Wednesday 24 July 2019

Jessica McCaskill went to bizarre lengths in goading Katie Taylor into title fight and this could be just the start

Katie Taylor, left, and Jessica McCaskill square off after weighing in at the Courthouse Hotel in Shoreditch, London, ahead of their WBA Lightweight World Title fight. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Katie Taylor, left, and Jessica McCaskill square off after weighing in at the Courthouse Hotel in Shoreditch, London, ahead of their WBA Lightweight World Title fight. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Cormac Byrne

It wasn't as nearly chilling as the severed horse head Don Corleone used in The Godfather, but it had the desired effect.

In Francis Ford Coppola's 1972 film, the mafia boss uses the "gift" of a severed horse's head to intimate film producer Jack Woltz into giving his godson a part.

In her quest for a crack at Katie Taylor, Jessica McCaskill sent a plastic chicken to the Bray woman's training camp in June.

Speaking about the incident, Taylor's manager Brian Peters said: "Hilarious. That's what we want. Rivalry is great for sport and the biggest problem Katie has had is the lack of dance partners. Finding the right opponent hasn't been easy."

The 33-year-old called out the Irishwoman earlier this summer by posting a video on Youtube calling out the 'missing' Olympic champion and producing a milk carton with Taylor's image on it.

The American got her wish and will face-off against the London 2012 gold medallist tonight at York Hall in London with the WBA lightweight title up for grabs.

The normally impervious Taylor was clearly perturbed by McCaskill's incessant antics: “She hasn’t left me alone for the last year.”

Taylor's meteoric rise through the pro ranks and the foot-perfect way that rise has been managed by Eddie Hearn and his team means that she will become a greater target for fighters looking for their time in the limelight and a crack at the title.

While McCaskill's goading has been pretty harmless, Taylor should expect barbs to become increasingly personal in nature with lesser fighters anxious for a big payday.

The only chance of Katie meeting a fighter with anything resembling her star appeal is if Holly Holm or Ronda Rousey swap the Octagon for the ring.

Read more: Everything you need to know about Katie Taylor's first world title defence against American Jessica McCaskill

She must swat away her other challengers until a financial package is put together to tempt one of the above pair into taking her on.

Until then, she can expect to be on the receiving end of insults and call-outs.

If anything, these tactics build interest and create some hype around fights and the chances of Taylor surrendering a psychological edge because of them are about as remote as the possibility of a shock later tonight.

There is no doubt that McCaskill has earned a shot at Taylor and she is expected to cause the champ some issues but her 16/1 odds reflect her chances of wrestling the belt away from its current owner.

The Chicago native has been doing a lot of talking but just below her mouth is her chin and that is going to be severely tested tonight.

Online Editors

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