by B.A. Cass
After beating Jessica McCaskill, Katie Taylor was criticized by Mike Costello and Steve Bruce of the BBC for what they viewed as a spotty performance. They were both unimpressed by her defensive skills and felt that she lacked ring intelligence.
The worst round for Taylor in her fight against McCaskill was the sixth. In that round, McCaskill landed a jab to the face that seemed to make Taylor wobble in place. It shouldn’t surprise anyone when a boxer gets hit in the face. But for a second, it looked like McCaskill might just stagger the great Irish Olympian and perhaps end up surprising the world.
However, McCaskill was unable to capitalize on her single moment of dominance. And what Taylor’s critics missed in this exchange is how Taylor was able to recover. Deftly slipping McCaskill’s subsequent punches, Taylor quickly moved out of range.
No one with any sense would argue that Taylor’s performance against McCaskill was flawless, but we must remember that this was her sixth fight of 2017. Since her professional debut just thirteen months ago, Taylor has fought a total of eight times, for a total of 52 rounds. Taylor’s second professional fight took place just three weeks after her first. The longest span of time between fights was three months.
Having forced Jasmine Clarkson, a younger fighter by nine years, to retire after just the third round, Taylor went onto to face the more professionally accomplished Anahi Esther Sanchez. After flooring Sanchez in the second round, Taylor defeated Sanchez by UD, a win that made Taylor the WBA World Lightweight Champion.
Taylor admitted that she got a bit wild in her recent fights, abandoning her hit-and-move strategy to engage with opponents at close range. Although never letting her heart reign too much, Taylor fights with passion. She steps into the ring to fight, not just to win by points.
As an amateur, Taylor was known for her hand speed, but her power has come as a surprise to many. Perhaps that’s because she doesn’t talk or look like a fighter. Outside of the ring, Taylor has a gentle manner and resembles one of those cartoons with pin dot eyes, a look that makes her seem far too innocent to be dangerous.
But we’ve seen her overwhelm her opponents in the ring, and there is no doubt she can fight. If the worst that can be said of Taylor is that she has some room for improvement, then it’s fair to say that she’s had a remarkable year.
Follow B.A. Cass on Twitter @WiththePunch