This was a fight that took place on the 8th of July 1978 in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The fight was held between Samuel Serrano who was making the fourth defense of his WBA Featherweight title and the challenger Tae-Ho Kim.
For the first two rounds Samuel Serrano fought on the back foot circling around the ring as Tae-Ho Kim tried to walk him down. Serrano used his superior footwork to avoid most of the punches that Kim threw and he was helped by Kim not jabbing or feinting his way into range. Serrano attacked by marauding into range with lead hooks or in some cases feinting then throwing the lead hook. Once he’d got his shots in he would clinch before Kim could throw anything back and while they were in the Clinch he would often create enough space to throw forceful blows to Kim’s body. Kim didn’t have much success at all beyond a few glancing blows in these rounds and was clearly frustrated at being unable to land anything significant on the elusive Serrano.
The first half of the third round went much the same way as the first two but as it went on Kim started to find his range and landed multiple one-two combinations and hooks. His first real significant shot of the fight was when he landed a hook at the same time as Serrano did that clearly shook the champion up. After landing the hook he tried to capitalize and threw a tirade of punches as Serrano covered up on the ropes. Only a few of these punches landed clean but they had the champion backing away and clinching as soon as he could rather than throwing punches back. Near the end of the round Kim threw a picture perfect one-two and caught Serrano in the side of his head sending him to the canvas. This was a hard knockdown as when Serrano puts his hands behind his back to stand up he slipped one way then the other. Recognizing he needed to take his time he nodded his head and slowly got up before taking the rest of his count from the referee. He was still clearly not all there and Kim took advantage throwing as many punches as he could and arguably making Serrano touch the canvas again as his gloves went down as he was spun around by Kim’s punches. Now entering the last 10 seconds of the round Kim pounded Serrano to the body and head using hooks and straight punches as the champion languished on the ropes hoping for the bell which eventually came and saved him from being stopped. Serrano was still not entirely there when the round ended as he went to a neutral corner before being guided back to his by his coach.
Round 4 was a great round where Serrano showed why he was a world champion by coming right back at Kim. He was still going back early in the round but was much more willing to exchange and actually pushed Kim back in the last minute of the round as he started landing damaging blows in a sustained attack. Kim had his moments but it wasn’t enough for him to win the round against the newly energized Serrano who seemed to have woken up after being knocked down.
During round 5 and 6 Serrano was the more active fighter and would throw small combinations before resetting again and again. He was starting to land more and more significant shots and at times it looked like Kim was wilting under the pressure. Showing his own heart Kim came back near the end of round 6 and landed some of his own punches which he had mostly failed to do in the previous two rounds.
At the start of round 7 Kim came out quick and tagged Serrano hard causing him to stagger and then back into the ropes where Kim kept the pressure up throwing a barrage of punches most of which landed. The rest of the round was relatively even with Kim having some success on the front foot however Serrano was still able to be effective when he stepped in and threw a variety of combinations which he did often while circling away. In Round 8 Serrano started to land clean punches on a regular basis as well as being able to dance around the ring like he did early in the fight as Kim seemed to slow down after his effort in the previous round. Serrano landed a blatant blow after the bell and was lucky to not lose a point especially as he had done the same a few rounds before. During round 9 and 10 Kim was clearly tired and could barely keep his hands up but he still kept coming forward swinging as much as he could in his tired state. Serrano started to land punches at will in round 10 before putting Kim down with a jab which he stepped into with his full body behind it. Kim went down clutching at his eye and when he got up it was clearly closed. The referee decided he’d had enough and waved the fight off which I think was the correct decision.
I really enjoyed watching this and personally thought it was an excellent fight that went back and forth. Both of the fighters showed heart in the way they came back after being hurt and I thought Kim did especially well considering it was only his 9th fight. Serrano upping the pace after being dropped while also being more aggressive won him the fight in my opinion as Kim wore himself out trying to match him especially while taking clean shots. If you haven’t watched this fight I highly recommend you do as its a good action fight with multiple changes in momentum throughout the bout.