Rescoring a ‘robbery’: Taylor vs Catterall 1, round by round

When the final bell sounded at the OVO Hydro on 26 February 2022, members of the media traded apprehensive and concerned glances. “You just know the scorecards are going to be all over the place,” one journalist remarked.

Those words captured the thoughts of most at ringside, as well as the 12,000 fans in attendance in Glasgow. And the scorecards were, in fact, all over the place.

Josh Taylor, fighting in front of a home crowd, was awarded a split-decision win over England’s Jack Catterall. Some would deem ‘gifted’ a more appropriate verb. With the result, Taylor remained unbeaten and retained the undisputed super-lightweight titles, while a delirious, dumbfounded and dispirited Catterall received his first professional loss with a grimace and shake of the head.

The result saw one judge, Ian John-Lewis, downgraded due to his scorecard of 114-111 in favour of Taylor, while Catterall’s MP in Chorley – Lindsay Hoyle – referred the scoring to police. The other judges, Howard Foster and Victor Laughlin, scored the bout more narrowly; Foster giving Catterall the nod 113-112, while Laughlin had the same score but for Taylor.

Finally, on 25 May – over two years since their controversial first clash – Taylor and Catterall are set to square off again. Ahead of the rematch in Leeds, Indy Sport rewatched the first fight with no sound, to avoid being influenced by commentary and crowd reactions. Here is how Indy Sport scored the fight, round by round:

Round one

Lots of feints by the southpaws. Catterall clatters Taylor with a cross then pops a sneaky jab at 30 seconds, putting the home fighter off balance. He later punishes a pressuring Taylor with a counter hook. Again Taylor stumbles somewhat. We also get glimpses at the holding that will recur throughout the bout. In one clinch, Taylor gets off some hard shots – borderline illegal. Both men land effective jabs. Taylor 9-10 Catterall

Catterall (left) started well in his first fight with Taylor (PA Archive)
Catterall (left) started well in his first fight with Taylor (PA Archive)

Round two

Taylor pressures, his first meaningful offence coming in the clinch, but he’s warned as his punches stray to the back of Catterall’s head. Just before referee Marcus McDonnell steps in, Catterall lands a clean cross. In the next clinch, Catterall holds onto Taylor’s lead arm but is tagged with a slick rear uppercut. This time, the Englishman is warned. Both men land jabs then get more inventive. Momentum sways both ways. Catterall is warned for lifting Taylor in a clinch, before the Scot ends the round aggressively. Taylor 10-9 Catterall

Round three

More holding. Taylor with a late body shot off the break – and another shortly thereafter, leading to a warning. Aggression and good body work by the champion overall. Catterall with a nice uppercut while going backwards, Taylor with a harsh hook off the break – legally this time. Hooks are working for Taylor. Catterall scores with a one-two. Taylor 10-9 Catterall

Round four

A scrappy round with more holding and flashes of the dark arts. Another warning for both fighters. Taylor is edging the round with aggression and pressure, until Catterall scores with a clever, clean flurry late on. Taylor 9-10 Catterall

Round five

Taylor applied pressure throughout, but Catterall largely boxed more accurately (PA Wire)
Taylor applied pressure throughout, but Catterall largely boxed more accurately (PA Wire)

Catterall is starting to find his timing. There’s spiteful body work from both men. Catterall twice has Taylor wiping his eye after stinging shots upstairs. Catterall with a beautiful one-two and a rapid hook. Another one-two, then some holding. Taylor has been cut under his right eye. Nice jabs by Catterall to end the round. Taylor 9-10 Catterall

Round six

The closest round yet until the latter moments, when Catterall pulls away with the cleaner work. That includes several smart jabs and a couple of spearing crosses. Taylor 9-10 Catterall

Round seven

Once more, Catterall is warned for holding Taylor’s arm in the clinch. Taylor lands some effective hooks and uppercuts to the body, briefly arresting his opponent’s momentum. Catterall again uses his jab to get back on track, but Taylor just does enough to steal the round late. Taylor 10-9 Catterall

Round eight

The round begins with a stern warning for both fighters. A really physical spell ensues, with Taylor doing the more effective work. But then two grazing left hooks send the Scot to his knees! Naughty rabbit punch from Catterall as he walks away. A bitty period follows, before Catterall finds his timing and both men land hard shots in a firefight. Taylor ends the round well, but the knockdown is decisive. Taylor 8-10 Caterall

There were many messy exchanges, with the boxers hitting the canvas together in one (PA Wire)
There were many messy exchanges, with the boxers hitting the canvas together in one (PA Wire)

Round nine

Good front-foot fighting from Taylor, and some decent counter-striking by Catterall. Some more rough back-and-forths, with Taylor more comfortable in those positions. Catterall’s work gets cleaner as the round goes on, but it’s too little too late. Both men are warned for excessive holding. Taylor 10-9 Catterall

Round 10

Taylor storms forward; Catterall does his best to deter the Scot with an active jab. Taylor is warned for trying to hit his challenger off the break. Later, Catterall gets a similar warning, then he’s docked a point for excessive holding of Taylor’s head! Moments later, both men are warned yet again. Overall, Taylor does the more accurate work in this frame. Taylor 10-8 Catterall

Round 11

Taylor has a cut checked, delaying the start of the round. Lots of forward pressure from Taylor, but it’s Catterall doing the more accurate work. One of many messy exchanges sees the pair clinch and tumble into the ropes. After the final bell, Taylor playfully punches Catterall in the mid-section – a little too hard for McDonnell’s liking – and is docked a point. It feels harsh. Taylor 8-10 Catterall

Round 12

It looks like Catterall is being a little too reactive, as Taylor again opts for pressure, but the Englishman finds his timing and accuracy as the round progresses. Lots of holding in this one. Taylor 9-10 Catterall

An almost iconic photo, as Taylor celebrates a controversial win over a baffled Catterall (Action Images via Reuters)
An almost iconic photo, as Taylor celebrates a controversial win over a baffled Catterall (Action Images via Reuters)

Final scorecards

Indy Sport: Taylor 111-114 Catterall

Howard Foster: Taylor 112-113 Catterall

Ian John-Lewis: Taylor 114-111 Catterall

Victor Laughlin: Taylor 113-112 Catterall

In a way, this felt closer than expected upon a rewatch. However, the debate is still only about how wide you have it for Catterall; it is very hard to make a case for Taylor. Although his docked point feels harsh, there’s also an argument for a 9-9 round in the 10th, where Indy Sport narrowly gave Taylor a 10-8 with Catterall’s own docked point. None of the judges scored it how Indy Sport did, though Foster came closest.

Taylor vs Catterall official scorecards (BBBofC)
Taylor vs Catterall official scorecards (BBBofC)