Taylor v Catterall analysis: Why Josh Taylor is not the villain as questions are asked of judges
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The 31-year-old is his own harshest critic and acknowledged deep in the bowels of the Hydro, as the clock struck midnight, he was out of sorts, a shadow of the man who, last year, became the first Briton to clean up a division in the four-belt era with victory over Jose Ramirez.
Meanwhile, Jack Catterall, in the opposite corner, executed his game-plan in front of a raucous, partisan crowd down to a tee, even dropping Taylor to the canvas for the first time in 119 professional rounds. It was a highly-skilled and super-charged showing from the 28-year-old English southpaw, who grew in confidence as the rounds ticked by. He was in Glasgow to upset the apple cart and boy did he give the Prestonpans puncher the fright of his life.
That said, it still wasn’t enough for the judges to offer the Chorley fighter a seat at the sport’s top table with the home favourite retaining his belts by a split decision. Taylor ended the day as it began – undisputed super lightweight champion, albeit surrounded by a litany of controversy.
It wasn’t an easy fight on the eye by any means. something referee Marcus McDonnell must shoulder some of the blame for. But where this night is shrouded in controversy lies with judges Victor Loughlin and, to a greater extent, Ian John-Lewis, after the latter scored the bout 114-111 in favour of Taylor.
You don't have to scour the internet too far to find assertions of ‘the biggest robbery in boxing’, ‘what a travesty’ or ‘disgusting’ being bandied about.
A host of ex-fighters, pundits – even those who claim to have no interest in boxing whatsoever – have all put their tuppence worth in, which they are entitled to. Sport divides opinion. It’s what sets tongues wagging, as this one did in the House of Commons yesterday, when Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle, MP for Chorley, indicated he would be seeking advice from the Sports Minister on the matter.
But let’s remember Taylor isn’t the villain here. He didn’t score the fight. The judges did. The trio of John-Lewis, Loughlin and Howard Foster, should have been brought before the TV cameras to offer their reasons for scoring in the manner they did. Instead, Taylor gave his post-fight assessment having just stepped out of the ring after a gruelling 12 rounds. I challenge any boxer to go on record saying, ‘yes I lost the fight and it’s a shambolic decision that I won’
These guys are warriors, cut from a different cloth and have that winning mentality in their DNA from birth.
To counter that – as a professional athlete – you have to learn to lose with dignity and, in the days and weeks ahead, having had the opportunity to see a rerun of the contest, Taylor may see things in a different light. I do harbour a lot of sympathy for Catterall – he didn’t deserve that and is right to feel like his world has just caved in.
But Taylor’s latest showing in the ring must not overshadow what has been an unprecedented rise up the boxing ladder. He has not become a bad fighter overnight. A new era begins at 147lbs. Strap yourselves in. It’s sure to be one hell of a ride.
•Josh Taylor was defending his world titles at the Hydro, in Glasgow, against Jack Catterall with the support of WOW HYDRATE, the latest innovation in fitness, refuelling the body without carbs or sugar.
Where can you buy WOW HYDRATE in Scotland?
WOW HYDRATE is available at major supermarkets including Morrisons and Tesco, an can be picked up at a range of convenience stores across the country, as well as Archerfield Links Golf Course, Dumfries Golf Club, Fluidity Fitness gym in Newbridge, Fight Factory Gym in Glasgow and Recovery Lounge Gym in Paisley.