Butler, Hall Ready to Settle Score in Rematch
Conventional boxing wisdom says that when a younger fighter rematches an older one he’s already beaten, the younger fighter wins again, even easier.
Stuart Hall (21-5-2) is looking to prove that narrative wrong on Saturday night in Liverpool. The 37-year-old will face Paul Butler in a WBA bantamweight title eliminator, and the fight is a rematch of one Butler won by split decision back in 2014.
The fight is a pivotal one for both Brits. Hall is seeking redemption, not only against Butler, but against WBA champion Jamie McDonnell who he will face if he gets past Butler. And the 28-year-old Butler is fighting for the first time under his new contract with Matchroom Boxing. The event will be the biggest he’s ever been a part of.
In an interview with FIGHT SPORTS, Butler (22-1) said that he has watched big Matchroom events over the years and dreamed of being a part of one like this.
“As events go, this is the biggest event for me so far. Not long after I joined Joe Gallagher, Crolla-Linares I was on. And I remember coming out of the arena thinking, I want to be a part of these big events. I want to box on shows like this. Next Saturday night is my first time to box on one and I’m looking forward to it.”
And though his back is against the wall against a man he’s lost to, Stuart Hall feels that the bright lights will get to his opponent more than they will to him. He has the confidence of knowing that the first fight between them was razor-close, and that his preparation has him ready to dominate in the rematch.
“All the pressure is on him,” Hall said. “It’s in Liverpool, in front of all his fans. He’s just come over to Matchroom. And the first fight was very close. I thought I did enough to win…I’ve got a new team behind me. I’ve trained away from home, away from my children, my family. I cannot wait for this. I’m gonna win this fight — and I’m gonna win this fight in style.”
In the lead-up to the fight, Butler has promised to put on a show against Hall, even saying that he planned to end his rival’s career by defeating him again. Hall has taken offense to those statements, but he believes that Butler’s resume inside the ring doesn’t live up to the confidence he’s shown outside of it.
“I think he’s all talk,” Hall said. “You’ve got to look at the facts: the last time he was in a competitive fight was against me three years ago. He’s fought bums since then. He’s fought nobodies. I don’t know where he’s coming from with all this talk that he’s he’s going to win impressively. He’s going to lose. And I’m going to win impressively, then go and get the rematch I’ve always wanted with Jamie McDonnell.”
Of course, Butler has different plans. The former champion is now working with experienced trainer Joe Gallagher, and he has done what he didn’t do ahead of their first fight: prepare a gameplan. He has studied hours of footage of Hall, and he believes the changes he’s made since their first fight will make the rematch an even easier victory.
As far as Hall’s criticisms about the opposition he’s faced, Butler believes that his older opponent is simply trying to convince himself of something rather than truly believing it. When the two get into the ring, Butler says Hall will realize he’s in over his head right away.
“I honestly do believe he’s lying to himself,” Butler said. “He hasn’t boxed no one since he’s been beat. And that’s given him a little lift…but listen, I know what I’m doing in the gym. I know what I’m capable of. When we get in that ring, he’ll finally realize, all that talking, all that wondering if I improved, he’s going to realize.
“When I walk straight into the middle of that ring and pop that jab in his face, he’s gonna be thinking, ‘That was a different jab than last time. There’s a bit more venom on that.’ And when I’m sitting down on my shots more than I was the last time, he’s gonna know within the first minute that I’ve improved and I’ve improved a lot. It’s gonna raise a few eyebrows, especially Stuart’s.”
Paul Butler faces Stuart Hall in a WBA bantamweight title eliminator on Saturday, September 30th at the Echo Arena in Liverpool, England.