellent analyst for Showtime Championship Boxing that recently closed shop.

The decision equally affects Nina Meinke and MVP will be paying her fight purse in full. MVP and Amanda would like to apologize to everyone in attendance and the company will provide full refunds for all those seeking it,” was a statement released.

Good and quick response from Paul and MVP as fireworks would have erupted from a crowd on the Island of Puerto Rico that anticipated her homecoming fight. Serrano wanted to fight and petitioned commission officials and doctors. Safety, though of a fighter, is the priority and this was the right call.

Here is what needs to be clarified from Serrano, the commission, and MVP, as much as they tried to provide an explanation. Serrano damaged the cornea a day before weigh-in as she was getting her hair done. On Friday, she was going on her run and a chemical went into her eye.

She wore sunglasses at the weigh-in and knew the fight would be in jeopardy. The commission knew this fight would not be possible. Because Serrano is a tough competitor, and realizing the implications of a sold out crowd would not be appeased if her fight was scrapped a day before, they waited for the moment.

A moment when Serrano could make her statement in the ring and appease her fans including those watching on DAZN, many who subscribe to the streaming service to see her with other top rated boxing talent.

Serrano will heal and return to the ring and we certainly hope so. Meinke will get her opportunity and perhaps against Serrano in San Juan. Fans want to see her homecoming and those requesting refunds will do so, although an injury to a cornea is a tough road towards recovery. I for one had two cornea transplants. Recovery time and more so for a fighter has caution written all over.

The aftermath still warrants some questions leading up to Serrano and Paul making their statements in the ring. The injury occurred Thursday, but from all accounts, the commission knew about the circumstances and allowed her to weigh-in on Friday evening.

A main event was supposedly still in place. Serrano made her plea to continue and appease her fans, a homecoming that drew a record crowd in San Juan. But it came down to the final seconds of main event time. No Serrano ring entrance and Paul the spokesperson to appease the fans.

Who is at fault here? Perhaps the commission for allowing the charade and suspense to continue. Can’t fault Serrano for being a warrior to the end which is part of her boxing demeanor. Regardless, a major blow for Serrano and fans who came to see her.

A blow for boxing? Perhaps because this is nothing new with a sport always surrounded with controversy and adversity. A lesson learned perhaps and not handled properly with the commission. MVP Promotions took a blow also with exception of Paul getting another win over a mediocre fighter.

THROWING THE PUNCHES: Jake Paul claimed he is the best fighter in the world, a claim that can be disputed until he fights superior names. He has called out Ryan Garcia, Terence Crawford, Canelo Alvarez and now he gets 58-year old Mike Tyson, determined yet as an exhibition, (July 20 AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas) to be aired on Netflix. A spectacle for sure and not what boxing needs but as always money talks and could be hazardous for Tyson, though the former heavyweight champion does not resemble a body fit for his age and I am not a proponent of this.

Ryan Garcia says he is off his crazy social media posts and only talking about his April 20 mega fight with Devin Haney at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Though many doubt he will make it to the ring because of cryptic messages leaving questions about his mentality…

And Canelo Alvarez continues to be the boss. In a week, the unified super middleweight champion jumped from DAZN to resuming a one fight deal with the PBC, May 4 in Las Vegas as it’s Alvarez versus Jaime Munguia. Then again Canelo does what he wants because he is the supposed face. David Benavidez moved to light heavyweight so there goes that anticipated fight that Alvarez avoided.

Why oh why do we have to see eight division champion Hall of Famer Manny Pacquiao come out of retirement and face Conor Benn at 147, a fight in the works. Enough of this charade.

Good card of boxing next Friday evening at the Theatre at Madison Square Garden featuring undefeated knockout artist Callum Walsh (9-0, 7 KO’s) of Ireland on St.Patrick’s Day weekend. The undercard has super lightweight Reshat Mati (14-0, 9 KOs), “The Albanian Bear,” from Staten Island.

At press time heavyweight Anthony Joshua looks for the commanding win over former UFC champion Francis Ngannou from Saudi Arabia, the new kings of boxing. Joshua wins and he is headed to a title clash and seeks to become a 3-time champion. Though why does Ngannou, with one pro fight get an immediate top 10 ranking and in the title mix? Well, that’s how boxing works with the alphabet soup organizations.

Rich Mancuso: X (Formerly Twitter) @Ring786 Mancuso

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About the Author

Rich Mancuso

Rich Mancuso is a regular contributor at NY Sports Day, covering countless New York Mets, Yankees, and MLB teams along with some of the greatest boxing matches over the years. He is an award winning sports journalist and previously worked for The Associated Press, New York Daily News, Gannett, and, in a career that spans almost 40 years.

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