“It’s been a good few years of Josh Taylor’s name being mentioned. More than anything I wanna fight him but I’m just sick of talking about him. Fucking hell,” Jack Catterall said with a laugh before launching into his final set of media interviews. 

Whisper it, but if things go as he hopes on Saturday night, he may never have to speak about Taylor ever again.

No more needs to be said. More than two years of backbiting and arguing have passed since Taylor retained his undisputed super lightweight title with a controversial split decision victory over Catterall.

The animosity has given way to cold professionalism. When Catterall and Taylor came eye to eye at Thursday’s quiet press conference, it felt like the air had been sucked out of the Queen’s Ballroom in Leeds and the entire room fell silent. Face-offs used to be simple photo opportunities but have gotten longer and longer and more and more ridiculous as promoters and media outlets wait for one of the fighters to break and provide that all-important clip of content. This was an old-fashioned, serious stare down. 

“I saw him today. I saw him at the public workout and he didn’t have anything to say. I saw him at a head-to-head on Tuesday night and there were no words said,” Catterall said. “I think it’s peaked. There’s been so much said that I think we’re both of the understanding that it’s time to settle it in the ring on Saturday. I’m here for it.”

The first fight between Catterall and Taylor was a scrappy but drama-filled affair which the overwhelming majority of viewers felt that Catterall deserved to win. Pre-fight hype has suggested that the bad blood and dislike which the judges scorecards generated will ensure that the rematch will be a better fight. By better, people tend to mean more exciting and explosive.

That isn’t Catterall’s way. The 30-year-old has spent his entire life creating the style and mindset which has led him to this point. Anybody doubting his level of patience should look at the way he has tolerated more than two years of questions about Taylor without snapping. He isn’t going to throw all of that away on the biggest night of his life. Catterall’s dreams all rest on him beating Taylor by any means necessary.

“I’ve gotta be [myself]. I don’t fight with emotion. I box how I box,” he said. “I box with intelligence and I box with smarts. Listen, if I hurt him and I see the opportunity, I’m gonna go for it but it’s gonna be a Jack Catterall victory and I don’t mind how I beat him on Saturday as long as I get the win.”

Whereas Catterall remained calm and steady from the first bell to the first fight, Taylor pressed forward with an element of desperation after picking himself up off the floor in the eighth round. His punch output didn’t increase but if we look for reasons as to why the judges decided to favor Taylor over the second half of the fight, maybe the change in body language gave them the impression that he had altered the tide of the fight. 

Earlier this week, Taylor told BoxingScene that he believes Catterall blew his chance of becoming a world champion by not taking advantage of him that night but Catterall insists that his tactics, thinking and reasoning were sound. The judges simply got it wrong. 

“I could see the finish line in the distance,” he remembered. “I’ve watched Josh fight before and I knew what he was capable of and how dangerous he could be. I believe I was well up after the halfway stage. For me, it was about being smart and not taking my eye off the ball. Don’t take any unnecessary punches and fight with discipline. I believe I did that. When you look back, everything looks different in hindsight and could I have won even more? Possibly. I still believe I won the fight.”

Catterall isn’t only consistent in the ring. He has been in the gym with Jamie Moore virtually every day since the first fight and whereas as he has continued perfecting his style and notched up routine victories over Darragh Foley and Jorge Linares over the past two years, Taylor left Ben Davison and joined up with Joe McNally in Liverpool. He then lost his unbeaten record to Teofimo Lopez and overcame a series of injuries. Catterall is unsure about whether that consistency could play a key factor in the fight but the overriding impression was that he is now beyond the point of caring. The fight is here and every remaining question will be answered on Saturday. 

“My sole focus is on me. Selfishly, I’ve improved myself as a fighter and I’ve put a lot of time and effort into it. We understand Taylor’s team has changed and that he’s had a lot of injuries but I’ve not taken my eye off the ball and I’m preparing for the best version of him. That’s what I’m expecting to turn up so when I do beat him, there are no questions asked.”