Sports

A drugs bust and a controversial history of trash-talking: The man behind Katie Taylor’s opponent Amanda Serrano



Katie Taylor first encountered Jordan Maldonado, the most influential person in Amanda Serrano’s career, in Boston in 2018 when Katie fought her older sister Cindy.

aldonado is married to Cindy, trains both fighters and managed their careers as well. Taylor outclassed Cindy so comprehensively that her manager Brian Peters quipped afterwards that Katie could have fought both sisters on the same bill.

The biggest cheer of the night was reserved for Conor McGregor who made a late entrance to TD Garden. As soon as the crowd noticed him, they erupted.

But for those at ringside it was the behaviour of Maldonado which was the most noteworthy feature of the evening.

The ringside microphones picked up Maldonado’s trash talk directed at Taylor. “You picked the weaker Serrano,” he suggested.

Then when the inevitable landslide points’ win for Taylor was announced, Maldonado shouted ‘Don’t worry Amanda is going to knock out you next time’.

This remark prompted a response from Taylor’s American trainer Ross Enamait, who briefly confronted Maldonado in the ring before security staff intervened.

There wasn’t the remotest chance that Maldonado’s trash talk would upset Taylor. Her response afterwards underlined her humility.

“I heard what he was saying throughout the whole fight. He was saying terrible things – that was his wife in the ring.

“He was shouting in ‘You picked the weaker Serrano’. That’s a terrible thing to say. You should at least give your wife some encouragement. That’s ridiculous.”

But Maldonado has form, not just when it comes to trash-talk but on far more serious issues.

He first gained public notoriety when he featured in an HBO documentary called ‘Bounce: Behind the Velvet Rope’.

Talking about his then job as a bouncer, he said: “I love the violence. The violence is the best part.”

In 2007 he was a central figure in an 18-month undercover police operation by New York police into the alleged sale of illegal steroids and other illegal drugs, mostly to boxers and weight-lifters in the two gyms in in the city. Known as ‘Operation Dumbbell’ it made slash headlines in the tabloid press in New York.

According to the then Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, undercover officers purchased drugs including cocaine, ecstasy, and prescriptions drugs inside two gyms. In the indictment Maldonado was described as ‘a manager and boxing trainer’ in the two gyms.

He was charged with second, third and fifth-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance and fourth-degree grand larceny. According to a statement from the police at the time if convicted, he faced up to ten years in person.

Twenty-three other people, including Maldonado’s wife Cindy and sister-in-law Amanda, who was only 19 at the time, were arrested and charged in connection with the bust.

Amanda was charged with fifth-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance. If convicted, she would have faced two-and-a-half years in prison. Her case did not go to court, and she has no conviction.

Maldonado pleaded guilty and received a one-year sentence. His wife, who was charged with a B felony in the third degree, took a plea and was not jailed. Her driving licence was suspended for six months.

In recent years it is Maldonado’s behaviour in the ring which has created controversy. The 57-year-old was rejected from Serrano’s corner in 2021 during a fight against Argentina’s Daniela Bermudez in Puerto Rico.

Serrano is a national heroine in her native country, yet the fight referee Roberto Ramirez Jr still banished Maldonado from the ringside technical area after hearing what he described as insults “too dirty to be even repeated”.

Maldonado was in trouble again last August when Serrano successfully defended their WBC and WBO featherweight titles against Mexican Yamileth Mercado in Cleveland.

This was a breakthrough night for the Serrano camp as Amanda was the co-main event of a Showtime Pay Per View show headlined by a Jake Paul – who subsequently became her manager – and Tyrone Woodley.

According to Mercado, Maldonado subjected her to a vicious verbal assault not just in the ring and afterwards when she was walking to an ambulance.

One journalist who interviewed her afterwards in her native Spanish said the account was “harrowing to say the least, to the point of being revolting during the worst passages”.

Mercado said her trainer felt threatened and she decided not to stay in the ring for the after-fight interviews.

She also alleged that while walking to an ambulance to go to hospital to receive treatment for the cuts she received, Maldonado verbally attacked her again calling her “a coward, a good-for-nothing idiot and more”.

Maldonado was subsequently suspended for six months by the Ohio Athletic Commission for “disorderly conduct”. However, the ban has no consequences outside Ohio.

Unquestionably Maldonado has had a profound influence on Serrano’s career and his decision to frustrate a clash with Taylor until his fighter got paid what he felt she deserved was a wise move.

Serrano says she has never owned a mobile phone or never has had a boyfriend during her career. Until YouTuber Jake Paul took charge of her career it was Maldonado who handled her social media account under the hashtag @serranosisters.

Now, with the eyes of the boxing world focussed on Madison Square Garden on Saturday night, it will be interesting to see how Jordan Maldonado behaves.



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