Closing Shot: The Stage Is Set
Promoters aim for a sellout at Madison Square Garden as Katie Taylor and Amanda Serrano take to the ring and provide a major moment for women’s boxing.
Matchroom Boxing’s Eddie Hearn (left), fighters Katie Taylor and Amanda Serrano, and Most Valuable Promotions’ Jake Paul have given women’s boxing the spotlight.getty images
Heading into what may be the biggest women’s boxing match ever this Saturday at Madison Square Garden, organizers are reporting strong ticket sales and sponsorship.
The fight will pit the No. 1 pound-for-pound female boxer in the world in Katie Taylor of Ireland versus the No. 2 in the world in Amanda Serrano of Puerto Rico. The match, set to air April 30 on DAZN, has the sort of buzz and financials that have raised hopes that women’s boxing is becoming increasingly commercially viable.
Organizers are expecting a sellout at the roughly 20,000-seat Madison Square Garden, helped by the anticipation for the fight, the sizable presence of both Puerto Rican and Irish diasporas in the New York City area, and the promotional work done by the influencer/boxer Jake Paul, among others. Tickets range in price from $35 to $2,000.
This is the first time a women’s match has ever been the main event of a boxing card at MSG, which has been hosting the sport for decades. Most Valuable Promotions, the firm founded by Paul and his adviser Nakisa Bidarian, are collaborating on the event alongside Matchroom Boxing, the English company that works with Taylor.
MVP has helped Serrano land a host of new sponsorships for the event including from FanDuel, Puerto Rican beer Medalla Light and supplement brand Alani Nu. She will make six figures from the fight just in sponsorship, and she and Taylor are both said to be making seven figures in purse.
“Things are going tremendously well and it’s starting to resemble an event that resonates with popular culture,” Bidarian said, citing as an example how actress Rosie Perez brought the fight up on “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah” on her own last week, despite having no official ties to the bout. “It speaks to how this is an iconic moment in sports history so everything is going as expected and it will only accelerate [this week].”
Sponsors for the fight itself are William Hill, Hennessy, JD Sports, CrowdRx, ChayMine and Renaissance Hotels. Among the happenings around the fight, Serrano is appearing on “The Pat McAfee Show,” which is sponsored by FanDuel, and both fighters will appear on NBC’s “Today Show.” The Empire State Building will light up in the Irish and Puerto Rican flag colors on Saturday night.
Bidarian said Serrano is making more money off this fight in sponsorship than the total sum she made between sponsorship and purse in every fight before she signed with MVP last year.
The fighters will arrive in New York City on Tuesday, hold an open workout Wednesday, news conference Thursday and public weigh-in Friday, before the main event on Saturday. To reach a sellout for this event would be a major moment for women’s boxing.
“It’s rarely done in boxing — you can count on two hands how many times it’s been done over the past 10 years,” Bidarian said about selling out MSG for a boxing event. “It’s tracking no different than [fights with] Canelo Alvarez and [Gennadiy “GGG” Golovkin], and it just speaks to Amanda’s and Katie’s drawing power and the unique nature of the fight, which hopefully becomes a trailblazing moment for women’s boxing and women’s sport.”