Katie Taylor retained her undisputed lightweight title on Saturday, beating Delfine Persoon in a rematch of their 2019 battle. It was a more convincing if still incredibly competitive fight this time around, and far less controversial, with even Persoon this time respectfully conceding defeat.
Taylor felt she boxed better than she did in their first match, but that Persoon again forced a certain relentless pace — and Taylor admits she does enjoy a good brawl:
“That’s the problem, I enjoy it a bit too much! I was trying to be more disciplined, and for the most part I was. But it’s hard to box against someone like that because of how relentless she is. You have to get her respect by standing and fighting, which I did in some parts. Overall it was a great performance and a great victory.”
Taylor (16-0, 6 KO) is 34 years old and her last three fights have all been fairly close in some way. The first Persoon fight was a war that many felt Persoon won, Taylor faded late against Christina Linardatou last November though she deserved her win, and the rematch was with Persoon was certainly no walk in the park.
In other words, as much of a standout as Taylor is, she’s been looking a bit more vulnerable in recent fights. And there are a handful of potential opponents waiting who could give her trouble.
The 31-year-old Serrano was supposed to face Taylor this year for Taylor’s lightweight crown, but that fell apart in the coronavirus pandemic with a lot of talk in the media about Serrano now not being offered enough money, which of course Taylor promoter Eddie Hearn denied, and it became a whole thing.
It’s not clear what Serrano (38-1-1, 28 KO) would want to fight Taylor, but it’s still a big fight. Serrano has won world titles in seven weight divisions, which even with women’s boxing still having a lack of quality depth is not an accomplishment to sneeze at. She is also a better puncher than just about anyone in women’s boxing these days, and her power can be trouble from 115 to 140 pounds.
It’s a really good matchup. Whether it can be saved at this point is another story.
McCaskill, 35, fought and lost to Taylor back in Dec. 2017, with Taylor successfully defending her WBA lightweight title. But that was nearly three years ago, and things have changed.
Since then, McCaskill (9-2, 3 KO) has not only gained experience, she’s become a top pound-for-pound fighter herself. After losing to Taylor, McCaskill beat Erica Farias for the WBC junior welterweight title, and then beat Anahi Sanchez to unify that belt with the WBA title. After a rematch win over Farias, McCaskill moved up and pulled a big upset over Cecilia Braekhus to win the undisputed welterweight title on Aug. 15 in Tulsa.
Taylor has stated she doesn’t want to fight at a full welterweight limit, and she has legitimate reasons. She stays pretty much on weight all the time, and she would be too small against a 147-pound opponent. But McCaskill could certainly do a catchweight for a much-desired rematch with Taylor, even something like 141 or 142, or they could do it at 140 and fight for four welterweight titles and two junior welterweight titles.
Jonas was on hand Saturday at Fight Camp, as you can see above. The former British Olympian lost to Taylor at London 2012, and rejuvenated her pro career recently in a tremendously spirited draw against 130-pound titleholder Terri Harper.
“I look at her as an opponent,” Jonas said for Sky Sports this weekend. “I look for her weakness. Twice Persoon has shown chinks in her armor. [Persoon] didn’t have power — and that’s something I’ve got.”
Jonas (9-1-1, 7 KO) is 36 and getting another crack to become a pro star following her 2018 upset loss to Viviane Obenauf, which left many wondering if she really had the goods as a professional. The fight with Harper showed that when dialed in, Jonas definitely still has plenty of ability and heart. While a rematch with Harper seems fitting and most likely, there is likely bigger money and definitely bigger prestige in fighting Taylor.
The 29-year-old Cameron (12-0, 7 KO) is Taylor’s WBC mandatory, and she signed with Matchroom in July. She’s also a mandatory challenger for one of Jessica McCaskill’s 140-pound titles, and Hearn could get Cameron in a vacant 140-pound title fight if McCaskill drops those belts to stay at 147 as undisputed champ, which seems likely.
Cameron is confident she can beat Taylor, and it would be a huge chance for her to break through as a top women’s boxer, obviously. It’s an in-house fight that could be made perhaps relatively cheaply if the sport and its promoters need to continue pinching pennies for a bit.
Here’s a wild card. France’s Mossely, 28, is the woman who bounced Taylor in the semifinal round of the 2016 World Championships, winning gold there and going on to do the same at Rio 2016, where Taylor was eliminated in the second round before she could potentially get a rematch with Mossely.
In other words, Mossely kind of took Taylor’s amateur throne and sent the Irish superstar into the pro ranks with a bit less momentum than Taylor might have liked.
Mossely turned pro in July 2018 and is 6-0 (1 KO) thus far, winning the minor IBO title at 135 pounds in 2019. She hasn’t faced top competition yet, but she’s no question a skilled boxer and someone who proved years ago she can fight with Taylor. Of everyone here, this is probably the least likely to happen next or even soon, but it’s one to keep in mind.