Amanda Serrano vs. Erika Cruz Odds, Pick & Prediction: Boxing Betting Preview (Saturday, February 4)
Jason Miller/Getty Images. Pictured: Boxer Amanda Serrano of Puerto Rico
- No. 1 pound-for-pound female fighter Amanda Serrano headlines Saturday night's DAZN title-unification bout against Erika Cruz.
- Serrano is a big -750 favorite, but Bryan Fonseca has a best bet that offers -145 odds.
- Check out his pick, as well as some of his bets for the undercard, below.
Amanda Serrano vs. Erika Cruz Odds
Even after losing to Katie Taylor via split decision last year, Amanda Serrano is arguably the best pound-for-pound boxer on the planet.
And honestly, said split decision was 1) The wrong decision, in my opinion – I had Serrano beating Taylor 96-94, and 2) She moved up from featherweight to challenge the undisputed lightweight champion for her crown, giving up a distinct size advantage in the process.
The fact that Serrano and I are both Nuyoricans has nothing to do with why I thought she beat Taylor, I insist. (Just watch the fight and tweet me later – respectfully.)
That said, Serrano (43-2-1, 30 KOs) is back and is attempting to unify her WBC, WBO and IBF (and even IBO!) world titles with Erika Cruz (15-1, 3 KOs), the WBA champion at 126 pounds. The bout is to determine the undisputed featherweight champion of the world. Madison Square Garden (Theater) hosts the contest this Saturday, Feb. 4, on DAZN (8 p.m. ET main card).
The card will also feature a second undisputed bout with super featherweight champion Alycia Baumgardner (13-1, 7 KOs) and challenger Elhem Mekhaled (15-1, 3 KOs), who’ll be fighting for Baumgardner’s IBF, WBO, WBC (and IBO) world titles, along with the vacant WBA belt.
We’ll primarily touch on the main event here with our official bet, but we’ll also provide recommendations on Baumgardner’s bout.
The expectation is that Serrano whoops Cruz’s ass.
Without the controversial loss to Taylor, Serrano hadn’t lost a bout since being outpointed by Frida Wallberg in April 2012 for the WBC super featherweight title. This is to say two things: 1) Serrano hasn’t lost without debate in almost 11 years, and 2) She’s never lost at featherweight.
In fact, the losses came at super featherweight and lightweight.
Cruz is very skilled. She has only one loss on her record, a majority decision defeat in her second pro bout in June 2016. Cruz became the WBA champion in April 2021, defeating then-champion Jelena Mrdjenovich via technical decision. The fight was stopped due to an unintentional headbutt when the champion was deemed unable to continue, and Cruz won 70-63 on all scorecards after seven rounds.
Cruz has since successfully defended her title twice with consecutive decision victories, most recently a dominant win in a rematch with Mrdjenovich via points in her native Mexico this past September.
Face to Face!
Champion vs Champion!
Puerto Rico 🇵🇷 vs Mexico 🇲🇽 #SerranoCruz #Undisputed pic.twitter.com/tWAghNVInK
— Amanda Serrano (@Serranosisters) January 30, 2023
On paper, Saturday’s fight is the definition of an A-level fighter versus a B-level fighter. If all goes as expected, it’ll be a clash of skills more than a clash of styles.
Serrano is an elite pressure-fighting southpaw, a sophisticated brawler who’ll crowd Cruz for the duration of the fight. Cruz is also a brawler but hasn’t fought anyone close to Serrano’s level in skill or power. Cruz, at 5-foot-6, has a half-inch height advantage, but Serrano has a 1.5-inch reach advantage (65.5 to 64 inches). Even though Serrano has about triple the pro experience, at 34, she’s only two years older than Cruz, who turned pro at 26 in 2016. By then, Serrano had been a pro for seven years, was 27-1-1, and had been world champion in three different weight classes.
A brawl is one thing, but here’s the key stat you’ll need to monitor when evaluating this contest: Cruz has had 12 decision victories in 16 career fights. Serrano has 13 in 46. It’s to say: If Cruz is going to be Cruz, she’ll pay a heavy price for her courage against arguably the best pressure fighter in the world.
Amanda Serrano vs. Erika Cruz Pick (and Other Bets)
We’re ignoring the moneyline because Serrano is -625 to -800 wherever you look. As always, it could be an uber-reliable parlay leg, but the value isn’t there straight up unless you’re rich. And if you are, congratulations and keep it to yourself.
Here’s where it gets uneasy.
Serrano’s 30 knockouts in 46 fights give her a career KO percentage of 65.2. In women’s boxing, in particular, that’s outstanding because you simply don’t get the amount of time the men do. Title fights for women are 20 minutes long – 10 rounds for two minutes each. Men have 36 minutes – 12×3. And that’s only the difference in title fights, not including early career bouts that are 4×2 instead of 4×3. Women are fighting for equality in that realm, too, and we’d see more knockouts as a result.
So the fact that Serrano’s KO percentage is that high – adding in that 70% of her wins have come by KO – makes the knockout bet tantalizing. However, Serrano hasn’t stopped any of her last four opponents and did so most recently in March 2021 against Daniela Bermudez, who hadn’t been stopped prior and was 13-0-1 over seven years leading up to that fight1.
I have no hangup about Serrano winning; it’s just how. Serrano on points is the smart bet here, which you could find at -145 on FanDuel or -150 on DraftKings, as of this writing, and it’ll be similar across other books. Cruz’s fighting style lends itself to the ability of getting tagged on exchanges, and as tough as she is, is she able to withstand 10 rounds and 20 minutes of such an onslaught from Serrano? Serrano has been capable of getting hit, and even losing rounds, and could tire on occasion as she did against Taylor, but Cruz clearly isn’t that level of power puncher.
Ultimately, my pick is Serrano on points. It’s boring, and I really want to lean knockout, but I can’t quite get there. Cruz is too tough, and rounds are too short. Plus, the knockout juice isn’t good enough, and the line on points is good enough to take it straight up. A light $10 on Serrano by decision on FanDuel or DraftKings will still net you $6.67.
Going back to the aforementioned Baumgardner bout: She’s even more of a favorite, with moneylines as high as -1450 as of this writing.
👟💨 @alyciambaum x @skyebnic
📍 Central Park#BaumgardnerMekhaled #NicolsonAlvarez pic.twitter.com/3muypdN5p8
— Matchroom Boxing (@MatchroomBoxing) January 31, 2023
She’s noted for her power, but for similar reasons, it’s hard to get to the knockout. Baumgardner on points is the smartest bet on the board, which you can find at -210 on DraftKings or -220 on FanDuel. A two-legger with Serrano on points will put you at +146 at FanDuel or DraftKings.
Throw in Richardson Hitchins (15-0, 7 KOs) over John Bauza (17-0, 7 KOs) on points at -135 on FanDuel – Hitchins is a Brooklyn native fighting on the card’s third most prominent bout – and you have a parlay at +328 odds.
Even with heavy favorites, there is always value in boxing betting; you just have to know where to look.
Enjoy the fights, and don’t go broke!
The Pick: Amanda Serrano via points or decision (-145)
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