Fighting Chantelle Cameron was always going to be a demanding task for Ireland’s greatest-ever boxer, Katie Taylor, on account of having to go up a weight division. It was a test that Taylor needed to be thoroughly prepared given that it would be the most challenging bout of her illustrious career.
The reality, however, is that the make-or-break fight was hastily arranged so that the 36-year-old would have an opponent confirmed in time for her celebrated homecoming in Dublin following an injury to Amanda Serrano. Serrano was of course the boxer that Taylor was preparing to fight before the Puerto Rican suffered an injury in the lead-up.
The tables have turned
As we now know, arranging for Cameron to step in at the last minute was a decision that Taylor paid the price for after surrendering her undefeated professional record at the 3Arena following a majority decision loss to the English fighter.
The overall verdict is that it was a clinical performance by Cameron who was the better boxer on the night. With Cameron’s display fresh in the mind, it’s not a surprise that the latest betting tips today back the Brit to beat Taylor again during their upcoming rematch after being priced at just 8/13.
However, Taylor dramatically reduced her chances of winning their first bout in Dublin by agreeing to fight such a dangerous opponent without undergoing adequate training for such a grueling test.
If anything, a quick look back on recent boxing history when it comes to fighting a stand-in opponent at the eleventh hour should have set the alarm bells ringing for Taylor’s camp.
Fool me once…
In fact, one only needs to study the lead-up to Anthony Joshua’s first professional loss in 2019 to realise that there is a lurking danger in going toe to toe with stop-gap opponents. Indeed, Andy Ruiz Jr’s stunning victory against Joshua at pre-bout odds of 30/1 should have been the cautionary tale that the world of boxing always referred to when weighing up the benefits of fighting a substitute with nothing to lose.
Only, it has been largely ignored and Dillian Whyte was the next to discover how cruel boxing can be after hurriedly agreeing to fight Alexander Povetkin in 2020. The fight, which took place in Eddie Hearn’s garden with only a handful of people in attendance, was meant to be a formality for Whyte. The eerie sounds of Povetkin’s camp shouting in disbelieving joy as Whyte lay temporarily motionless on the canvas following an uppercut from the Russian during the fifth round put paid to that idea.
WOW! A year on from Povetkin's brutal KO of Whyte 😳 pic.twitter.com/kplAr4zVDx— DAZN Boxing (@DAZNBoxing) August 22, 2021
Fast forward to 2023 and again, we saw how foolhardy it can be to take on a stand-in fighter when Joe Joyce lost to 40-year-old Zhilei Zhang. On this occasion, it was Zhang’s powerful southpaw style that an unprepared Joyce had no answers for.
Interestingly, there are similarities that can be drawn with Taylor’s recent points loss when looking at Joyce’s training camp. Although, it was the other way around from Joyce’s preparations as the Irish boxer was readying herself to face Serrano’s southpaw only to go head-to-head with Cameron’s orthodox approach.
The wider point is that when any boxer spends a training camp getting ready for a certain style and then ends up having to swiftly alter their strategy to accommodate a new opponent with different skills, the die is very much being rolled.
With total focus on Cameron, Taylor can avenge her Dublin defeat
The above examples do provide positives for Taylor though. While Joyce is yet to rematch Zhang, both Joshua and Whyte made lightwork of their respective rematches having had the appropriate time to analyse their unfancied opponents who had beaten them. With Taylor’s focus now totally on drawing up a plan to beat Cameron, fans can be certain that the upcoming rematch will be a lot closer.