Ring City USA rolls on with Serrano vs. Bermudez Thursday, NBC Sports Net
SAN DIEGO, Calif., March 24, 2021 – Puerto Rico is rightfully proud of its boxing heritage and its many storied champions like Hall of Fame fighters Tito Trinidad, Wilfredo Gomez, Wilfredo Benitez, Hector Camacho, and Miguel Cotto.
Currently, there are just two world champions from the island. Along with WBO Minimumweight World Champion Wilfredo Mendez, the reigning royalty of Boricua boxing, is seven division world champion Amanda Serrano (39-1-1, 29 KOs.), with titles from super flyweight to light welterweight.
Serrano will notch another first on Thursday, the first women’s professional boxer to appear in the main event on NBC. It’s a surprising bit of trivia, considering NBC’s long history with boxing.
Serrano faces three-division champion Daniela Bermudez of Argentina (29-3-3, 10 KOs) on Ring City USA from on NBC Sports Network from the Plaza del Quinto Centenario in Old San Juan. On Thursday, March 25, the five-fight undercard starts at 5 pm ET/2 pm PT on Twitch.tv, moving to NBC at 9 pm ET/6 pm PT. Serrano’s WBO and WBC World Featherweight titles are on the line in the 10-round bout.
First season for Ring City USA winning compliments
Ring City USA is on a roll in its inaugural season. Thanks to inspired matchmaking and surprising performances, boxing fans have been treated to some of the most entertaining action so far in 2021. Brandon Adams scored a knockout win over Serhii Bohuchuk after Bohuchuk dominated the scorecard, followed by a wild come from behind knockout win one week ago by last-minute replacement Angel Fierro of Mexico over former Puerto Rican champion Alberto Machado. Serrano vs. Bermudez is the program’s first world title fight.
It’s asking a lot to expect the same level of drama. Still, credit goes to the fresh matchmaking and promoter agnostic approach of Ring City USA to deliver solid midweek boxing entertainment from creative venues. The fights with rising stars and former contenders on the rebound fill a niche in the boxing world where matchmaker Sam Katkovski can make plenty of entertaining fights.
Serrano is a powerhouse performer in women’s boxing with impressive skills and power. She has won 25 consecutive fights, 20 by stoppage, which is a phenomenal accomplishment for female fighters. Serrano’s last fight was a first-round TKO win in December over Dahiana Santana. Bermudez is also coming off a December stoppage win in the tenth round against Cintia Castillo. Both women are ranked among the top ten by RING Magazine, but Bermudez has never fought outside Argentina and hasn’t faced a buzzsaw like the 32-year-old Serrano.
Serrano was slated for a unification fight against women’s superstar Katie Taylor, but the bout fell apart when the pandemic messed with the schedule, and Serrano decided to appear on a Telemundo network obstacle course type competition show instead. The show never came through, and all Serrano ended up getting was a lot of heat over the situation with Taylor. The pair and their promoters now swear the fight will never happen, but there are few top-level opponents at their level of women’s boxing, and in boxing at any level, never say never.
Serrano can fend off the criticism with a powerful performance on Thursday. If the matchmaking lives up to the growing Ring City USA reputation, it should be fun to watch and competitive for as long as it lasts. Serrano would be the clear favorite in any other circumstance, but these midweek events have been full of surprises.
Baez brothers impress their mentor Roman Gonzalez
On the undercard, twin brothers Eduardo Baez and Leonardo Baez appear in eight-round bouts featuring the Mexico vs. Puerto Rico rivalry. Super bantamweight Eduardo (18-1-2, 6 KOs) meets Abimael Ortiz of Puerto Rico (8-0-1, 4 KOs), and bantamweight Leon (18-3, 9 KOs) fights Carlos Caraballo of Puerto Rico (13-0, 13 KOs).
The Baez twins from Mexicali and Calexico’s border cities trained in Coachella over the past few months as sparring partners for Hall of Fame champion Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez in preparation for his recent title fight against Juan Francisco Estrada. Speaking about the brothers, Gonzalez praised the two young fighters for their work ethic and improvements.
“I tried to teach them a lot,” said Gonzalez. “I tried to teach them through my experience. I wanted to show them that conditioning inside of the ring is key, so I would throw a lot of punch combinations during sparring so that they would be used to that high-intensity interval training in the ring.”
Gonzalez says both brothers are strong and learning. “They have learned to combine their hands a lot more with faster ability in their punches. I believe their physical conditioning has improved a lot too. They have been doing their physical and strength, along with boxing, with me.”
Gonzalez calls working with the twins a fountain of youth for him. “It’s great to train alongside prospects like the Baez brothers. They have a great amount of energy, and it rubs off. It’s great chemistry to work not just with prospects but really good prospects. They help me a lot in my preparation.” Gonzalez admits it’s hard to tell the pair apart, but fortunately for him, one has a scar from a cut in his last bout. “I identify them by the scar, but before I couldn’t,” he laughed.
On a side note, Gonzalez said he feels good about the suspension of judge Carlos Sucre by the WBO for the lopsided scorecard against him in the Estrada fight. “I feel good about it. It’s the best that they have done. I believe that it looks toward bringing justice to all boxers.” Gonzalez emphasized he has no intention of retiring anytime soon. “I’ve never said, and never even hinted, at retirement. I gave an excellent fight against Estrada, and I am not going to retire after that great victory.”
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is a veteran boxing observer covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on social media at @PRProSanDiego.
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