Amanda “Real Deal” Serrano Punches Way to Fifth Title in Fifth Division
By J.P. Yim and David A. Avila
BROOKLYN, New York-Amanda “Real Deal” Serrano cruised to victory by technical knockout of Dahiana Santana to win a fifth world title in a fifth weight division on Saturday.
She made it look easy.
“It was the greatest feeling ever,” said Serrano. “Becoming the first Puerto Rican or female to win a world title in five divisions is unexplainable.”
The Boricua southpaw Serrano (32-1-1, 24 Kos) steamrolled the Dominicana Santana (35-8, 14 Kos) in winning the vacant WBO bantamweight title despite a severe weight discrepancy. It did not matter as a televised national audience and the more than 9,000 fans at Barclays Center saw history made emphatically.
If fans expected a Puerto Rico versus Dominican Republic war that was not to be.
An extremely focused Serrano zeroed in on the scampering Santana with precise counters every time the Dominican dared punch. As Santana scooted toward her left the left-handed Serrano was cocked and ready with her hair-trigger counters that came quick and sharp.
“She didn’t come to fight,” said Serrano, 28.
A day earlier Santana, a former featherweight world champion, did not come close to making the contracted 118-pound weight limit. Instead, she weighed 122 pounds. That weight advantage did not help one bit.
For three rounds Serrano tailed the fast-moving Serrano around the ring and stayed within the kill zone. The Puerto Rican belted Santana to the body with shots that proved effective immediately.
Santana decided to stand and fight in the fourth round, perhaps after the belly busting shots Serrano landed in the previous rounds. It turned out to be the best round of the fight as both exchanged freely. Santana connected with a clean right cross that snapped Serrano’s head back. Serrano barely blinked and unleashed a combination that clearly hurt the Dominicana and that ended the exchanges and the round.
Once again Santana decided it was better to run and fire pot shots then stand and absorb more punishing blows from the Boricua.
Serrano began closing the distance and pounded the body and head with quick combinations. After the fifth round it looked like Santana was ready to retire in her corner but she decided to continue. It was a brave but futile decision.
The crowd sensed that the end was near and the noise volume moved up a few notches after every Serrano blow landed. She was on a mission and nothing short of an atom bomb was going to stop her from her target. Santana must have looked like a bull’s eye to the fast attacking Serrano.
In the eighth round Serrano seemed to be even quicker to the trigger and Santana looked like a swimmer drowning after eating too much during lunch. Serrano unleashed blows up and down the Dominican’s body and head. She looked like she wanted to hide or turn her back. Referee Benjy Estevez wisely moved in to stop a slaughter at 1:18 of the eighth round for a technical knockout.
The crowd loudly cheered the moment.
Serrano’s team erupted with glee especially after the severe weight disadvantage gave Santana a decided handicap.
“I was literally a bantamweight fighting a super bantamweight,” said Serrano knowing that televised fights are rare for women and did not want to lose the opportunity. “We got it approved not to lose the fight.”
After the fight ended Santana allegedly claimed to others that she had not fought in four years and only had three weeks to prepare. It further irked Serrano.
“She was told almost two months ago and agreed to it, signed the contract then did not make the weight,” Serrano said of Santana. “I’m really disappointed in her as an athlete.”
None of it matter as Serrano won another title and by another knockout.
“Every title I’ve ever won was by KO in any of the weights (divisions) I fight in,” said Serrano. “I’m a true hard hitter not a pillow puncher.”
Now the brunette Boricua owns five world titles in five weight divisions including super bantamweight, featherweight, super featherweight and lightweight.
“I’m in a total state of blankness,” Serrano said. “I keep pinching myself to make sure it was real.”
Brooklyn has a real deal super star.
(Photo by JP Yim)