Reporting from Madison Square Garden.
Moments after Katie Taylor was named undisputed lightweight champion of the world, social media had erupted in cries of daylight robbery.
The decision was certainly debatable. Taylor and Delfine Persoon went to war for ten gruelling rounds of boxing and cases could be made for either fighter winning the bout, but to label the majority decision as “daylight robbery” is an overreaction.
This was not a robbery akin to that of Roy Jones Junior in the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul. This was an epic battle between two excellent fighters that could have been scored either way.
However, such is the hyperbolic nature of social media that it has become fashionable to pick an extreme and back it to the hilt. There is no middle ground; no playing devil’s advocate.
The problem with boxing, arguably more than any other sport, is that a lot of its results come down to subjective scoring. So too, unfortunately, does its social media analysis from some fans.
Distancing oneself from emotion in the immediate aftermath of such a gripping fight is a difficult thing to do, leading many social media users to post before thinking.
Despite admitting to watching possibly the best women’s boxing match of all time, many cried foul. That in itself is a direct contradiction. How can arguably the best fight of all time be so one sided that there was a clear winner?
Taking a stop back and actually analysing Sunday morning’s encounter, a definite case can be made for Katie Taylor winning that fight. She won the first round with the minimum of fuss, before becoming visibly unsettled by Persoon’s power and unorthodox style in the following rounds.
Persoon’s abrasive style probably saw her come out on top in some of the early rounds, and Taylor’s inclination to get close to her definitely didn’t help her cause.
— Brian O'Donovan (@BrianOD_News) June 2, 2019
But by round five, Taylor was starting to assert control over the fight. She was no longer engaging with the Belgian at close quarters, instead landing from range and ensuring she suffered no reprisal.
The middle rounds absolutely belonged to Taylor. The few shots that Persoon managed to land in those rounds were lethal, and probably form the basis for most people’s arguments that an injustice was carried out.
Again, that highlights the problem with subjective scoring. The average viewer will respond fervently to a crippling right hook, like the one that Persoon landed in the seventh round, but at the end of the day, one huge right hook does not equal ten well-calculated strikes.
Post fight stats from Taylor v Persoon - Persoon landed more punches but Taylor landed more power punches....her greater technical ability making her more efficient where it counted. pic.twitter.com/gaeOeKKqZi
— Sarah-Nell (@SarahNell84) June 2, 2019
Taylor landed ten more power punches than her Belgian opponent and also landed them at a higher percentage. She was technically superior throughout and did serious damage to Persoon’s eye midway through the fight.
Persoon, meanwhile, went on the assault with reckless abandon, often neglecting any defence whatsoever. She was doubtlessly effective and could finished the fight in the final round if she had more time. That does not automatically mean she won the fight though. There were nine other rounds in the bout and Taylor could claim to have won the majority of them.
The kneejerk reaction on social media, particularly Twitter, harshly claimed that Taylor had been resoundingly beaten and demanded a rematch. That is, at least, partially correct.
Speaking after the fight, Eddie Hearn told Balls.ie that Taylor was adament that if the result was in doubt then they must do battle again:
She said to me 'If there’s any doubt that I didn’t win the fight we’ve got to do it again.' She asked me, I told her that I had it a draw, and she turned around and said that we’ve got to do it again.
A rematch must happen, not because the result was such a travesty that it is required, but because the fight was so good that the public deserve the chance to see it done again.