On June 1st at Madison Square Garden Katie Taylor from Bray, County Wicklow in Ireland will face Belgium’s Delfine Persoon with all four major world Lightweight title belts on the line. This will be Taylor’s 14th professional outing.
Persoon, who will be taking part in her 45th pro bout, has held her WBC belt for 5-years and made nine successful defences, before that she held the IBF title and also the fringe world WBF and IBA titles briefly.
While Persoon has the advantage in experience, it is Taylor that will enter the ring as the betting favourite on fight night, such is the manner in which she has won her first 3 belts from Anahi Esther Sanchez (WBA), Victoria Noelia Bustos (IBF) and Rose Volante (WBO).
So far, Taylor’s high work rate, fast feet and hands and heavy punches have been too much for her opponents. With 6 of her 13 opponents failing to hear the final bell, it appears that she is not a one punch knockout artist, but she makes up for this with a work rate no-one is yet to match. She has the high level skills that you expect from an Olympic gold medallist, judging the distance perfectly to take a small step away and then land hard, fast counter punches as her opponents over-reach. When her opponent is unwilling to come to her, Taylor applies high volume pressure and gradually breaks down her foe.
Over in America, Claressa Shields became the first undisputed female middleweight champion with her win over Christina Hammer and instantly acclaimed herself the greatest female boxer of all time. There are plenty of experts that see Katie Taylor as the holder of that honor even before she faces Persoon.
At 32-years of age, Taylor does not have the career time in-front of her that the 24-year-old Shields does to add to her accomplishments. The American won 2 Olympic golds and has won world titles in 2 weight divisions in only 9 professional outings so on paper she has achieved far more but that doesn’t mean that P4P she would be rated higher than Taylor.
It is a debate that will go on for a while yet.