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Home » Madison Square Garden’s next super fight has ‘shades of Taylor vs Serrano’

Madison Square Garden’s next super fight has ‘shades of Taylor vs Serrano’

The next big super fight at Madison Square Garden would add to the Puerto Rican vs Ireland rivalry — featuring two of New York City’s most passionate boxing fan-bases. It even has “shades of Amanda Serrano vs Katie Taylor,” who fought a Fight of the Year in April 2022.

That’s according to 360 Promotions founder Tom Loeffler, who spoke Wednesday to World Boxing News about his fast-rising super welterweight Callum Walsh, and the possibility of fighting fast-rising Top Rank contender Xander Zayas down the line.

Walsh has an absurd wealth of power surrounding him as he’s repped by Loeffler, trained by Freddie Roach at the Wildcard Boxing Club in Los Angeles, and has the support of Dana White.

World Boxing News has been around the UFC boss White numerous times over the last three years, and have frequently spoken to him about Walsh.

White once told us recently that one thing he likes most about Loeffler is his matchmaking, and that he can easily envision Walsh challenging for a world championship belt within a year.

“That’s a good timeframe,” Loeffler said this week, when we asked him about White’s hopes for Walsh.

Loeffler mentioned Zayas to us late, last year, when we visited him and Walsh at the Wildcard in Hollywood. At that time, Walsh — who rarely watches fights, or tape of his opponents — was unaware of who Zayas is.

However, as the prospective fight gathers momentum, with multiple officials at Top Rank enthusiastic about working with Loeffler to book the bout, Walsh is now well aware of who Zayas is.

“The higher I go through the ranks, the more tape I watch to make it easier for myself [on the night of a fight],” Walsh told World Boxing News this week.

“Since Tom mentioned that fight, Xander’s fought a guy I’ve sparred with at the Wildcard. In a year or so, that’s the fight to make, as it’s two young and undefeated fighters. It has to be in the big arena at Madison Square Garden,” said Walsh. “Make some money.”

Before Walsh can entertain fighting Zayas in front of a sell-out crowd at Madison Square Garden, he must first dispatch Carlos Ortiz, a knockout puncher whom he fights June 7 at the Chumash Casino in Santa Ynez, California, on UFC Fight Pass.

Coincidentally, though, Xander Zayas fights Patrick Teixeira, a former world champion, the following evening June 8 at the Madison Square Garden Theater in New York.

The stars are seemingly aligning to keep these two young fighters in the headlines together.

When talking to World Boxing News about the possibility of working with 360 Promotions for a Zayas vs Walsh show, Top Rank VP of Boxing Operations Carl Moretti said that his firm knows who Walsh is, “and we’re well aware of him.”

Moretti told us that, while they’re looking to secure a world title fight first, a bout involving Walsh is something they “would certainly welcome.”

Zayas himself told us late last year that it’s a fight that can “definitely” happen “in the future.” His manager, Peter Khan, also waxed lyrical over Walsh, and said there are clear comparisons between the trajectory of the UFC boxer and his client, Zayas. “He’s very much on the same path as Xander.”

Moretti, meanwhile, added that those at Top Rank “love the fight.”

He said: “It would be a great attraction in New York — no question. You could certainly put it at Madison Square Garden with a strong undercard with fighters who are popular in New York. But, you know, you have to make the fight first, and worry about the undercard after. We’re not even at that point, right now.

“If we get Xander a title fight first, he’s certainly going to grab it. I don’t know what title he would go after, and then, should he be victorious, Callum Walsh would be a worthy challenger. If that time-frame doesn’t work, then you could do the Walsh fight before that.”

For Loeffler, Walsh has already “claimed New York City as his second home.”

But when you add the St. Patrick’s Day support Walsh generated for his fight against Dauren Yeleussinov on March 15, and combine it with the Puerto Rican fans Zayas has, then you have, what Loeffler calls, the possibility for a “huge” event. It’s “an arena fight,” he told us.

“Top Rank is pretty high on Xander, and doing a good job marketing him to Puerto Rican fans at events,” Loeffler said.

“I think this is going to be one of those natural Puerto Rico vs Ireland type of fights, with shades of Serrano vs Taylor,” he added.

“If Zayas and Walsh stay on the same track, it’s a really marketable fight.”

Alan Dawson is World Boxing News Lead Writer, a 2 x Sports Journalist of the Year finalist, and 5 x BWAA awards winner. Follow Alan @AlanDawsonSport.