Josh Taylor was destined for a loss in Leeds as judges' scorecards are branded a 'disgrace'

Josh Taylor makes his entrance into Leeds' First Direct Arena.Josh Taylor makes his entrance into Leeds' First Direct Arena.
Josh Taylor makes his entrance into Leeds' First Direct Arena.
Let's be frank here. Josh Taylor was a beaten man before he stepped foot inside the ring in Leeds last night - and two of the three judges' scorecards confirmed it.

It was a war against Chorley's Jack Catterall the Tartan Tornado simply couldn't win. A unanimous victory for the Englishman was always a stick-on for promoter Sam Jones and Matchroom guru Eddie Hearn.

The Catterall camp will call it karma for the way the first contest in Glasgow in Feburary 2022 was scored in favour of the Scot, a duel shrouded in controversy that has never quite escaped the boxing fraternity.

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So, has this weekend's outcome finally settled the score once and for all? This was billed as the fight to end all the animosity, the insults, the trade-offs. Instead it's opened up another can of worms over the sincerity and integrity of those calling the shots ringside.

Sport is subjective. It sparks debate and why we invest so much time talking about it.

What cannot be disputed is the quality served up by two warriors over a gruelling 36 minutes. They have the wounds to show. At times it was breathtaking for the 11,000 packed inside the First Direct Arena. British boxing at its very best.The atmosphere was in another stratosphere and the reason why these consummate professionals devote so much of their lives to the gym.

Taylor and Catterall climbed aboard the shoulders of their respective trainers at the final bell and were paraded around the ring - a victory lap let's call it.

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Both men could make a case for having their hand raised - Catterall enjoying the better of the early rounds before a resurgent Taylor finshed strong. It was nip and tuck. There was much debate and a real divide within the assembled media over who had nicked it - some even calling for it to be declared a draw.

So when the first two scorecards were read out - 117-111. Gulp. Really? The third judge scored it 116-113 sparking euphoric celebrations from those who had made the journey over the Pennines to support Catterall. In contrast, Taylor shook his head in disbelief. Top Rank chief Bob Arum - even at the grand old age of 92 - then made a beeline for the microphone and publicly lambasted the judges, branding their scoring a disgrace and vowing to never let his American stable step foot in the UK. He was not wrong. Even Hearn agreed to an extent. He had to.

But the burning question is to what extent did the controversy surrounding the pair's first battle 27 months ago have a bearing on Saturday night's outcome? Is there really any other explanation for those judges under scrutiny to score the fight 117-111? A totally one-sided affair then by both accounts. What a load of old cobblers. Ian John-Lewis was dragged before the British Boxing Board of Control to explain his 114-111 marking in favour of Taylor at the Hydro in 2022. Will Kieran McCann and Mark Baters incur a similar fate? We wait with bated breath.

Wouldn't we all love to be a fly on the wall of the judges' room or have access to WhatsApp messages between the powers that be. We might just get those answers. You have to judge a contest on its own merit. Let bygones be bygones irrespective of what happened in the first outing.

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Furthermore, should Taylor have agreed to the rematch in the first instance? And with three English judges at a venue n the heart of West Yorkshire? I'm not so sure. But he has the heart of a lion and who can knock it. The 33-year-old has got nothing to prove. Securing all the marbles to be crowned undisputed world champion in 2021 is unrivalled. Taylor's seat at boxing's top table cannot be disputed regardless of his next move, whatever that may be.

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