37-year-old fighters rarely win rematches. It goes against genetics.
Katie Taylor is hardly normal.
Not even close. Taylor was an underdog for the first time in her career last weekend.
Her opponent, Chantelle Cameron, was confident. She had come to Ireland six months before and handed Taylor her first professional loss.
The loss pained Taylor, but her inner determination burned.
“Failure causes you to analyze things a bit more,” said Taylor to reporters a few days before fight two against Cameron. “You are forced to look at every single detail. In that aspect, it’s always a good thing.
“The last fight doesn’t consume me. I don’t think a loss is that big of a deal. Even after the Rio Olympics loss… you’re so heartbroken, you’re disappointed, but you focus on the next one. I don’t wallow in self-pity too much. The next day [after the fight with Cameron), I was surrounded by family. I went back to training that week – I was preparing for the rematch that week.”
Taylor also heard the doubters. She was too old and worn out by close to 200 amateur and professional bouts. This comment carried some merit. Though winning, Taylor hadn’t looked that good recently. Think of an actor phoning in a performance.
Or maybe she was bored. She needed a challenge.
Enter Chantelle Cameron. But six months ago, Taylor wasn’t herself. She was flat. Cameron pushed her around and beat her. No doubt.
Taylor was herself last Saturday night. She was sharp and got off first in most rounds. She also was smart, holding when needed.
Her lead was obvious after six rounds. Rounds seven and eight were tough. Though bleeding, Cameron wasn’t going anywhere.
Taylor dug down deep and found that extra reserve only the greats have. She won the last two rounds on guile and guts.
The decision was hers.
“I was nearly half-offended that people were writing me off so much,” said Taylor after the fight. “It’s great to prove people wrong.”
David Benavidez and Demetrius Andrade also had something to prove last weekend. Was Benavidez really a monster? Have fighters been ducking Andrade for years?
The answer to the second question is – I don’t know. Andrade is talented – and he showed it for two rounds against Benavidez. In round three, everything changed.
A monster emerged. Benavidez started systematically beating Andrade down. It wasn’t subtle. His power is thudding. He dug to the body consistently before moving his attack upstairs – strafing Andrade with wicked uppercuts and hooks. The train was going downhill.
Andrade looked stunned. He’s a former two-division champion. Undefeated.
“David’s definitely a hell of a fighter,” Andrade said. “I tried to become a three-division world champion. That’s not far-fetched. David was the man tonight.”
And then some. An overhand right floored Andrade in round four. Benavidez pummeled Andrade for two more rounds until his corner said enough.
“I think I just solidified myself as a dominant force here,” Benavidez said. “Who wants to see me versus Canelo? Now just give me the fight that we all want to see. Who wants to see Benavidez versus Canelo?”
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