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Josh Taylor vs Jack Catterall: The Second Coming of Carl Froch vs George Groves

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Josh Taylor vs Jack Catterall: The Second Coming of Carl Froch vs George Groves

Following a controversial decision in 2022, Josh Taylor and Jack Catterall are set to rematch on April 27th at the First Direct Arena in Leeds.

Good heat at the presser this week

Despite Catterall producing the best performance of his career by dropping Taylor in the eighth round and outboxing him throughout, the scorecards of two judges stopped him from becoming undisputed super lightweight champion.

And after seeing Taylor and Catterall almost brawling in their recent press conferences, the hate, bitterness, and animosity are comparable to the famous rivalry between Carl Froch and George Groves in 2013-2014.

Like Catterall, Groves had the upper hand in the first bout. Even before he stepped into the ring with Froch, Groves was having the better of the verbal exchanges.

It was obvious that Froch was wound up by his opponent's confidence going into the contest. Groves predicted that he would drop Froch with a right hand and in the first round that is exactly what happened.

Groves went on to dominate the rest of the fight and all three judges had him ahead on the scorecards.

This was until Froch began to experience some noticeable success in the ninth round and hurt Groves with a right hand before referee Howard Foster prematurely stopped the contest.

There was no way of knowing for sure that Groves would have survived the round and gone on to still win the fight, yet some believed ‘Saint George’ was unfortunate to not come away with the WBA and IBF super middleweight world titles.

Foster experienced so much backlash that a rematch between Froch and Groves was scheduled for the following year at Wembley Stadium in front of 80,000 people.

This time the build-up and distaste between both fighters was worse. An inconclusive result had garnered resentment rather than respect.

Froch suffered so much from Groves’ antics in the lead-up to the first fight that he hired a psychologist for the rematch. But this turned out to be a smart move by Froch who all of a sudden started to win the mental combat against Groves at press conferences.

It’s also hard to forget when Froch pulled Groves across the table during The Gloves Are Off on Sky Sports.

‘The Cobra’ then ended up setting the record straight by knocking out Groves with a phenomenal right hand in the rematch before retiring from the sport of boxing.

The question is, will Taylor get redemption like Froch when he takes on Catterall again?

Similar to Froch, Taylor has seemed more relaxed when compared to the build-up of his first fight with Catterall.

In fact, it is Catterall who has behaved more aggressively so far by grabbing Taylor’s neck at the first press conference and slapping him on the back of the head at the second presser.

Of course, the rivalry with Taylor-Catterall is not identical to Froch-Groves. Taylor is coming off a defeat to Teofimo Lopez in New York last June where he lost the WBO strap.

Meanwhile, since signing with Eddie Hearn and Matchroom, Catterall has won two fights in a row against Darragh Foley and the legendary Jorge Linares.

Taylor is now 33 years old and there are some who believe his best days are behind him.

At one point ‘The Tartan Tornado’ was ranked as one of the top pound-for-pound boxers in the world by Ring Magazine.

After flooring Jose Carlos Ramirez twice en route to winning a close decision and capturing all the belts at 140 lbs in 2021, Taylor was touted as a potential opponent for Terence Crawford at welterweight.

But if he fails to perform in the rematch against Catterall, retirement is a possibility.

Ironically, when Froch beat Groves for a consecutive time, he did hang up his gloves. So April 27th might be Taylor’s last hurrah regardless of the result.

Still, what also makes Froch-Groves and Taylor-Catterall seem alike is the perception that both of the a-side fighters had an off night in their respective first encounters.

After all, Froch and Taylor were strong favorites by the bookies, mainly because on paper they had greater resumes than their opponents.

Before Froch clashed with Groves, he was a multi-time world champion who had beaten most of the top fighters in his division such as Andre Dirrell, Mikkel Kessler, and Arthur Abraham, only second to Andre Ward who defeated him in the Super Six world boxing series final.

Likewise, Taylor was already undisputed, having beaten Regis Prograis in the super lightweight version of the Super Six tournament.

In a nutshell, Froch was heavily favored to beat Groves and was fortunate to defeat him the first time before winning in emphatic fashion the second time around. Therefore, is there a chance Taylor-Catterall could follow a similar pattern?

Dan D’Alessio is a boxing journalist and fitness enthusiast. When Dan is not behind his desk writing articles, he is smashing pads, kicking a ball or lifting weights at the gym