Amir Khan believes Josh Taylor’s career will catch up with him on Saturday in his rematch with Jack Catterall.

The long-term rivals finally fight again, at the First Direct Arena in Leeds, little over two years after one of the modern era’s most notorious scoring controversies ensured that Taylor was awarded a split-decision victory to retain his undisputed super-lightweight title on an evening in Glasgow on which the Scot was widely considered to have been outboxed.

Saturday’s fight is a non-title contest and will demonstrate how much Taylor, at 33 and after a succession of injuries and not always living with the discipline of a world-class athlete, still has to give. The 30-year-old Catterall knocked him down when they fought in 2022, and Taylor has since fought only once – when sacrificing the last of his world titles, that of the WBO, in defeat by Teofimo Lopez in New York.

The retired Khan has not only repeatedly sparred Catterall, he is among Taylor’s predecessors as a world champion at 10st, and knows how it feels to enter a fight at the highest level in a state of physical decline. 

Khan was never the same after he was knocked out by Saul “Canelo” Alvarez in 2016, and yet he fought on until 2022, when he was retired by Kell Brook and by when in a fight with Terence Crawford he had also been stopped. Like Taylor he is recognised as one of Britain’s finest fighters, but he said: “Josh Taylor’s had a lot of wars in his career. I know that, being in that same position – towards the end of my career I started feeling that. 

“Josh Taylor’s had a long career as a professional. He’s had hard fights with big, tough opponents. I don’t think he’s got it in the tank anymore. I like Josh Taylor – he’s a friend of mine – but I just don’t think he has that spark anymore.

“He was one of the best out there at that time. When did they do the undisputed title – 2020? You’re talking four years later. It’s a long time. In four years a lot can happen. You change as a fighter; you get older as a fighter. He’s not gonna be the same fighter he was before. It was a hard fight as well, against Catterall – mentally it got in his head as well. Thinking is he still the champ he was before? Did he really lose that fight or did he really win that fight? I got Catterall winning the fight.

“[It’s a] wicked fight. It’s a good fight – you don’t need the title to sell the fight. A lot of people are going to say Taylor, because Taylor has more experience and fought the better names. But with Catterall – I sparred Catterall loads of times. He was a sparring partner with me back in the day, and he was very unorthodox; he’s awkward; throws punches hard, and he knows how to work the inside. Catterall, what I like about him is he throws them long shots and gets on the inside; he’ll work you on the inside and he’s got a great trainer with Jamie Moore. I know how hard Jamie used to train. 

“I see [my former trainer Oliver Harrison in Moore]. I love Jamie and I trained alongside Jamie even when he was with Oliver, and he was a professional as well. I saw how he speaks to his fighters with a very gentle voice; he explains things nice and slow; not to rush. I’m the type of guy that’d say a million things to a guy; if you say one or two things like Oliver, then you’ll do those one or two things.

“I know one thing about Catterall is when he comes into this fight he’s going to be more than ready. He’s going to be more than fit – he’s not going to feel tired. He’s coming to war. He was cheated, in my opinion – he was cheated in the last fight. So this time he’s going to want to take revenge in a big way.

“I got Catterall winning the fight – on points.”

Taylor has come to rival Khan and Ricky Hatton – another of his predecessors as a super-lightweight world champion – as one of Britain’s finest ever at 140lbs, but Khan, speaking on behalf of Wow Hydrate, said: “Both me and Ricky probably would have been a bit too much for him. Not to sound disrespectful – I respect him a lot. 

“But he’s having problems with domestic fighters. No disrespect to Catterall, who I think one day will get [back] to world-title level, but we were maybe one or two steps aside.”