Jack Catterall vs Josh Taylor
Jack Catterall vs Josh Taylor

Boxing betting tips: Josh Taylor and Jack Catterall preview and best bets

Old rivals Josh Taylor and Jack Catterall lock horns once more in their eagerly-anticipated rematch in Leeds on Saturday night – Chris Oliver provides his preview.

Boxing betting tips: Taylor vs Catterall

1pt Josh Taylor to win by decision at 13/5 (Coral, Ladbrokes)

1pt Francesco Patera to win at 11/2 (Paddy Power, Betfair Sportsbook)

Sky Bet odds | Paddy Power | Betfair Sportsbook

With the dust barely settled on a brilliant night for boxing in Saudi Arabia last weekend, we're back to the UK for a classic domestic grudge match on Saturday night.

Josh Taylor and Jack Catterall renew their rivalry at the First Direct Arena in Leeds, where the atmosphere is sure to be highly charged after the bad blood between the pair has intensified ahead of their rematch.

It's 27 months since what should have been a dream homecoming for Josh Taylor in Glasgow turned into a nightmare for the Scot, who was a huge favourite on the back of becoming the first undisputed champion from Britain in the four-belt era. However, he just couldn’t get going on the night and, having been dropped over the course of a torrid 12 rounds, he looked to have suffered his first defeat as Catterall celebrated a seemingly sensational upset.

Then came one of the biggest recent controversies in a British boxing ring, as two of the three judges scored it in favour of Taylor and the fallout of the decision was extremely messy.

Old foes set to renew rivalry

The pair went in different directions afterwards, but their paths had to cross again at some point, and they finally get the chance to settle the score this weekend.

In stark contrast to the first contest, Catterall is the favourite for the return, albeit a slight one at 8/11 as Taylor can be backed at 5/4, and both men arrive with something to prove.

Since the first encounter, Catterall (28-1) has failed to shine in unanimous decision victories against a pair of opponents brought in to make him look good. While he was never in danger of getting beat by Darragh Foley or Jorge Linares, the former wasn't on his level and the latter still caused Catterall plenty of problems despite being a shadow of his former self.

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The Taylor fight highlighted to the world Catterall's ability but because he didn't pick up the belts as he deserved, he then became 'high risk, low reward' for the other super lightweights and he needs this victory to capture the big names he is after.

The cloud hanging over Taylor is the belief from the fans that he is a shot fighter now. Having achieved so much in such a short time, the 33-year-old could now be damaged goods and his career at the top level is very much on the line here.

'The Tartan Tornado' compiled a brilliant CV prior to facing Catterall, having been crowned undisputed champion at 140lb after just 18 fights thanks to a brilliant run of victories against top-class, undefeated opposition. Ivan Baranchyk, Regis Prograis and Jose Ramirez were all champions with perfect records when outpointed in fine style by Taylor and his eagerness to consistently test himself is what made him so popular with the fans.

Taylor’s performance against Catterall could have been the result of over-celebrating his achievements, as we subsequently saw in a BBC documentary about Taylor just how much he struggled to make the weight, but he was again below par against Teofimo Lopez in his sole outing since.

Top-class Taylor worth another chance

Lopez is an elite fighter on his day and losing to an in-form version of him is no shame, but the concern for Taylor is that his renowned engine seemed to fail him, and, after a bright start, he was outworked down the home stretch.

Catterall has been accused of being negative and hard to watch, but his patient tactics worked a treat in the first fight. The Chorley man sat back and let Taylor lead, picking his man off with pot shots on the way in all night and tying Taylor up when the latter looked to work on the inside. Catterall’s ‘shoulder roll’ defence was also very effective that night, providing a small target for his overly keen opponent, and it may be that he just has Taylor’s number.

If that is the case, then the 15/8 would look good value for Catterall to win by decision, which should have been the result in their first encounter. However, having been a huge Taylor fan during his ascendency and his reign, I am prepared to give the former champion another chance.

Many people seem to have quickly forgotten just how good Taylor was prior to his last two outings and his best would be too much for the best of Catterall. While I’m not saying that a peak version of Taylor still exists, I do expect a better performance from him this time. He clearly underestimated Catterall, as highlighted by his lack of a gameplan, and it is easy to see why given the string of top opponents he had beaten previously.

Taylor also got the weight badly wrong and the fact he is still competing at 140lb is surprising, but he was the one who insisted this rematch was at the original weight, to avoid any excuses after the fight, and that suggests he can still do super lightweight well enough to perform here.

As I mentioned earlier, his famous gas tank deserted him against Lopez and he spoke afterwards of his legs ‘not being there’, but a foot injury prevented him from doing roadwork for that camp, which appeared to have a big impact. He’s over those issues now and, following surgery to fix a longstanding eye problem, he could be more like the old Taylor again this weekend.

CLICK HERE to back Taylor by decision with Sky Bet

I may be guilty of making too many excuses for someone I have always held in such high regard, but he is 13/5 to win by decision again and that is too big for me to pass up. That would be a repeat of the result from February 2022, but I think Taylor, who looks laser-focused on clearing up this black mark on his record, can get the job done with no controversy this time.

Patera can pack a punch

Paddy Donovan should continue his progress with a victory over Lewis Ritson and the Limerick southpaw is fancied to do so by knockout, but that outcome is priced accordingly at 4/11.

However, the other Irish prospect on the card, Gary Cully, could be set for a much tougher night against Francesco Patera.

There was a lot of noise surrounding Cully (17-1) until the hype train was derailed when he was stopped in three rounds by Jose Felix 12 months ago. The Naas lightweight was forced to work very hard to earn a split decision victory over Reece Mould in November and the jury is still out on him, so I certainly wouldn’t be in a rush to snap up the 1/4 about him recording win number 18.

Patera is no stranger to causing an upset on these shores, having handed the aforementioned Ritson his first loss in 2018. The Belgian has won 10 of his 11 outings since, with his sole defeat coming via a decision to the highly-regarded Keyshawn Davis in America, and he represents a serious test for Cully.

Patera looks overpriced at 11/2 and that appears good value in what should be an entertaining contest.

CLICK HERE to back Patera with Sky Bet

Posted at 1215 BST on 24/04/24

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