May 26, 2024

This was the night when the long-running feud between Josh Taylor and Jack Catterall, and the hysterical fallout from their first fight, was supposed to finally be put to bed.

Instead, we were left with the sight of Bob Arum, the legendary 92-year-old promotor, grabbing the mic in the ring and taking a flamethrower to the judges and their employers.

“Those scorecards were a disgrace, an absolute disgrace,” said Arum, the Top Rank chief who promotes Taylor.

“I really feel sorry for Josh, I thought he won, but those scorecards were ridiculous.

“And that’s the lesson – I will never, ever allow an American fighter to come here with this British board scoring the fight. Those scores were ridiculous.


It was a surreal end to a barnstorming night in Leeds in which both fighters played their part in a sequel that lived up to the considerable hype.

Arum, who has probably witnessed more boxing matches than any other individual on the planet, was correct on one front.

While his view that Taylor should have been awarded the win is highly debatable, the 117-111 cards returned by two of the judges were too wide and unreflective of a fight that swung one way and the other but was close throughout.

“Those scorecards were horrendous,” said Taylor’s trainer Joe McNally.

“117-111 twice was a disgrace”, former cruiserweight world champion Tony Bellew added on DAZN.

‘Catterall won but the scorecards were too wide’

Debates around judging and scoring have raged for as long as judges and scoring have been in boxing.

Taylor suggested after the fight the controversy around the first bout played into the judging of the second.

“I just think given all the noise around the first fight, they’ve given it straight to Jack, even though it was close,” the Scot said.

The difference this time around was there was no real miscarriage of justice. The right man by most accounts – though not all – had his hand raised at the end.

Catterall admitted in the aftermath that his style of inviting opponents onto him is not always easy on the eye, but he landed the cleaner, more eye-catching shots.

“I thought Jack dominated the first six or seven rounds and was well on his way to stopping Josh,” Catterall’s promotor Eddie Hearn told BBC Scotland.

“Josh just came back out of nowhere, won eight, nine and 10. Catterall had a big 11th, 12th was scrappy and could have gone either way.

“I agree with Bob, I do think the scorecards were too wide.

“For me, and I think the general public, the feeling is that Jack Catterall won the fight but the scorecards were too wide.”


Taylor struggled in the early stages, as he had done in the first fight, to figure Catterall out.

There were moments at the end of the fifth and into the sixth where he looked ready to be taken out, but the Scot is nothing if not a warrior.

His powers of recovery and extraordinary courage means he can never be discounted and the way he worked his way back into the fight was truly heroic.

“I thought I won the fight,” Taylor told BBC 5Live in the ring. “I thought I won it by one, maybe two rounds, it was certainly close though.

“Fair play, he got the nod. No excuses from me – I won’t be phoning the police or writing letters into parliament, he won the fight.

“I could have boxed better at times but I still think I nicked the fight to be honest.

“I think there’s a taste for a third fight there to settle the score.”

Catterall spoke of going after the likes of Devin Haney or Teofimo Lopez and finally claiming one of those world title belts he has craved for so long.

Interestingly, he did not rule out a third showdown with Taylor if the fight made sense.

With one win apiece, perhaps a trilogy fight and a chance to end the rivalry with the bragging rights over his biggest foe for the rest of his days will be too tempting for Catterall to turn down.

We wait to see if this extraordinary rivalry has another chapter yet to come.

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