Josh Taylor and Jack Catterall finally agree rematch to controversial 2022 encounter

 | February 14 | 

3 mins read

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Josh Taylor and Jack Catterall will finally face off in a rematch of their highly controversial February 2022 bout, according to ESPN. Taylor won a split decision over Catterall at the OVO Hydro in Glasgow that night, retaining his undisputed super lightweight championship. But most of those in attendance and watching on television felt the challenger had done more than enough to win the belts. 

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The war of words between the pair hasn’t abated since, whether in public at fights or on social media. In many ways, the furore has consumed them both since that lightning rod of a fight two years ago.

Taylor saw the fanbase he had built when battling to become the first-ever undisputed super lightweight champion in history dissipate overnight. Despite the fact he was not the man marking the scorecards, ‘The Tartan Tornado’ became a magnet for fan criticism all the same. The fact Taylor addressed this in typically blunt fashion didn’t help his case in the eyes of many.

Catterall enjoyed a wave of support in the aftermath, at least for a while. ‘El Gato’ was deemed the uncrowned champion in most quarters. But the trouble with such an esoteric designation is that it never lasts. Catterall did not capitalise on his arrival at world level. One could argue he hasn’t competed there since.

Neither man has done much competing at all since February 2022. The back-and-forth over a potential rematch and the weight it would be contested at derailed both men’s careers. Taylor shed three-quarters of his undisputed crown as he refused mandatories in order to accommodate Catterall. When a rematch was signed for early 2023, with just the WBO and The Ring titles on the line by this point, it evaporated after Taylor suffered an injury.

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Taylor has fought just once since the Catterall victory. He lost his WBO championship to Teofimo Lopez in a poor performance in June. Given his well-documented struggles with making the 140-pound limit, it was surprising to see Taylor defend his title at all. The Scot had hinted previously that he was targeting a move to welterweight and that he was only delaying that for a Catterall rematch. 

Catterall has only been a shade more active, fighting twice since February 2022. His first bout arrived 14 months after the Taylor defeat, in a wide points win against the overmatched Darragh Foley. A 12-round decision over Jorge Linares arguably did more harm than good. 

‘El Nino de Oro’ may one day go into the Hall of Fame, but it will be for his exploits at featherweight, super featherweight and lightweight. Linares was 38 at this point, had lost his last three fights and was competing above his best weight. The fact Jorge retired in the immediate aftermath of a fight in which Catterall was unable to stop him says it all.

They say that pressure makes diamonds. But the burden of that February night two years ago has cast a shadow over both Taylor and Catterall. They aren’t the same men who walked to the ring in Glasgow that night. A fight in which both men felt they deserved victory ended up with neither truly winning long-term. So these two star-crossed haters meet again. Redemption can only be sought against each other. 

It feels grimly appropriate that there are no title belts on the line in this super lightweight 12-rounder. Taylor and Catterall took their leave from world class a while ago now. The winner of this fight can get back there. But for the loser, the ignominy of the last two years will ultimately go down as the beginning of the end.

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