"Katie throws one shot, runs away, then grabs."
"She needs to learn how to box"
By John J. Raspanti
Last June, after Katie Taylor and Delfine Persoon went at it for 10 rounds, my thoughts were pretty definitive.
Persoon won the fight. The Belgian champion came on like a freight train in the last few rounds, imposing her will and strength. Taylor had flashed her big edge in speed in the opening rounds as Persoon, slightly taller, stalked.
In round three, Taylor moved and popped. Persoon, the more physical fighter, wrestled Taylor and landed a right. Taylor connected with a straight shot. Persoon’s pressure forced Taylor backwards. Taylor fired numerous shots in round four to keep the bigger fighter off her. The awkward Persoon chased after Taylor-throwing punches from all angles. Taylor did well in round five. A three-punch combination connected. Persoon fought back. Taylor had a slight edge through five rounds, but the feeling was, Persoon was coming.
The feeling was correct. She marched after Taylor and let her hands go. Taylor countered and boxed as she moved in and out. Persoon landed a left, and a nice combination. Taylor tried to fight back, but looked tired as the bell rang.
In round eight, Taylor circled and jabbed. The scrappy Persoon connected with a long right. She also scored with a left. Taylor landed a left hook and right hand in round nine.
In the 10th and final round, both champions went for it. Taylor started fast. Persoon jabbed and fired back. She landed a number of shots. Taylor also found the range, but the super active Persoon did better. At the bell ending the fight, she looked fresh, while Taylor, though gutsy as hell, was wilting.
Persoon won the last round, and the fight. At least, that’s what I thought. The ringside judges didn’t agree, judging Taylor the winner by majority decision. Many in the crowd at Madison Square Garden booed that night. It wasn’t a terrible decision by far, just a debatable one. The fight was that close. Persoon, disgusted, left the ring without commenting.
She’s made up for her silence in the last month, criticizing Taylor’s style.
During a Zoom discussion last week, moderated by promoter Eddie Hearn, Persoon let some zingers go.
“We watched this fight back many times,” said Persoon. “Katie says she did enough to win the fight but she did not do enough. In the first fight there was a lot of holding, holding, holding. In another country they would tell you, ’Don’t hold,’ then take away a point.
“But they never spoke about her holding me. In the fourth round her trainer said, ’Grab her arms.’ Katie throws one shot, runs away, then grabs.”
Taylor, a two-time gold medalist and holder of four world championship belts, replied, “I’m gonna fight the right fight for me, at the end of the day.”
A few days later, Taylor continued to lecture Persoon.
“She needs to learn how to box, "said Taylor on Sky Sports. “That’s probably why she lost in the Olympic qualifier against an unranked amateur fighter. She’s the type who would say Floyd
Mayweather runs as well. but he’s the best boxer of his generation.
“It’s called the sweet science.”
Taylor (15-0, 6 KOs) is right, and she better be extra sweet this Saturday to defeat Persoon (44-2, 18 KOs) more convincedly. I think she will. Why? Taylor will be better prepared for Persoon this time.
She’s quick, crafty, and smart, and most of all, she’s the better fighter.
The cream always rises to the top.
Katie Taylor by unanimous decision.