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All about the legacy for Katie Taylor as she eyes next big fight

Cyborg bout on cards for Katie as Serrano rematch deal falters
Katie Taylor’s clash with Amanda Serrano was a classic

Katie Taylor’s clash with Amanda Serrano was a classic© Getty Images

Taylor is in twilight of her career

Taylor is in twilight of her career© Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Cris Cyborg is likely the best MMA fighter ever

Cris Cyborg is likely the best MMA fighter ever© Getty Images

Sean McGoldrickSunday World

Yesterday Katie Taylor celebrated her 36th birthday.

Had things worked out as planned tickets for her rematch against Amanda Serrano in Croke Park on October 1 would now be selling like hot-cakes.

Alas, in the murky world of professional boxing things rarely pan out as anticipated.

Despite all the promises made by both Serrano and her manager Jake Paul in Madison Square Garden immediately after the epic clash against Taylor in April, the Serrano team baulked at the idea of a rematch in Dublin.

Matchroom owner Eddie Hearn baulked, too, at staging a homecoming Croke Park show headlined by Taylor which didn’t feature Serrano as her opponent.

So, what’s the future for Taylor?

Though she would be the last to admit it, she is in the late stages of a remarkable career, spanning two decades.

She will point to the case of Cecilia Braekhus. She was undisputed welterweight champion for six years, between 2014 and 2020, making ten successful defences of her four belts.

But the sting in the tail is that, at the age of 38, she suffered a shock loss to a former Taylor’s opponent Jessica McCaskill, who also beat her in the rematch.

Taylor has been undisputed lightweight champion since 2019 and has successfully defended her undisputed status on six occasions.

Her career now revolves around the legacy she leaves – a practical goal would be to better Braekhus’ record of ten successful defences.

Arguably, Taylor’s earning capacity is now more important to her opponents. She has made enough money to live a very comfortable life. But securing a clash against her is the same as winning the lotto for the majority of her opponents.

But every fight she takes now is a calculated gamble. It is inconceivable that the two fights against Delfine Persoon, particularly the first contest, and the unforgettable showdown against Serrano have not exacted a toll on Katie.

How she survived that fifth-round pummelling from Serrano will remain a debating point in the fight game for a long time.

Judging by the most recent comments of Matchroom boss Eddie Hearn, the Taylor camp is now focussing on securing fights against two of the big crossover stars in female combat sport, Cris Cyborg and Holly Holm.

The latter was mooted as a possible opponent for the planned Katie Taylor homecoming gig in Croke Park, but it didn’t materialise.

Holm was contracted for one more fight under the UFC banner and there were concerns that a Taylor v Holm headline fight would not sell out an 80,000 capacity stadium fight.

Attention has now switched to a possible match-up against Cyborg.

Cris Cyborg is likely the best MMA fighter ever

Cris Cyborg is likely the best MMA fighter ever© Getty Images

Unlike Holm, who did win a world professional boxing title before switching to Mixed Martial Arts, Cyborg was never boxed but is rated as arguably the greatest MMA female fighter of all time.

She is the current Bellator featherweight champion and is a former UFC, Strikeforce and Invicta FC World featherweight champion. She is the only MMA fighter, male or female, to become a Grand Slam Champion, holding world championships across four major mixed martial arts promotions.

The one snag in a Taylor v Cyborg clash is weight. Taylor fights in the 132lb lightweight division whereas 36-year-old Cyborg fights in the 145lb featherweight division in MMA.

The Bray fighter once fought in the 140lb super lightweight class. She beat Christina Linardatou in Manchester in 2019, and briefly held the WBO version of the super lightweight World title.

Nonetheless, there are practical and commercial reasons why a Taylor v Cyborg is in the pipeline, possibly in Las Vegas in December.

It will be marketed as the showdown between the best female fighter in the world and the best MMA fighter. It would be probably be fought at a catch weight of around 140lbs, which means that Taylor will not be risking her world belts.

Essentially, it is a lucrative exhibition fight but a guaranteed best-seller, particularly if it takes place in Las Vegas.

Meanwhile, the negotiations for Taylor v Serrano II can recommence, away from the pressure of deadlines.

Serrano was due to return to Madison Square Garden on August 6 to defend her featherweight titles, and co-headline with a fight between her promoter Jake Paul and Tommy Fury.

But the latter was refused permission to travel to the US for the pre-fight press conference earlier this week, which now casts doubt over whether the show will take place.

It is by no means certain that the rematch between Taylor and Serrano will ever take place.

Ultimately, the decision is down to the Serrano team – if they want to maximise the fight purse, it will have to be stadium fight in Croke Park next summer.

Otherwise, it is back to Madison Square Garden for fewer dollars.

Serrano has a better chance of winning if the fight is in MSG.

She is also two years younger than Taylor, so she is in no hurry to re-engage her.

But the bottom line is if she has ambitions to be rated the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world, then she has to beat Taylor.

Always the professional, Katie has been keeping herself in shape during her stay in Ireland by training with the Irish boxing squad in Abbotstown.

The epilogue of her career has yet to be written. But everybody in Ireland hopes that it will be a happy one.

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