Katie Taylor won’t want a war as she seeks revenge in rematch, but Chantelle Cameron will

Taylor v Cameron 2: Irish boxer stripped back her fight week to relative simplicity, just like in her amateur days

On Wednesday as Katie Taylor was climbing into a makeshift ring in a shopping mall on Dublin’s west side, promoter Eddie Hearn was mulling over her decision to trigger a clause in her fight contract with Chantelle Cameron.

Bruised and bloody after suffering her first professional defeat last May against Cameron in an event billed as “the home coming”, Taylor was leaving the 3Arena and Hearn brought up the issue of what her next move might be.

He mentioned that an option would be to exercise a clause in the contract for a rematch. Before Taylor had got out of the lift and into her car, she told her promoter what to do.

“Exercise” the contract she instructed and left.


For a crushed Taylor, the impulse was to get her defeat issue fixed as quickly as she could. In terms of career opportunity, it may not have been the best decision, although, for peace of mind, the Cameron beating had to be righted. She had held on to her world lightweight titles (135lb) and is still the undisputed champion at that weight, but defeat to Cameron at 140lbs didn’t sit well.

“Tactically, from a business perspective, probably a bad decision,” says Hearn. “Come back down [in weight], fight Amanda Serrano, or come back to Dublin, fill it up still, against a lesser opponent, drag it out a little bit…”

Not only did Taylor want the rematch as soon as it could be arranged, but insisted they again compete at 140lbs, Cameron’s preferred weight. Any demand that Cameron shed weight to meet Taylor at lightweight wasn’t entertained. The Taylor hubris was in full swing.

“No, she [Taylor] said, ‘I lost at 140’. It’s the same as Canelo [Álvarez] when he boxed [Dmitry] Bivol,” says Hearn. “‘Why would I drag him down to my weight? If I beat him, everyone’s going to go, Ugh, you dragged him down to 168 [from 175].’ If Katie loses, she’s still the champion down at 135. But she won’t care. She won’t even feel like a champion.”

Hearn had read Taylor accurately and that is what this week is about. It is not about the seven-figure sum she will take away. It’s not about filling the 3Arena and it’s not about the super lightweight belts on offer. It’s about the standing and character of Katie Taylor. It’s about the legacy she wants to leave behind. It’s about the need to win and the feeling of alienation that creeps in when she is beaten, a phenomenon that has occurred so few times she can remember all of them.

Before the Cameron defeat Taylor hadn’t lost for seven years, not since her final amateur fight in the 2016 Rio Olympic Games against Finland’s Mira Potkonen.

“I think she’s a great fighter, a great champion. If I was in her shoes, I would have wanted the rematch straight away,” says Cameron. “To make sure I do know my wrongs and put them right. But wrong opponent. So, I think she’s a true champion. She’s seeking her revenge, but against the wrong opponent, the wrong woman.”

By the time the Cameron-Taylor round two promotion and its contrail of managers, sparring partners, family members, officials and TikTok diarists had moved from Liffey Valley’s public workout and swung into Dublin city centre at the Dublin Royal Convention Centre on Thursday afternoon, Taylor was in fight mode. For the sharp-sighted, Cameron’s name is placed first on the promotional material and above that of Taylor.

No longer interested in the cut and paste fight talk, or the respectful exchanges that normally pepper Taylor’s pre-fight banter, her placid nature was replaced with an atypical impatience to move as quickly as possible from answering questions on the raised stage, directly to the boxing ring. She said all she wanted to say, answered four questions and let her coach Ross Emanait do the heavy lifting.

“There’s no pressure on us, nobody here thinks we’ve got a shot so we’re here to prove everybody wrong and we’re ready for the fight and looking forward to it,” said the Connecticut trainer.

“Losing sucks… nobody wants to be there. It was a long time since she had a loss. She’s always hungry and she’s definitely hungrier. Like I said we’re in a much better place, we had a great camp and there’s not much else to do than show up Saturday and fight.

“It’s a rematch, they’ve seen each other before so there’s not gonna be much feeling-out, I’m sure they’re gonna get right into it. I’m sure they’re coming right after us but we’ll see on Saturday. I can tell you this: We’re ready and we’re looking forward to it.”

Taylor has never been in such a precarious position, never experienced being displaced as an unbeaten champion, while everything that is taking place is relatively new to the former kickboxer Cameron, who has moved from being a wide-eyed Taylor fan 189 days ago to her biggest threat.

Taylor has supersized the English woman’s career, earned her a lot of money, brought more people to watch than she ever had and put her on the top of the bill as a headline act.

For that Cameron is grateful. Perhaps, though, not Taylor. Two weeks after the last meeting, Cameron sent Taylor a message saying what an honour it was sharing a ring with her and that she hoped she was okay. As Cameron tells it: “I’d probably be feeling a bit rubbish so it was just a message to say I’m grateful for the opportunity.”

Taylor didn’t reply.

“I know Katie,” says Hearn. “Some might see that as a disrespect. It’s not. It’s I ain’t friends with you. I’m about to rematch you. My next three or four months will be driven by my desire to beat you. So, I ain’t replying.”

Both boxers claim they will be different animals this time round with Taylor sticking to her plan of blocking off all distractions, withdrawing as far as possible from the provocation of media quizzing and cutting back on promotional work that, under normal circumstances, Hearn would insist on her doing. She is not going about things the same way and expecting a different result. That would be fatal.

“How much did the toll of the build-up of ‘the homecoming’ take on her last time?” Hearn asks rhetorically at Friday’s weigh-in. “I don’t think it was the reason she lost the fight. But it definitely hampered her performance. This time she has just said no. It’s not even negotiable. I’ve not even asked her to do stuff she should be doing. It was a flat no. You will see a different mentality, a different body language on Saturday.”

That non-negotiable face was on Taylor again during the weigh-in. She arrived with a bearing and an attitude. Few smiles, no words exchanged, then off the stage and gone in minutes. A throwback to her amateur days when she withdrew from the glare for long periods because she could.

Taylor won’t want a war, but Cameron will. Speed, movement, endurance can win it for her. The challenge for Taylor is to sustain it for 10 rounds.