Tuesday 19 February 2019

Comment: Katie denied support she deserves in a man's world

'Katie is well entitled to equal billing.' Photo by Lawrence Lustig/Sportsfile
'Katie is well entitled to equal billing.' Photo by Lawrence Lustig/Sportsfile
Billy Keane

Billy Keane

There was a time when queens defeated their opponents by beheading them downtown in The Tower. Katie Taylor, the Queen of Boxing, cut up the bloodied German Nina Meinke at Wembley Stadium on Saturday.

Meinke lasted seven rounds. She is a solid, honest fighter but has nowhere near Katie's pedigree. Our Katie made women's boxing an Olympic sport. Sometimes the hype is real, and Katie is the Queen of the World.

Katie was in a hurry to finish the Wembley job. It was Round Seven and she won the previous six handy enough. Meinke's corner men delayed the beginning of the end with a basketball time out.

Katie showed her annoyance. Enough was enough. She threw so many punches it was hard to keep count. Katie has faster hands than a three-card trick man. No card was pulled from the bottom of the deck but our girl was ruthless, as you have to be.

Katie drew blood. Meinke's right eye was swelling up already in to a bulb. She was cut above the eye and swollen below the eye. The right side of her face was raw. The fight would not have been stopped if Meinke was a man.

Even though I was cheering on Our Katie I was uncomfortable with the sight of a beaten woman. It's the boxing contradiction isn't it? Love the girl but not sure about the sport. The referee was a sensible man. Katie seemed relieved rather than ecstatic.

The damage done to Meinke's face resonated with scenes from some of the domestic violence we bar-people sometimes witness late at night when violent men stay undefeated against defenceless women. Is it just me or will this pose a problem for women's boxing?

When Katie won her Olympic gold medal and nearly all of those world and European titles, the fighters wore protective head-gear.

Anthony Joshua was in a terrible state in the penultimate round of his world title fight later on that night. If he was a woman, the fight would have been stopped. But it wasn't and Joshua won a fierce fight against Wladimir Klitschko.

Is this some sort of discrimination then on my part in not agreeing to the beating the sh*t out of women? I believe the ref was right to stop the fight.

I've met Katie once or twice, briefly, and she is a lovely girl who has time for everyone. The sight of a someone hitting a hurt and defenceless opponent on the floor is for drunks and druggies outside the club and chipper on a Saturday night.

Meinke was not badly hurt and Katie boxed with some skill. She is very, very fit. Katie wears her cross. She thanked her coaches and God. There was no 'me'. She was at one with her corner on "the dream team". as she described them

Katie's fight was staged at tea time. The fight was not shown in most bars. It was €26.50 to get the fight on Sky for home viewing. I have long given up Sky in the pub. I can't afford to pay the soccer players' wages.

Katie is loved in her own country but no-one asked to see the fight. Her promoter Eddie Hearn described Katie as "the most exciting fighter on the planet". Close enough to the truth.

Yet you can be certain that if Conor McGregor had been fighting, the pubs would have been full. So who is the hero here and why?

Is it because Katie is a woman, we are not giving her the support she deserves?

Is it because she is a good girl who says her prayers? Is it because the punishment is limited? Right at the end Katie hugged Meinke and whispered twice in to her ear "good fight, good fight".

There were only a few thousand in the stadium when Katie fought. Think two games before the big match in Croke Park, with more gaps than a kid losing baby teeth.

Katie thanked Hearn. He at least has backed her financially. Katie is very well coached. But if this was tennis, the women would have gone strike. Katie should have been fighting before the full 90,000.

To be fair, Hearn did promise a big world title fight in Dublin, sometime in the late autumn or early winter.

Hearn is bringing her to America for her next fight this summer. Without his support Katie would never have made it to the Wembley world of glass ceilings and hard jaws.

Brian Peters will be involved in Ireland and you can be sure he will look after Katie.

We will keep backing our girl, despite the reservations about the marked face of Nina Meinke. Maybe it's just the dad in me but I do think women's boxing must show the way to the men.

What's next? Lions snacking on Christians with the winner being decided by a show of thumbs? UFC goes too far. The blood-lust must be kept out on the women's game.

Katie is back. I saw her fight live before Rio. The shoulder-generated power just wasn't there after a series of injuries. The Olympics were a disaster. She fell down, and got back up. Katie described her performance at Wembley as "scrappy at times" but "a massive improvement". I would go more with the massive improvement.

Katie was excellent. She has moved up to lightweight and is all the stronger for the extra bulk. Katie is well entitled to equal billing. Anthony Joshua was only just coming in to the stadium when Katie was leaving the ring. The big fight was hours away.

A Queen should never be the lady- in-waiting.

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