Taylor vs Jonas: Big Fight Preview & Prediction
The wall of sound that greeted Katie Taylor and Natasha Jonas in London in 2012, will be replaced by an eerie uneasy silence in Manchester on Saturday night. The deafening noise of that fight was one of the most memorable moments of those Olympic games, and an iconic moment for women’s boxing. A 10,000 strong packed arena, 113.7 decibels recorded, the Irish and the Liverpool faithful united in voice, the two fighters joined in harmony chasing glory and history.
Taylor prevailed and went on to win the Gold medal, Jonas went away cursing her luck at the unfortunate draw. It was a fight that deserved to be for a medal, this weekend they fight again, this time with everything on the line.
Both Taylor and Jonas are class acts inside and outside of the ring. Even in the obligatory pre-fight words, the mutual respect is obvious. With a built-in narrative and the talent of the fighters on display, the fight needs little effort to sell. It should be the main event, it’s the fight for every belt while the heavyweight attraction at the top of the card is a fight to join a long queue to fight for what will be by them, a fragmented belt.
Taylor (17-0) has done nothing wrong in her career, the early apathy and indifference to her, has long gone. A fighter of the highest order, Eddie Hearn calls her as close to unbeatable as you can be. Taylor has largely been credited with changing the landscape of women’s boxing, and is undoubtedly one of the best female fighters on the planet, if not the best. A two-weight world champion, the now undisputed world lightweight champion, a quite incredible resume as a professional, never mind her accolades as an amateur. The Bray native is a special and rare talent.
There have been suggestions that she is slowly starting to decline, the two Delfine Persoon fights the main evidence for the jury to consider if that is true or not. I don’t see an obvious decline, although after a long career the miles on the clock will at some point take their toll. Persoon, with that Zombie like never-ending come forward style, showed vulnerabilities. Taylor was extremely fortunate to win both fights, it quite easily could have been the other way around.
If nothing else, Persoon showed Taylor is beatable. The question is, will Jonas be the one to do it?
Jonas (9-1-1) proved she is world class in her terrific fight with Terri Harper last August. When the deserved rematch with Harper failed to materialise, Jonas faced an uncertain future with very little space for her at super-featherweight as Harper and Matchroom chased unification. But her patience and persistence has been rewarded with the golden ticket dance with Taylor.
It seems improbable that Jonas will win, but not impossible. The team is incredibly confident that they will spring the shock. The fragile confidence of the aftermath of the defeat to Vivian Obenauf in 2018 is long gone. Having spoken to Jonas on a number occasions over the past few weeks, there is a real conviction that she will win, a real edge in her demeanour. People inside the camp have also said how good she is looking, including the power in her punches. Jonas knows she will have to better than she was against Harper, the signs are that she will be. The whole team are carrying an air of knowing something we don’t.
But will she get a fair deal from the judges. They are paid to find the worthy winner of a fight, too many times recently we have seen anything but. Even when the correct arm is raised, the margins of victory seem way off the mark. Champion, challenger, home or away fighter, fighters need to be treated the same and judges need to score what they see. Subjective shouldn’t be an excuse for something else.
Team Jonas are quite rightly concerned, understandable, especially after the injustice from the Harper fight. But it might spur her on to even greater heights, knowing she has to do more to remove all doubt in the minds of the judges.
The safe and sensible pick would be Taylor, all known form suggests the titles won’t change hands. But sometimes there is a sense of an upset in the air, and maybe it is my heart talking rather than the head, but I think the Liverpool fighter might just pull it off. Her greater power could be the difference.
Jonas unquestionably needs a good start, anything else and it will be a very long night for her. Despite being the older fighter at 36, Jonas is in her prime physically and mentally and on Saturday night I believe we will see the best version yet. Jonas talks about the timing being on her side, she might be right. Jonas came back to the sport for something that was missing, she needed that inner peace, to satisfy the hunger. Saturday could give her everything she wants and needs.
I think Jonas can win, maybe with the help of a knockdown along the way, I see the challenger doing enough to have her hand raised at the end of a titanic fight that will be another great advert for women’s boxing.