Lisa Fallon: Only Katie Taylor knows where the top is for her

I was there at Madison Square Garden with two incredible female fighters headlining

“It’s okay to stop and smell the roses every once in a while.”

A perfect line from the commentator as Katie Taylor's walk-on neared the ring in a heaving Madison Square Garden.

Often boxers walk-on, hooded, bouncing, rehearsing little combinations, eyes straight, focused, in the zone. Taylor was in a moment, all of her own creating, singing the words of her entry song, “Awake my soul.”

It wasn’t a song that many people in the Garden knew and instead of the crowd fuelling the song and intensity of this particular walk-on, on this occasion it was Taylor who was fuelling the intensity of the crowd with her engagement with the song.


She was so present. She owned it, it didn’t own her.

So often when in the moment it’s actually impossible to take everything in but I loved the fact that Taylor soaked it all up. She sang, looking around the whole Garden and acknowledged it all before she took to the real matters in hand.

It can easily happen that those types of moments can pass you by because you are so focused on the performance, but it was important for her to absorb it, a full and vociferous Madison Square Garden, with two incredible female fighters headlining the event.

She had changed the sport forever before she stepped into the ring and afterwards had pushed the bar just that bit higher again.


I was fortunate enough to have been there last weekend. It was always on my bucket list to see a big fight in MSG so to have been able to travel over and cross that one off my list was special. But never in my own dreams did I think I would be there to see an incredible Irish woman headline the card against another incredible fighter.

What they produced was mind-blowing. An atmosphere like I have never experienced before but the fight itself was a rollercoaster of emotion. The fifth round was uncomfortable viewing, I have to admit. Taylor could have stayed in her flow of the earlier rounds, boxing and moving, but she loves a tear up, as she says herself.

She went into the trenches and took us all with her. She took some big hits and looked to have suffered damage like we haven’t seen before. Afterwards she said she had to dig deep and only she will know just how deep she had to go.

Those ones always mean the most, the ones you really have to go searching for but somehow she found a way to not just stay in the fight, but to win it. She hit a reset button that enabled her to come out and win the remainder of the fight.

It was clear she had trained for it. You cannot go where she went and survive it if you haven’t prepared for it. In her training sessions, she has had to go to places close to where she found herself in round five. Only she knew what depths she had gone to before that fight.

What some perceive to be the top for her, might not be the same as what she sees. This is the flaw and the strength of true champions

Elite athletes want to test their limits. They always want to know what more they've got. As much as Amanda Serrano tested her last Saturday night, Katie Taylor tested herself. It was both difficult and exhilarating to watch but the courage, the strength, the reserve, the sheer resilience and determination to find out how deep she could go was awesome.

She has nothing to prove to anyone, her legacy is real and permanent, as it was before she stepped into the ring last weekend.

A rematch between Taylor and Serrano is already on the cards with Croke Park mooted as a potential venue. In her professional career, Katie hasn't yet fought on her home patch. Some have called on her to call it a day now, and go out at the very, very top. But every time she goes into the ring, or changes the game, she changes where the top is.

What some perceive to be the top for her, might not be the same as what she sees. This is the flaw and the strength of true champions. They know that failure is a big part of the journey, the art is managing its place and timing.

They keep finding ways to push the bar higher but at some point they reach their own bar. Only Katie Taylor knows how deep she had to go to win that fight. Only Katie Taylor knows where ‘the top’ is for Katie Taylor.