Josh Taylor seemed locked on landing single power punches and using his size to wear out on Jack Catterall.
Josh Taylor came to Glasgow on Saturday to make the first defense of his undisputed junior welterweight championships in a homecoming bout with mandatory challenger Jack Catterall. Despite being viewed as little more than an opponent, Catterall, who’d previously taken step-aside money to allow the unification bout between Taylor and Jose Ramirez, seemed to do enough to have deserved a shocking upset victory. Unfortunately for Catterall, who scored a knockdown of Taylor, the judges granted Taylor a split decision victory.
Catterall got off to a roaring start in the opening rounds, consistently beating Taylor to the punch in exchanges and using a sharp jab to split Taylor’s guard and open up straight left hands from his southpaw stance. He also showed a willingness to get a bit dirty in the clinch, trying to match Taylor in the bending of rules.
Taylor seemed locked on landing single power punches and using his size to wear on the challenger. That tactic continued to cause problems for Taylor, with Catterall’s defense allowing him to avoid most of the big shots while returning fire and connecting at a higher volume, even visibly hurting Taylor with some of the straight left hands through the first half of the fight.
By the end of Round 6, Taylor’s right eye was bloodied and swollen, and his confidence looked increasingly shaken. Catterall continued rolling as the fight wore on cracking Taylor with a combination to score the first knockdown of the fight in Round 8 off another sharp left hand.
The knockdown seemed to wake something in Taylor and he began to press the action more effectively, working to the body and effectively backing Catterall up. At the same time, Catterall began to run out of gas, losing the snap on his punches.
The momentum swing continued in Round 10, with the referee suddenly taking a point from Catterall in a fight where both men had repeatedly pushed the limits of the rules. The damage was undone, however, when Marcus McDonnell took a point from Taylor the following round, a result of a light punch to the body after the bell.
Taylor’s late charge seemed too little, too late after Catterall had seemingly dominated the first eight rounds of the fight, including scoring the fight’s only knockdown. While punches landed don’t tell the story of how a fight should be scored, Catterall outlanded Taylor 120-73.
Despite all that, in the end, two of three judges felt Taylor had done enough to deserve to retain his four world championships, giving him the fight by scores of 113-112, 114-111 and 112-113.
Despite his undisputed status, Taylor seems ready to leave junior welterweight in pursuit of a move to welterweight where he can pursue the potential of massive fights with top pound-for-pound fighters Errol Spence Jr. or Terrence Crawford.