By Iain Dolan
A surprise to nobody, some very questionable judging allowed a weight drained Josh Taylor to keep his four light welterweight championship belts after being outworked for the majority of the contest by Jack Catterall at the Hydro arena in Glasgow on Saturday night. A depressing end to an otherwise entertaining occasion but we’ve come to expect no less from this sport. The fight was quite scrappy with a lot of holding but Catterall was clearly doing the better work in the early rounds with Taylor unusually lethargic. Catterall continued to bank the rounds and seemed to have cemented the victory by dropping Taylor with a left hook in the 8th. Both fighters had a point deducted and Taylor rallied in the last three rounds but surely Catterall had done enough. He’d quietened an incredibly noisy crowd and won at least 7 rounds plus the knock down.
Not in the eyes of two of the judges for some reason. 114-111 and 113-112 to Taylor were unfathomable and even 113-112 to Caterall seemed a little generous to Taylor. Twitter will rage and all sorts of accusations will be thrown around but will anything actually change? Probably not. We’ll get the tired old arguments that you have to “rip the title away” from the holder rather than just win the fight or that the championship rounds should somehow count double in the scoring. I’ve honestly got no practical suggestion on how this gets fixed because I don’t think it’s possible to remove the subconscious bias that exists for the home fighter/champion no matter how good the intentions from the judges.
Before the malodorous judging spoiled things, the atmosphere at the Hydro had been noisy and fun.
The chief support was Robeisy Ramierez vs Eric Donovan at featherweight. Donovan was brave but the gulf in class was evident and Rameirez won by TKO in the third. Because of the early finish there was quite a gap before the main event so the DJ played all the school disco favourites that the crowd lapped up. It would have been nice to have the main event just start at 9:30pm but it seems that there’s some kind of law against that. Probably from the same law-book that says there has to be dodgy officiating to ruin everybody’s night with great regularity.
Prior to this Ebonie Jones fought to a draw with Effy Kathopuli, also at featherweight and then we were treated to the first Scottish heavyweight title fight in 71 years. A bizarre fight that was little above white collar standard featuring the chiselled former rugby player Nick Campbell and the decidedly un-chiselled Jay McFarlane. McFarlane had an upbringing that “troubled” doesn’t even begin to describe so he’s done well to be punching for pay at all really. What the fight lacked in quality, it made up for with the enthusiasm of the protagonists. On a few occasions it looked as though McFarlane and his bright green hair might be about to keel over with exhaustion and concerningly for his backers, the same could be said of Campbell a couple of times.
Eventually, in the 6th Campbell worked his way on top and I was thinking it might be time for the ref to step in but then McFarlane rallied and threw the kitchen sink at Campbell and backed him up to the ropes. That was the last hurrah for McFarlane though as Campbell dropped him in the 7th, a combination of a right hand and exhaustion so this time the referee did intervene to save McFarlane from further punishment. McFarlane’s fitness might be dreadful but there’s no questioning his heart. Campbell will also have to work on his fitness if he’s to progress above this level. Overall, it was an enjoyable night with a great atmosphere. It’s just a shame that the judging was the weak link and predictably so which makes it even more galling. On the upside I was able to make it back into Glasgow in time for a couple of pints of Juta in the Drum and Monkey which went some way to removing the nasty taste of the decision.