By Jorge J. Muñiz Ortiz
San Juan, May 20 (EFE).- Puerto Rican boxer Amanda Serrano has charted a long, winding path riddled with obstacles since making her professional debut in early 2009.
But she has achieved her dreams and then some over the course of her 13-year career, winning titles across seven different divisions and recently becoming the first female pugilist to take home $1 million for a single fight.
In an interview with Efe, the 33-year-old recalled that she earned $1,000 in her first bout in March 2009, an amount she says wasn’t bad for a professional debut.
But the prize money didn’t improve much at all over her next 20 fights.
Despite being multiple champion of some of the leading world boxing organizations, Serrano said she was still earning “peanuts,” – between $1,500 and $2,000 per fight.
Serrano and her sister Cindy, who hold the distinction of being the only sibling duo to hold world female boxing titles simultaneously, learned to navigate the fierce world of professional fighting from their trainer Jordan Maldonado.
“He’s been with me and my sister from the very beginning. He taught us everything we know about the sport of boxing in the ring and outside of the ring, how it can be hard, it can be corrupt, it can be sometimes mean to you, bad to you,” said the fighter, who has a career record of 42 wins, two losses and one draw.
A male boxer with comparable experience and success would not have to wait so long for a seven-figure payout, but Serrano was determined to succeed despite that combat sport’s well-entrenched gender inequality.
Serrano’s first $5,000 bout did not even come until 2014, when she became champion of the World Boxing Organization’s lightweight division by knocking out Argentina’s Maria Elena Maderna.
That victory gave Serrano a world title in a fifth separate weight class, a milestone no Puerto Rican boxer – man or woman – had ever achieved. More attention from fans of the “sweet science” also came her way as a result of that feat.
One fan in particular has had a major impact on Serrano’s earning power: American social media personality, entrepreneur and boxer Jake Paul, a resident of Puerto Rico who now serves as her promoter.
Paul, now aged 25 and with more than 19 million Instagram followers and over 20 million subscribers to his YouTube channel, recognized that Serrano had all the qualities necessary to become the world’s top-earning female boxer.
He helped her take home her first six-figure payday – $200,000 for her December 2021 fight against Spain’s Miriam Gutierrez.
And that was only a stepping stone to the cool $1 million she received for a fight she lost at Manhattan’s iconic Madison Square Garden on April 30 against Ireland’s Katie Taylor.
Next up for Serrano will be a rematch against Taylor in Ireland, a bout Paul expects will earn her between $2 million and $3 million.
Now that she has reached the pinnacle of her career, the boxer’s advice for young girls and adolescents is to work hard and surround themselves with “positive people.”
“The sky’s the limit. You gotta believe in yourself. Greatness requires sacrifice. I sacrificed my whole life, and look where it got me. I’m a seven-division world champion and I’m unified (featherweight world) champion, soon-to-be undisputed champion,” Serrano said. “So I think the sky’s the limit, not just for young girls but young people of all Puerto Rico.” EFE