Seven-division champion Amanda Serrano stopped determined three-division champion Daniela Bermudez with a punishing ninth round two-punch combination to the body
Puerto Rico’s Carlos Caraballo maintained his perfect record with his 14th knockout of Leonardo Baez, handing the Baez twins a 1-1 night – brother Eduardo won via decision
SAN JUAN, PR (March 25, 2021) — Ring City USA’s third and final stop of its Puerto Rico run took place at the Plaza del Quinto Centenario. The main event of the NBC Sports Network-televised show featured WBO Featherweight champion Amanda Serrano and former IBF Super Bantamweight champion Daniela Bermuda. Serrano, women’s boxing’s only seven-division champion, is currently Ring’s No. 4 Pound-for-Pound fighter and Bermuda, of Argentine, holds down the eighth slot.
The show’s line-up also featured recent Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez training mates Eduardo and Leonardo Baez in against a pair of undefeated Super Bantamweights in Abimael Ortiz and Carlos Caraballo, respectively.
The highly-anticipated showdown between Pound-for-Pound champions was preceded by a crowd-pleasing performance by one of the island’s promising stars. Caraballo made easy work of Leonardo Baez with a one-knockdown four-round knockout. With a victory over the hard-hitting unified champion Serrano, Bermudez (29-4-3, 10 KOs) had the chance to collect a championship in her fourth division.
Some competitive rounds went by, but in the end Serrano (40-1-1, 30 KOs) lived up to the expectations of a place called Isla de Campeones. The seven-division champion outboxed Bermudez for most of the fight, and at 1:33 of Round 9 she placed a pair of body shots from which the challenger couldn’t recover.
The reaction to the left-right hooks was delayed, but Serrano executed the lethal sequence despite losing her chief second, and manager, Jordan Maldonado before the break after Round 7.
The 31-year old Argentinian opened the fight head-hunting. Bermudez landed cleanly to the head throughout the round. She also showed she could take Serrano’s power. Serrano gradually responded to the early aggression.
Serrano’s offense picked up in the second round. The 32-year old champion from Brooklyn, New York started off boxing, but the action quickly built into a fierce brawl. Bermudez remained focused on the head.
Into Round 3, Serrano was back to boxing. She jabbed up and down, turning with Bermudez. Serrano landed more of the effective punches. Towards the end of the round, Bermudez closed the distance and landed some right hands to the body.
Both fighters fired shots from outside through the first minute of the fourth round. Serrano tried to make Bermudez miss and then counter. Bermudez walked forward to close the round, and Serrano slipped her punches before landing a head-snapping straight left hand.
Serrano controlled the fifth round by working her jab while circling the ring. Bermudez punched from distance.
Bermudez found success with her overhand right in the first half of Round 6. Serrano stuck to her boxing and evaded serious trouble with her superior footwork.
Bermudez rallied in Round 7. She closed the distance early and exchanged with the champion. The two fighters traded punches. Prior to the break starting, Serrano’s trainer Maldonado was removed from the corner. Reportedly, Maldonado addressed the referee Roberto Ramirez Jr. in an unacceptable manner.
Serrano didn’t show any signs of being distracted in the ring. The two fighters engaged in good back-and-forth action in the first minute. Serrano closed the round by lacing Bermudez with a series of punches. Bermudez continued to punch through the punishment, but landed with less effectiveness.
In Round 9, Serrano’s power punching finally took its toll on the lighter weight fighter. Bermudez backed out, turned away and took a knee after a left-right hook combination to the body. Bermudez was fully extended while throwing her own punches, and Serrano lined up a pair of crushing shots that closed the show with less than half a minute remaining.
Bermudez hadn’t won a round on any of the scorecards of the judges, and the loss represents the first fight where she failed to reach a decision.
“I mean, this is boxing. I am not invisible, I get hit,” said Serrano who lives and trains out of Brooklyn, N.Y. “I knew I was a lot bigger than her. I was listening to my corner to box and I wanted to put on a show in front of my island and that’s what I did. The knockout came in the ninth which shows that I have power until the very end.”
“We knew she was tough,” added Serrano. “She’s a Latina. She’s from Argentina and we knew that Argentinians are very tough women. We were ready for it. I was ready for a ten-round war. It just happened; the body shot, so I might have to change my nickname to The Body Snatcher!”
“I want to become undisputed,” stated Serrano. “I want to be the first undisputed champion to come out of my beautiful island of Puerto Rico. That’s definitely my goal – IBF, WBA. Nothing against any champion but I want those belts. If they want to become undisputed champion, then they need to come through me too, so we need each other.”
Mixed Results For The Baez Twins
In the bout that preceded the main event younger brother Leonardo (18-4, 9 KOs) and 25-year old Puerto Rican southpaw Caraballo (14-0, 14 KOs) got off to solid contrast of styles. Baez pressed forward offering controlled attacks. Caraballo took short steps back looking for sharp counter punches with his left hand. The Puerto Rican landed the best punch of the frame.
Baez fought aggressively in the second round. He took several big swings at the southpaws head and body. With under a minute to go Caraballo connected with a big punch, a left uppercut, and then a second one followed by a left hook that dropped the Mexican. Baez got up and assured his corner he was good to go. He finished the balance of the round still looking hurt.
In Round 3 Caraballo fought like a fighter who’s confident in his one-punch power. He punished Baez to the body with left hooks. Baez remained scrappy. The Mexican landed a big right hook to the head with around 20 seconds before the bell.
Caraballo remained patient in the fourth round. He moved away to get his space, and then sat down to engage when he wanted to do so. They came toe-to-toe and Caraballo set down on vicious left hands to the head and body. With less than a minute to go Baez showed the effects of the work. Baez remained on his feet but stumbled for several seconds. Caraballo attacked, still composed, and slid into position to strafe Baez repeatedly until a white towel glided into the ring from the blue corner.
In impressive fashion, Caraballo improved to 14 wins – all inside the distance – with a skillful, systematic destruction of Baez with the official time of 2:36.
“I want to thank God, Ring City USA and NBC Sports Network for this opportunity,” said Caraballo. “What we did was worked that uppercut, we knew he was a big, strong guy. I knew I had to work that body and sooner or later the uppercut would come. When it did, we finished the fight.”
“I am 100% sure that I am the most distinguished prospect on the island,” boasted Caraballo. “My goal was to go in there and get a couple rounds in, and I got it done.”
The eldest of the Baez twins, Eduardo opened the telecast with his bout versus Ortiz. The two fighters met in the center of the ring, and rarely moved beyond Ring City’s red two-fist logo. Baez (19-1-2, 6 KOs) somewhat resembled Gonzalez, pressing forward relentlessly appearing to outwork Ortiz (8-1-1, 4 KOs) through the first half of the 8-round bout.
Very little changed in the fight’s second half. Ortiz continued to compete. He was possibly more efficient – he fought his fight in the face of Baez’ constant pressure. During his offensive breaks, Baez displayed good head and upper body movement. Neither fighter ran away with the fight, and with rare moments where a step backwards was taken by either man, close score totals could have been in store.
However, the judges saw the eight rounds overwhelmingly one-way, favoring the volume combination punching of Baez. The scorecard totals had wide margins of 80-72 and 79-73 twice.
All photos provided by Ring City USA