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Video: Josh Taylor survives knockdown, wins sketchy decision over huge underdog Jack Catterall

Bad decision, worse referee.

Josh Taylor is declared the winner over Jack Catterall.
Josh Taylor is declared the winner over Jack Catterall.
Photo by Paul Devlin/SNS Group via Getty Images

We nearly saw a monstrous upset in the world of boxing on Saturday at OVO Hydro in Glasgow, Scotland.

Emphasis on nearly.

Undisputed junior welterweight champion Josh Taylor (19-0, 13 KOs) absolutely got away with one in his mandatory title defense against England’s Jack Catterall (26-1, 13 KOs). Taylor was largely outboxed through the first half of the fight, as Catterall repeatedly outjabbed him and landed his left hand. In round eight and with his right eye swollen from a punch earlier in the bout, another left by Catterall as part of a three-punch combination put the Scotsman down for the first time in his career. He beat the count but at this point in time it looked like the otherwise unheralded Catterall would follow in George Kambosos Jr’s footsteps from a few months ago and shock the boxing world.

Then things went off the rails a bit and made the scorecards a bit messier.

This was undoubtedly a very ugly fight at times and there was plenty of rough-housing from both men. Referee Marcus McDonnell, who shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near high-profile fights such as this one, was overly involved and outrageously took a point from Catterall in the 10th round for pushing Taylor’s head down in the clinch. As if that wasn’t enough, Taylor lost a point at the end of the 11th for some reason... presumably for “hitting” Catterall after the bell but they both were doing that and those were more just light contact shoves than anything else.

Catterall did fade towards the end of the contest but the strength of the first 7-8 rounds should’ve seen him through towards being an undisputed champion after taking step-aside money so that Taylor could unify titles with Jose Ramirez last year. He waited his turn, had his opportunity, and got shafted.

Two judges had it for the hometown Taylor, one had it for Catterall, and the end result is a very bad split decision. Ian John Lewis turned in a 114-111 Taylor card, which means he gave Taylor eight rounds when factoring in the point deduction and the knockdown.

Highlights below:

Apart from two judges and ESPN analyst Andre Ward, this was overwhelmingly considered a Catterall win by those scoring at home. That was not the Josh Taylor who beat Jose Ramirez and Regis Prograis. We saw a Taylor who struggled against a fellow southpaw, couldn’t connect cleanly on a consistent basis, and was met with sharp resistance from a determined challenger who did the better work throughout a majority of the contest.

Because Catterall was a mandatory challenger, there is no rematch clause.

We could’ve had the Upset of the Year and ended up with what may end up as the Robbery of the Year. That’s boxing for you.