Katie Taylor vs. Chantelle Cameron - Fight Night Preview

By David Payne
 |  5 mins
8E3DFB6F-93D4-478C-99D9-112C2BB6C04E  Fact Checked by Mark Fordham
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Katie Taylor vs. Chantelle Cameron - Fight Night Preview

Ever since Katie Taylor, now 22-0 (6ko) and the undisputed champion of the Lightweight division, first put on a headguard and ducked between the ropes, the then-12-year-old girl from Bray, County Wicklow, has been liberating women’s boxing from the restraints placed upon it by the vagaries of tradition and misogyny. 

She began by overcoming the resistance to her participation, boxing first as a ‘boy’, and then in the first sanctioned female bout to take place in Ireland, aged 15. Taylor would win Gold at the Olympics in 2012, the debut for women’s boxing, and took that acclaim and five Amateur World Championships to begin the journey towards the all-time sporting great she has subsequently become.

Her bout with Chantelle Cameron on Saturday night is the latest chapter in a storied career that has trampled on the established notions that women cannot sell tickets, deliver TV audiences or headline major events. The fact it may yet prove to be the toughest fight of Taylor’s six-year career only adds to her legend and reflects on her self-belief and a willingness to take risks to achieve her goals. 

Taylor is stepping out of her familiar Lightweight division and into Cameron’s 140-pound class, where the 32-year-old from Northampton is the undisputed champion, which is likely to even things up with the best boxing betting sites. This is the type of fight men’s boxing routinely fails to put together. First, in the rarity of an undisputed champion and secondly in pitching two of them together without delay or drama. Bookmakers are offering a range of markets on this fight, reflecting the transcendence of Katie Taylor’s name and the competitiveness it promises.

Cameron a Replacement Better Than Most

As fight week unfurls, it is important to remember that Cameron is a replacement opponent following Amanda Serrano’s withdrawal from the highly anticipated rematch with Taylor. The pair deserve enormous praise for making a fight both could have chosen not to pursue in favour of easier opponents in a quest to ‘build’ interest in facing each other.

Rightly, Taylor is a favourite with betting sites, with 8/13 the best available on an outright win. They are odds that recognise the depth of competition she has faced, her talent, tenacity and the home advantage she will enjoy. It will be a raucous Irish crowd that welcome the distinguished pair to the 3Arena Dublin on Saturday. 

However, there are reasons to consider alternate outcomes. Cameron is 13/8 for the outright win with some betting apps. She is more than an opponent here, and there may be value in betting against the favourite and with Cameron’s relative youth.

Now 36, and with punishing contests against Serrano and two with Delfine Persoon committed to record, there will be a point in time when Taylor is evidently less than she once was. Eager prophets have declared that invisible peak to be long since passed, the profits they hoped would follow did not materialise - Taylor has, so far, always found a way to win. 

Against Serrano and Persoon the margins were particularly narrow and the fights brutal. Staying with Taylor’s prodigious work-rate is usually too much for all but the best, even in the 2-minute rounds still imposed on female fighters. The knockouts don’t always follow Taylor’s dominance.

In the first bout with Persoon, there were many who felt Taylor had enjoyed a generous outcome - 96-94 cards from two judges with a 95-95 from the third. Persoon was thwarted, just, and offered evidence that both Taylor’s grit – which she would need to eke past Serrano in a Fight of The Year candidate in 2022 – and her willingness to trade, regardless of her advantages in skill, could ultimately lead her into a brawl she may lose.

Despite her decorated amateur career and her polished boxing ability Taylor remains stubborn in her style - electing to trade and box at close quarters. In doing so, she sacrifices some of her technical ability. She has faith in her own work-rate, power and fitness, but her lust for combat could yet be her undoing.

Can Taylor Stave off Father Time?

Cameron could be that fighter. She is four years Taylor’s junior, although their professional debuts were only six months apart, taller by three inches with a similar advantage in reach. Her best win was against rugged American Jessica McCaskill, a fighter with sufficient power to still be undisputed Welterweight champion despite defeats in lighter classes, a 10-round loss to Taylor in 2017 among them. 

It represented a huge benchmark performance for Cameron, who solidified her standing as a premier fighter and boxed with confidence to hurt McCaskill, and largely nullify her advantages of strength, punching power and exposing her lack of amateur grounding.

There are stylistic similarities between the two: Cameron is a busy fighter like Taylor and likes to punch in combinations too. She varied her output well with McCaskill - a stiff left jab caught the lunging American frequently - and she would either then move off to force her opponent to reset or stay in the pocket and try to land hard hooks on the inside. It kept McCaskill off-balance and frustrated her too. It looked like an accomplished amateur fighting a less seasoned, if bigger, opponent. Much as it had when Taylor beat McCaskill in 2017. 

Taylor did have a point deduction for holding but still claimed clearer cards. This is a McCaskill who upset the great and then unbeaten Cecilia Braekhus twice to become, and remain, Welterweight champion.

Betting on the upset requires a theory that Taylor is ageing, that the move up in weight passes advantage to her younger opponent, and that she faces an opponent more equally skilled than perhaps the Irish woman has faced to date. 

It also requires that Taylor’s home advantage doesn’t impact the scorecards as her partisan support cheers every punch she throws, and Cameron will not wilt under the pressure of “the fight I [she] has trained all her life for.” The atmosphere could be worth a round alone.

How to Bet on this Bout

This is Taylor’s homecoming fight. The first significant fight in Ireland in seven years. Beyond this lies the championship rounds of Taylor’s career – perhaps the Serrano rematch and other blockbuster fights. She risks much. It is part of her appeal and the appeal of women’s boxing.

Form and common sense insist that the fight will go the distance. The two-minute rounds increase that prospect, and neither fighter has been able to compile knockouts in the past, even in dominant wins they share only 14 early finishes in 39 fights. 

Most likely is a points victory. And on the cards, given the grit Taylor has shown to close the show against teak tough Serrano at Madison Square Garden, and the vociferous Irish support all around her, it is hard to conjure sufficient Cameron dominance to get the nod.

Tactics will be important. Cameron may opt to be mobile early, to make Taylor chase and punish that lust for a fire fight from the outside. Others have had success doing this, even in defeat, and few were as competent and well-schooled as Cameron. It is easy to assume Taylor will try to use the crowd’s energy to prey on any nerves Cameron may hold and puncture her game plan early. She will want to entertain. She always does. Much will be revealed in those opening moments.

Cameron’s freshness may be a factor in the middle rounds if she is intact and on-plan after the opening exchanges, but I expect Taylor’s experience and sheer bloody-mindedness to reclaim the impetus later in the fight. 

Another characteristically hard-fought points win for Taylor is unexciting with the bookmakers at 5/6 with BetVictor and Parimatch, but it represents a reasonable return on the favourite by the outcome most common in high-level women’s championship fights. 

90/1 on Taylor to win by stoppage in the 10th with some UK betting sites, while eye-catching, is indicative of the 10-round distance and the two-minute rounds that impact the potential for stoppage outcomes. 

The more narrow 12/1 available for the draw across the market confirms the competitiveness of the matchup and could tempt those who like Cameron but recognise the power of home advantage in such a noisy arena with so much invested in the Taylor story as the face of female boxing. 

The pick is a Taylor win on points at 5/6, and perhaps, to add a frisson of jeopardy to the later rounds, a small investment on Taylor to overwhelm a wilting Cameron in the 9th or 10th with those huge round odds. Cameron is similarly wide on the round betting.

DAZN will broadcast the fight with ring walks scheduled for 22:00 GMT on Saturday May 20.

David Payne has been a boxing writer and reporter for two decades. He has featured at TheSweetScience.com and is a regular contributor to LoveSportRadio. You can find his latest news, opinions and insight at BoxingWriter.co.uk.

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