Katie Taylor and Delfine Persoon are set to battle for Taylor’s undisputed lightweight championship Saturday on DAZN. The two went to a grueling, controversial decision 14 months ago. Will Taylor repeat, or will Persoon even the score?
Our staffers make their picks.
Last year, I didn’t think Persoon had much chance against Taylor, in all honesty. I thought Katie would probably rather handily out-box the Belgian and take a clear decision. That’s not what happened. The fight was about dead even, in my view, with both giving and taking. And it was a great fight. I’m more excited for this one coming in than I was that one.
I have two ways of looking at this fight:
- Taylor could make the necessary adjustments and fight smarter, staying more on her toes and out of the trenches with Persoon. If Katie can stick and move more, she’s no question the sharper, more fundamentally skilled boxer.
- Taylor just can’t do that anymore, and Persoon can make life hell for her yet again.
I lean toward the second. Taylor is not in her prime. She and Persoon are basically the same age, and while Persoon has way more pro miles on her than Taylor, Taylor has years and years of amateur boxing behind her, and that’s when she really peaked. She had, as I’ve noted many times, started to fade against high-level foes toward the end of her amateur run. She was no longer the best in her weight class by the end of those days. Turning pro allowed her, frankly, to fight a lot of opponents who didn’t have that sort of schooling.
But it wasn’t just Persoon whom Taylor struggled against to a degree. Christina Linardatou was no picnic for Katie in November, either, as Taylor faded late and Linardatou never gave up on the bout. I want to pick Persoon here, because I think Katie’s time at the top is coming up soon. But what I’m going to pick is another controversial decision for Taylor, and another heartbreaker for Persoon. Taylor SD-10
Here’s the thing, I think Persoon put on an inspired, career-type performance in her first fight with Katie Taylor. In fact, I had Persoon winning that fight on the cards, but that’s not the way it panned out. But the problem is I really just wonder whether Persoon is going to have it in her to match that performance and presumably have to do even better if she’s going to get a win here over Katie Taylor. If Taylor was at all overlooking Persoon in their first matchup, that won’t be the case here, and I think Taylor’s talented enough to not get drawn into the kind of fight that’s going to give Persoon her best chance to pull the upset. I’m going with Taylor to win a decision over the distance. Taylor UD-10
Patrick L. Stumberg
In case my wistful recap of Giovani Segura vs Ivan Calderon didn’t make it sufficiently clear, I greatly enjoy watching gritty scrappers overpower technicians through sheer relentlessness. Unfortunately for Delfine Persoon and, more importantly, me, I think her best opportunity already came and went. Even executing her ideal gameplan against a Taylor seemingly caught cold by her offbeat offense only got her a narrow win in the eyes of the public. Now that Taylor knows what she’s in for, expect her to focus more on movement and sharpshooting instead of trying to overpower Persoon with rapid-fire combinations.
Gritty, powerful, and aggressive though she may be, Persoon’s toolbox isn’t deep enough for her to surprise Taylor a second time. Expect Taylor’s check hook and slick footwork to carry the day as Persoon tries and fails to once again force a slugfest. Taylor UD-10
Persoon’s aggression in the opening fight was a challenge for Taylor to overcome. The challenger won large pockets of rounds by walking down the Irishwomen, backing her up and throwing the kind of output that is going to scoop rounds over the two-minute format. Taylor was in a fight rather than a boxing match.
The keys to victory – well, a more convincing victory – lie with the champion’s ability to box and move. Not to get dragged into a slugfest with the Belgian, but work off her combinations and prioritise scoring shots, rather than power. Taylor has been furiously working on the opposite since turning pro and teaming up with Ross Enamait, but a revert to type should see her over the line against a fairly one-dimensional, yet effective, Persoon.
Persoon is a year older and 20 rounds deeper into her career since touching gloves with KT for the first time. I think this will show in a fairly lop-sided repeat. Taylor UD-10