It’s fair to say that there are many powerful people who want to see Katie Taylor fight at the headquarters of the Gaelic Athletic Association, Croke Park before she retires. The latest influential figure to try and broker a deal to see the undefeated Taylor fight in Dublin’s fabled stadium was none other than Conor McGregor.
Taylor not scheduled to fight in 2023 yet
The MMA star recently met with Taylor’s promoter, Eddie Hearn, in a bid to find a way to cover the financial shortfall that comes with fighting at Croke Park. For all of McGregor’s enthusiasm towards the matter, when Hearn flew back to London in February, there was still no official plan in place to fight at the iconic stadium and no opponent pencilled in to go toe to toe with Taylor.
As for the way forward over the coming months, perhaps one of the most revealing indicators of what might happen this year can be found in the boxing betting markets which are always up to date with regards to future match-ups. Indeed, if you’re looking to place a boxing bet on the year’s biggest fights, the sad reality is that of late February, you still won’t see Taylor’s name among the latest odds for upcoming bouts in 2023. Right now, the only headline match involving other international stars that have the same status as Taylor involves Anthony Joshua who is priced at odds of 1/12 to beat Jermaine Franklin in April. Granted, that will be an entertaining fight, but what the world really wants to see is Taylor in action whilst they still can.
With no current date scheduled, it is, undoubtedly, a frustrating situation for every boxing fan and in all likelihood, one that will stay unresolved until a solution is found to raise the outstanding expense that stadium security would cost at Croke Park.
You can re-watch the ‘biggest fight in women’s boxing history’ in its entirety!
💥 Katie Taylor v Amanda Serrano 💥
📱💻 @BBCiPlayer & @bbcthree 22:00 (BST).#BBCBoxing #TaylorSerrano
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) May 5, 2022
Understandably, given what security costs, it is a sizeable barrier in the way and one that isn’t going to be solved by relying on the goodness in people’s hearts. Making fights happen in professional boxing at the highest level, does, after all, come down to feasibility and profits; if the numbers make sense then it goes ahead. At this stage, Hearn’s fear is that if he concedes in his negotiations with the Irish government and GAA and pays the outstanding amount needed to host a fight at Croke Park, then the event could run a loss owing to the rent that the stadium’s organizers currently want.
This isn’t to say that the door is totally shut on Taylor fighting at Croke Park but rather that the cost means that significant ground is going to have to be yielded by all parties in order to get this event over the line.
Is it time to move on and instead focus on celebrating Taylor’s brilliance?
But in the event of no deal being reached, should it matter that Taylor doesn’t fight at Croke Park? It’s an important question given that the narrative around the saga is getting to a point where it may be, in some way, synonymous with Taylor’s career whilst the reality is that this is a boxer who should be remembered for her unprecedented achievements in the ring.
“This year especially has been an exceptional year for Irish sport”
Katie Taylor reacts to winning the 2022 RTÉ Sportsperson of the Year award: https://t.co/JEmkEh4cS7 #rtesport pic.twitter.com/YuIqfFYojs
— RTÉ Sport (@RTEsport) December 18, 2022
Put differently, it would be an injustice for this sideshow to dominate the headlines given that the whole point of Taylor coming back to fight in Ireland is so that the undisputed lightweight champion can retire on home soil. Whilst Taylor is committed to defending her belts in 2023, the Bray Bomber will turn 37 in July which is the average retirement age in professional boxing.
In short, history tells us that the end is not too far away which is why there is precious little time for the politics of the sport to dominate headlines.
In essence, it doesn’t matter where the final homecoming takes place in Ireland, so long as it is a fitting celebration of one of the greatest athletes in the world following a career that inspired millions.