24 mai 2024

Redemption or Ruin: Taylor and Catterall's High-Stakes Rematch

Redemption or Ruin: Taylor and Catterall's High-Stakes Rematch

Redemption or Ruin: Taylor and Catterall's High-Stakes Rematch

The rematch between Josh Taylor and Jack Catterall is a crucial fight with high stakes for both boxers. The winner could secure bigger opportunities, while the loser risks being left behind in the highly competitive junior welterweight division.

Promoter Eddie Hearn put it succinctly:

"I think careers are on the line. I always say that because I'm selling the fight but actually if you think about it, the reason I say that is, they could both go on and fight for another five years, but they only want to fight at the top level," Hearn told ESPN. "They want to fight in world championship fights, they only want to fight in big money fights, and if you get beat, you're miles away from that.

"So, I actually think the loser could even potentially look at retiring. But I know that both guys are putting the pressure on themselves to do the business."

Mention retirement to either fighter, and you're likely to get a strong reaction. Taylor, the first Briton to become an undisputed champion in the four-belt era, and Catterall, who felt wronged by their first encounter in February 2022, are both determined to prove themselves on Saturday night. Both believe they have what it takes to win a world title.

In their first fight, Catterall started strong while Taylor struggled. The Scottish fighter took a knee in the eighth round and lost a point for a late punch in the 11th. Catterall also had a point deducted for holding. The controversy from that fight has fueled the animosity between them.

Taylor is focused on reclaiming what he believes is his. His only career loss came against Teofimo Lopez, which cost him one of his four belts (WBO). The rest he had to vacate. He admits that this rematch is not just about getting back on track, but also about silencing his critics.

Catterall sees this fight as a chance to correct past wrongs.

"I believe Saturday will be the right time for it to happen. Desperate is the wrong word but I'm excited, I think it will be a sense of relief. Ultimately, we're here now. All the work is done, all the talking is done," Catterall told ESPN. "It's a massive fight you're fighting the former undisputed champion. A fight that I believe I won the first time around, and a division that is stacked with great talent. A lot of talent and a lot of guys I want to fight. A victory puts me right in the picture for it."

As the fight approaches, a calm but tense atmosphere prevails. Catterall dismisses any notion that he's bringing too much emotion into the ring.

"Boxing is something I enjoy and something I'm passionate with but come Saturday night you've got to take that emotion for the disappointment from the first fight out and you've got to fight with intelligence and smarts and that's what I'll do.

"It's win by any means necessary. I believe I can hurt Josh and I believe I'm going to knock him out."

Taylor, on the other hand, is blocking out the noise.

"I couldn't give a s--- what he thinks or how he feels or how he's acting or how he is, I'm fully focused on myself," Taylor said. "I'm enjoying this ride and the process. I heard a footballer say on a podcast a couple of months back, he had retired, and they said is there anything you regret? And he said 'yeah, enjoying the process more.'

"[He] never enjoyed the ride. So I've been trying to enjoy to do that since I became undisputed champion just enjoy the ride a little bit more not take all this what we're doing here with any seriousness and just enjoying the ride. It's all a part of the journey."

As for Hearn, who has a number of fighters in the 140-pound division, he's looking forward to an exciting match.

"I think we'll get a really good fight. I thought it was an intriguing fight last time, but it wasn't a fire fight. I think this time you will get that," Hearn said. "Jack Catterall says he's going to stop him. That's quite unusual for Jack to say that as well. I do feel like Jack expects Taylor to come at him fast as well and Jack's a fantastic counter puncher as well.

"He's just got to make sure when he hurts Josh this time he gets on him and gets it done."

Hearn predicts a world title shot won't be far away for the winner.

"Jack feels like in that first fight, he should have left as undisputed world champion. Victory will be amazing but he still won't be world champion so that would be the natural step. Whether that's Teofimo, [Subriel] Matias, Devin Haney ... they're all fights that are available."