Report by Michael Dorgan at Madison Square Garden
Katie Taylor has no plans to retire and wants to lace up her gloves in a rematch against Amanda Serrano at Croke Park.
Taylor, 35, overcame a war of attrition with her Puerto Rican rival Saturday to retain her undisputed world lightweight titles as the “biggest fight in women’s boxing history” lived up to its billing – with Taylor coming out on the right side of a somewhat contentious split decision.
Last night’s monumental clash, where Taylor came back from the brink of defeat, paves the way for the two sporting icons to lock horns once again.
“I have no plans of retiring now, I love my sport, I love fighting, I just want to keep making history, I just want to keep doing what I’m doing,” 35-year-old Taylor said at the post match press conference.
“A rematch would be absolutely phenomenal. If it was in Dublin, we could sell out Croke Park, if you think the atmosphere was special here tonight, imagine the rematch in front of 80,000 people in Croke Park. Absolutely amazing.”
Eddie Hearn, Taylor’s promoter in all of her 21 professional wins, appeared in agreement with the Bray woman.
“That felt like Croke Park there tonight, it was absolutely incredible,” said Englishman Hearn, who incidentally walked to the ring behind Taylor with a tricolour draped around his neck.
“I am not sure we will get as many travelling Puerto Ricans but it has always been on our minds and it would feel a big shame if she didn’t get to fight in Ireland during her career. If we could do that, back-end of the summer,” said Hearn.
Although he quipped that the operators of the “Garden” were pleading with him to bring the fight back to the famed arena given the raucous atmosphere the near capacity 19,187-crowd stirred up.
Serrano claimed post fight that she couldn’t even hear her corner’s instructions given the noise levels.
Reflecting on her Lazurus-like revival after a fifth-round beat down – where Taylor appeared to be out on her feet – the 2012 Olympic gold medallist said it was a career topping performance.
Katie Taylor- 'I had to dig deep'
“I wasn’t sure if anything could reach my Olympic gold medal moment, [tonight] was absolutely the best moment in my career,’ said Taylor.
“I had to dig deep there tonight, I had to produce a career defining performance to actually win.”
Speaking about surviving the fifth round, Taylor blamed herself for letting her guard down.
"I don't think she did anything differently [in the fifth]. I just probably stood there a bit too long myself and just made it a bit of a tear up as I always do unfortunately.
"I think I was boxing very, very well in the early rounds and I just got stuck in a fight with her but I can't say she did anything differently. I just love a tear up every now and then."
Nevertheless, Taylor dug deep with all three judges giving her the final three rounds in this epic battle.
“We definitely got the best out of each other there tonight that’s for sure.”
“Just walking out to the ring today just looking at a packed stadium, it was unbelievable. It was an absolutely special, special moment.”
“Everyone was talking coming into this fight it was going to be the biggest fight in women’s boxing history but I actually think it exceeded [it].
Hearn appeared to even go one step further.
“What you witnessed was one of the greatest fights I believe in the history of Madison Square Garden and both women deserve so much credit,” said Hearn, no doubt cognisant of the Ali v Frazier “fight of the century” at the arena in 1971.
“And I think now to be honest is the night we stop talking about women’s and men’s boxing because that one of the best fights I ever witnessed.”
Still, for all the lofty praises, the fight could have went either way with Jake Paul – the YouTube star turned nascent boxer turned Serrano promoter -- tweeting out “robbed” after the fight.
Amanda Serrano would have been well within her rights to have felt aggrieved in the outcome. In fact, in Taylor’s last fight at the Garden three years ago, her opponent Delfine Persoon bolted for the exit doors in disgust for being edged out in similar fashion.
Not so Amanda Serrano. The Puerto Rican was magnanimous and gracious in defeat, embracing her conqueror seconds after the scorecards were read aloud.
“Katie’s a great champion, she’s undefeated, she’s undisputed champion but I’m truly honoured to have shared the ring with you,” Serrano said to Taylor during an in-ring interview.
“That’s why she’s the best, you don’t see that much.”
“Look at this crowd, women can sell, women can fight, and we put on a hell of a show."