In April 2022, Amanda Serrano and Katie Taylor made history by main eventing Madison Square Garden, a first for women’s boxing. Serrano will look to make history again when she faces Erika Cruz for undisputed featherweight gold on February 4.
The fight between Serrano and Cruz takes place inside MSG’s Hulu Theater.
If Serrano, the WBC, WBO, IBO, IBF, and The Ring champion, beats WBA champion Cruz, she would become the first Puerto Rican fighter to become an undisputed champion. If Cruz wins, she continues a long-standing tradition of dominant champions from Mexico.
A seven-division champion, New York’s Serrano is ready to potentially make history in front of family and friends.
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“I said let’s go for it,” Serrano told ESPN about her desire to represent Puerto Rico as an undisputed champion. “We’ve had champions in every [men’s] division. [I am] a seven-division world champion, had [the youngest] champion ever [Wilfred Benitez, 16]. So I wanted to give that to my island and give them an undisputed champion.”
Cruz has defended the WBA title twice since winning it against Jelena Mrdjenovich in 2021. A silver medalist in the 2011 Pan American Games, Cruz turned pro five years later. The fight between Serrano and Cruz took a while to put together. Cruz is not concerned about the timing, only the result.
The 32-year-old from Mexico City is ready to bring her rivalry with Serrano to the ring, where their fists will do the talking. In fact, she believes she can outlast Serrano and her knockout power.
“I admire Amanda Serrano, but I don’t shrink. In my mind and in my heart I know that I trained to beat her and I will leave no doubts,” Cruz told Efe, via The San Diego Union-Tribune. “I am in my best moment as a professional, and I will give everything in a fight that should be intense; I can almost guarantee that it will go to 10 rounds and it will be decided by decision, hopefully in our favor. I prepared myself for ten intense rounds.”
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Who will walk out of Madison Square Garden as the undisputed featherweight champion? The Sporting News is here to give some insight on how to bet on this title fight.
Amanda Serrano vs. Erika Cruz odds
Per Bet MGM, Serrano is the -450 favorite, while Cruz is the +350 underdog.
Per Caesars, Serrano is the -575 favorite, while Cruz is the +425 underdog.
In Canada, per Sports Interaction, Serrano is the -714 favorite, while Cruz is the +400 underdog.
Amanda Serrano vs. Erika Cruz prediction, best bets
It is southpaw vs. southpaw, pitting two patient and hard-hitting strikers against one another. Will Serrano’s 30 wins via knockout (a 70% stoppage mark) make a difference against Cruz’s nearly 20% mark (three wins via knockout)?
It is Serrano’s volume of shots that can help put away her opponent. Having a 1-inch+ reach advantage against Cruz will help her cause.
Serrano outlanded Miriam Gutierrez in 2019, landing 119 shots compared to 69. According to CompuBox, Serrano landed 160 shots against Yamileth Mercado (95). What she was able to do against Katie Taylor had people talking.
In their 2022 Fight of the Year, Serrano landed 173 of 624 shots (a 27.7% connect rate). That was the most by any Taylor opponent. About 171 of those shots were power punches, with 44 shots landing in round five and 19 in round six.
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Serrano never lets up, which can benefit her. She attacks the body and face of her opponents, landing with such precision that her shots can result in major damage as the fight progresses.
It can also be a detracting factor. Serrano can either take you out right away, or, after a flurry of shots, cause the fight to last longer than needed. Cruz is calculating and can be patient when it comes to her bouts. By letting Serrano blow some steam, Cruz can tire her out and take advantage. Cruz is also known for playing it close to the vest. That can result in her pushing her opponent to attempt to adapt, which is often difficult for them.
It is possible that Serrano can end the fight with one punch, which has happened several times. Fourteen of Serrano’s wins have ended in the first round. If Serrano can push forward, not falter, and work past Cruz’s defense, the path to glory is not far behind. It really is a case of boxer vs. power puncher, but don’t count out either women’s overall skills.
With a win over Cruz, Serrano can attempt to become a two-division undisputed champion if she faces and beats Taylor in a rematch. Do you think that is enough motivation for “The Real Deal” in this fight? The Sporting News believes so!
Sporting News prediction: Serrano via KO (round six)