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Serrano, Zarika in Six Round Draw in Queens
by Bernie McCoy
March 29, 2015
Photos: Facebook

(MAR 29)  Cindy Serrano and Fatuma Zarika battled to a six round draw in the co-main event of New Legend's sixteenth International Fight Night, a nine bout card Saturday night at Resorts World Casino in the borough of Queens, in the city of New York. The three judges' scorecards reflected, accurately, just how close the bout was: Jim Pierce had it 58-56, Serrano, Ron McNair 58-56, Zarika and Robin Taylor accentuated the evenness of the bout with a 57-57 count. Those are essentially the basic facts of the penultimate bout of the evening, but the back story of the fight properly adheres to a couple of long time boxing adages.

"Styles make fights" and "Never Jab with a Jabber" probably probes into a deeper tale of just what these six rounds of classic "stick and move" boxing was all about. Both Serrano and Zarika have come close to perfecting the value of a stiff left jab combined with ring movement and both fighters have employed that style against some of the best opposition in the lightweight ranks: Zarika has been in with Jelena Mrdjenovich, unbeaten Eva Wahlstrom, Delfine Presoon and Diane Prazak and many boxing fans still talk of Serrano's memorable "fight of the year" (Ring Magazine) with Rhonda Luna in December 2005.

The first round of the bout seemed to acquaint both fighters with the awareness that their styles are mirror like. Both Serrano (131 lbs) and Zarika (132.4) spent the first two minutes probing in a classic "feeling out" strategy. The second and third round, while still fought at long range, provided both fighters with momentary chances to take an aggressive stance but both seemed to feel that "what works" was the best course. In both rounds, Serrano appeared to gain a slight edge by finishing strong in the final half minute. Zarika seemed to seize the advantage in the fourth and fifth stanzas with the more effective counter punching. But, like all previous rounds, these two segments of action were composed primarily by what these two boxers probably do as well as anyone in the sport, sticking and moving, constantly utilizing both an effective left jab combined with deft ring movement. The final round was, again, a replay of the previous five. It was close, neither fighter deviating from their "jab and move" game plan. If I had to make a call, I would award the round to Serrano "by a nose" (mixing sports metaphors, with a nod to nearby Aqueduct racetrack).

But the fact is that the official results, which have been recounted earlier, are, as in every boxing match, the numbers that count. Three very competent boxing judges called it, collectively, a draw and that's the way it stands. Disappointing? Certainly to the fighters, to the fans, to the "teams" of each boxer. But the consolation, if there is one, is that for twelve minutes on Saturday night, two very talented boxers, who happen to be women, put on a pretty good display of boxing that was one of the highlights of a night of the sweet science in the southeast edge of Queens. It's almost enough, almost, to overcome any anguish  associated with a draw.

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