Tuesday 15 October 2019

'Katie Taylor will be the first genuine Million Dollar Baby' - Irish hero raking in the cash

Katie Taylor weighs in at Madison Square Garden
Katie Taylor weighs in at Madison Square Garden

Harry Clarke

Katie Taylor's manager, Brian Peters, has claimed the Bray boxer will become the first "million dollar baby" in women's boxing - but has warned she faces the real deal in Madison Square Garden tonight.

Taylor faces Belgian Delfine Persoon as she bids to make history and be the first Irish boxer to become an undisputed world champion, holding the WBA, IBF, WBO and WBC belts simultaneously, as well as a new belt presented by 'Ring' magazine to mark the achievement.

Olympic champion Taylor has transcended women's boxing with the purse for tonight's bout the biggest in the sport's history.

"Katie Taylor will be the first genuine Million Dollar Baby," Peters told RTE Radio's Drivetime.

"Katie is getting paid more than any female fighter in history, and rightly so.

"She's a big draw, a big star and puts on a hell of a performance."

Federal Police inspector Persoon (34) has been the WBO belt holder since April 2014. She is unbeaten since 2010 when she was stopped by fellow Belgian Zelda Tekin – but the result has to be viewed in the context of Persoon's decision to discharge herself out of hospital where she was been treated for dehydration a couple of hours before the contest.

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She is unbeaten in her other 43 fights and she achieved more knock-out wins (18) than Taylor has had fights. She is currently ranked the number one lightweight in the world by Box Rec with Taylor at two, but this is only her second fight outside Belgium.

"Every time Katie fights everyone expects her to win," added Peters.

"This is different. This lady has had 43 fights. She's a long-standing champion, a lot of dirty tricks, a lot of experience.

"She has more knock outs than Katie has fights."

Even though Taylor is by far the highest paid fighter in women's boxing, she is not motivated by the money.

"I'd fight Delfine Persoon for nothing if I knew I would be crowned the undisputed champion. But I wouldn't say that to Eddie Hearn," she remarks.

Persoon ewill earn the biggest purse of her career on Saturday, but her probable six-figure cheque doesn't interest her. Indeed, she plans to donate most of it to her beloved BTH boxing club, who are building a new clubhouse.

"The money has never been important to me. I have my job and my house and if I have to stop boxing tomorrow it is not a problem because I have everything I need," she said.

"For Katie, it's her job, which makes it more difficult for her if she loses.

"Boxing is my passion, I didn't become a professional boxer to make money," said the 34-year old police inspector.

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