After Josh Taylor and Jack Catterall agreed to a rematch, Sky Sports’ boxing pundits assess which fighter has the psychological edge ahead of their world title fight.
Boxxer last week confirmed the two fighters will meet again in a highly-anticipated rematch for the WBO super-lightweight belt with an official date announcement, in line with co-promoters Top Rank, to follow in the new year.
Catterall lost a controversial split decision against then undisputed world champion Taylor in Glasgow last February, with the Scot forced to vacate three of his super-lightweight titles as he pursued a rematch.
There was an acrimonious build-up to the first fight, and after last week’s confirmation of the rematch, the fighters have exchanged insults through the media.
Sky Sports pundits Matthew Macklin, Johnny Nelson and Dave Coldwell have each shared their views on who currently holds the edge ahead of one of the most anticipated bouts of 2023.
Macklin: Catterall will be even better this time
It’s a funny one because a lot of people will think – and it’s probably true – that Taylor underestimated Catterall the first time round.
I think he did, I think everyone did, so the natural assumption would be that he won’t do that again and it will be a different fight this time.
But, I think Catterall will have gone up 10 or 20 per cent because of the confidence and belief from the first fight. Even though he probably thought he belonged at that level, now he knows he does.
The other thing is, he might just have bad style for Taylor, he’s pretty awkward, Jack Catterall.
I didn’t think he’d put on the performance he did, but I remember saying in fight week that I thought it was going to a good fight. Although Catterall hadn’t beaten any particularly big names, he’d always looked to me like he had more in him, so I thought he could step up.
Don’t get me wrong, I was surprised he stepped up as much as he did, but I do think he’s a good fighter. This is going to be a harder fight than what it should have been for Taylor first time round, because now Catterall really believes he can beat him and he knows what to expect.
The pressure is on Taylor because most people, the overwhelming majority felt Catterall was hard done by in that fight, so it’s about redemption for Taylor really.
I think it gives Taylor time to mentally get over it all, and obviously he’s teamed up with a new trainer, so it gives him a bit more time with them.
Nelson: Catterall has lost art of surprise | It will be like Froch-Groves
I don’t think lightning is going to strike twice, I think Taylor will do him.
I think that opportunity has gone now, the art of surprise that Catterall had on Taylor was then, it’s gone now, which is a shame for Catterall.
Taylor’s got to prove that he messed up and can beat Catterall. Now he’s hurting more.
It reminds me of Carl Froch and George Groves. Groves shocked Froch in the first fight, but then Carl did his homework, put the work in, and showed he was the better fighter.
It’s not so much about the time between the fights, but the first fight has given Taylor a chance.
He was very lucky, he made a mistake and underestimated Catterall, thinking it was going to be really easy, so now he’s learnt a lesson and still kept his belts.
Coldwell: This is such a good fight
The first one, I thought Catterall was fantastic but did he take Taylor by surprise?
Or has Catterall gone into that fight jumping up levels, thinking he could win, but now he knows he can win, so does that make him a better fighter?
This is such a good fight, it really is.
Taylor’s had the change of trainer as well, and going straight into a big fight as well rather than having one first, I would slightly lean towards Catterall.
It’s a difficult fight to pick, and that’s what I love about this fight.
It’s not being disparaging to either of them, it’s just that they have both shown that they are that good, so it’s one of those fights where both men could win.