It was a slick answer at the end of her post-match interview. Chantelle Cameron had just beaten, Katie Taylor and had already said they were planning a rematch.
Then Cameron added she was sick of defending her belts at 140 pounds — wanting to go and get other belts, too.
At this point, who would blame her? On Saturday, Cameron proved she is one of the best in the world — if not the best. She went to Ireland, Taylor’s home country, and came out with a majority decision win. And in many other places, it might have been a unanimous decision for the still-undefeated, still-undisputed junior welterweight champion.
Consider the last eight months for Cameron: She beat the then-undisputed welterweight champion, Jessica McCaskill, by unanimous decision. Then she beat Taylor on Saturday. Both fighters are ranked in ESPN’s pound-for-pound rankings. Taylor, who for a long time has been considered one of the two best fighters in the world, along with undisputed middleweight champion Claressa Shields.
Has there been a fighter — male or female — with a better last 12 months than Cameron? If there is, it’s a very short list. Who else can say they’ve beaten two reigning undisputed champions? No one.
Cameron deserves all the positive attention she’s about to get. She’s in her prime, taking on tough challenges and beating them. Other than Shields, who else could have a claim at this moment to being the best women fighter in the world?
The 32-year-old from Northampton, England did was previously thought to be impossible without a stoppage — beat Taylor in her first pro fight in her home country of Ireland. And yet Cameron did with a combination of power inside, relentless aggressiveness and a smart strategy to rarely let Taylor get comfortable in front of the partisan crowd.
Cameron has spent her entire career fighting at lightweight or junior welterweight, and the opportunities for her now are massive.
What should Cameron do next?
Cameron hinted at what’s next. If the rematch clause ends up being invoked, Cameron should take it. If she really wants to go after belts, she should drop down to lightweight and challenge for Taylor’s titles next.
It’s a weight she’s fought at before so it won’t be completely uncomfortable — although it hasn’t been since 2019, when she beat Anisha Basheel. If she were to go down to lightweight and beat Taylor, it would cement her at the best fighter in the sport, without question.
The other option would be to go up to 147 pounds and face McCaskill — now the unified welterweight champion — again. It’s not an unexpected path and something she could potentially do anyway after fighting Taylor. Those are the two most obvious fights for Cameron next.
A wild card would be if she decided to defend at 140 pounds next. Mikaela Mayer, who has had one fight at 135 pounds, would also be an interesting proposition. so too would be the undefeated Oshin Derieuw or perhaps Christina Linardatou, who is fighting Alycia Baumgardner in July for Baumgardner’s undisputed junior lightweight titles.
While any of those three would be good fights — and Mayer would be an eye-opener — Cameron made it sound like she wants to go get other belts, which would lead back to Taylor or McCaskill.
No matter the option, they are good ones for Cameron.
What about Taylor?
After the first loss of her career, Taylor will try to have a rematch against Cameron, although Cameron should have some more leverage over the undisputed lightweight champion this time around. It’s fair to wonder if what Taylor did was similar to what Canelo Alvarez did against Dmitry Bivol last year.
Canelo went after greatness — above his weight, against one of the best in the world — and lost. There’s no shame in that, much like there’s no shame in Taylor taking on the bigger challenge. It’s what makes boxing an exciting, powerful sport and should be lauded.
So it would make sense if Taylor wanted Cameron again. And at either junior welterweight or lightweight, it would be a fantastic fight.
If this doesn’t happen, there are two obvious options for Taylor: featherweight undisputed champion Amanda Serrano or Mayer. The rematch against Serrano, which was supposed to be the initial homecoming fight on May 20 for Taylor before Serrano withdrew due to an injury, would still be a big draw and would still pit undisputed champion against undisputed champion.
Serrano has said she would do the fight in Ireland, although going back to Madison Square Garden would make sense, too. Mayer is the wild card. She’d be a challenging fight for Taylor and, in theory, the mandatory challenger for the lightweight belts.
At this point in Taylor’s career, she’s said she only wants massive fights: Cameron, Serrano, Mayer or even Baumgardner would fit the level of fight Taylor would like.
What did Saturday give the sport?
For the past two years, the top women in the world have fought each other — and each time it has delivered a strong, compelling performance. Taylor-Cameron delivered on it again in another high-charged atmosphere showing what can still be special about boxing.
It’s something to be emulated, both on the men’s side and the women’s side. These are the fights fans want. These are the fights the top fighters often want. Continue to have them and holding on to the sacred theory of an undefeated record will go by the wayside.
Taylor is no worse for wear having a blemish on her record. She’s not going to be — and shouldn’t be — viewed any differently. Taylor and Cameron both took massive challenges and should be celebrated.
It appeared as if it was Saturday night in Ireland, which is something for boxing to build on for fights to come.
With victory over Katie Taylor, is Chantelle Cameron the best in the world?