By Cormac O´Donell
“Resurrection is in my DNA” – was the mantra repeated by Katie Taylor ever since she challenged Chantelle Cameron for her Undisputed Super Lightweight titles in May of this year – and lost decisively.
Yet, it is not always our victories that define us – but how we take our losses and keep pressing forward.
This sentiment resonated deeply for both Katie Taylor’s quest for boxing greatness and the collective experience of the Irish people during a week overshadowed by tragedy in Dublin.
Redemptions have rarely tasted so sweet as Taylor’s emphatic win over Chantelle Cameron in the 3Arena in Dublin, Ireland last night.
When the 2 fought in May of this year, Cameron put it on Taylor. Whilst it was at times a close fight, Chantelle won it by a clear margin and deserved all the flowers she received.
Yet, Taylor is cut from a different cloth. Every particle of her physical and spiritual being screams “Victory” and a rematch to prove her worth was a foregone conclusion.
Fast forward to the November 25th, in a sold-out 3Arena in Dublin, Ireland.
Same place, same weight – but much different stakes.
Winning a rematch after a defeat solely depends on making the right adjustments from the previous fight. Here, Katie demonstrated what a good student is from learning some tough lessons and acting accordingly.
Gone were the endless media engagements of fight week, gone were the lengthy ring walks; this time around it was straight to business.
Before the bell sounded in Round One, Katie Taylor was itching to press forward and show Chantelle Cameron and the world exactly what she is capable of.
Taylor demonstrated a very effective gameplan. Slip and Jab at arm’s length on the outside, move forward on the inside with heavy flurried hooks to the head – and clinch to nullify a response. In doing so, Chantelle Cameron was unable to get into a rhythm and let her shots go.
These shots damaged Cameron early on. By Round 3, a deep cut opened on her left forehead and a nick appeared on the side of her right eye.
As the rounds went on, Taylor stayed the course, pouring on the sauce with flurries. Chantelle Cameron had her moments, but Katie was the aggressor and decisively winning most of the rounds.
By the time David Diamente read out the Judge’s decision – it was clear that Taylor deserved her unanimous decision win.
After the fight, Katie Taylor described her mindset leading up to the fight: “That was the longest 6 months of my life waiting for this rematch – all I was ever thinking about was this rematch.”
“Whoever wrote me off obviously doesn’t know me very well. I was nearly offended that I was the underdog going into this fight – don’t ever doubt me!”
“In the last fight, you seen the worst of me and it was still a close fight. Tonight, you seen the real me and when I box – nobody can beat me.”
Has a champion ever had more class than Katie Taylor after a loss – or victory? She not only gave Chantelle Cameron her admiration, acknowledgement and respect; but offered her the biggest ever female fight in a possible trilogy fight at Ireland’s national stadium of Croke Park.
“It takes Two to Tango and Chantelle Cameron is a phenomenal fighter and a phenomenal champion and she deserves everything she gets.”
“To have a Trilogy will be great respect for both of us. I think that’s exactly what we both want. She’s a legend herself and I don’t think there’s ever been a Trilogy in women’s boxing; this is going to be the first.”
If the noise was through the roof tonight – it’s best to take that roof off and let 82,300 people join in on the spectacle – as Katie demanded “Let’s get the Trilogy in Croke Park!”
What a night: A sold-out crowd, a competitive rematch, an even bigger trilogy fight to look forward to, 1-1 between 2 great champions, the jubilation of the Irish crowd; it rarely gets better than this.
Most importantly, with every successive fight Katie Taylor has, the importance of women’s boxing continues to grow.
Through classic battles with dance partners such as Delfine Persoon, Amanda Serrano and Chantelle Cameron – it may well be that the defining aspect of Taylor’s legacy is playing a crucial part in elevating the profile of women’s boxing to that of men.
On a more poignant note, Katie Taylor’s glory and her role as the people’s champion shone a ray of hope in Ireland after a dark and tragic week for the nation’s capital.
Through Katie’s victory, we all won as Irish people; no matter our place in the world or what we’ve experienced – even if only for a moment. This matters.
An inspirational figure for any generation – or any nation, Katie Taylor offered her final words of hope before leaving the ring: “You learn the most from your failures and your losses – and I think that’s where all the growth happens.
I’m as grateful for the failures as I am for my victories.
You’re only a failure if you give up. Go, go again and never give up.”