The 31-year-old from Prestonpans was putting his light-welterweight world belts on the line against the challenger from Chorley and could not find a way through the 28-year-old for much of the fight, who put in a cool, calm and collected display of boxing to silence the majority of the crowd at the OVO Hydro in Glasgow.
However, when the judges’ scorecards came in, Taylor won the fight on a split decision to leave many observers stunned, given Catterall’s dominance.
Both men came into this match undefeated (Taylor 18-0, Catterall 26-0), with the home fans expecting their man to prevail in what was his first fight on Scottish soil for nearly three years.
However, Taylor put in a lacklustre first half of fight as he struggled to find a way through the defences of Catterall, who landed a number of accurate punches to put Taylor in discomfort.
Catterall – nicknamed El Gato – dominated the opening six rounds, outscoring Taylor, with the Scot looking tense and vulnerable.
Taylor had strolled through the majority of his fights since entering the paid ranks, but this one had the hallmarks of a night in Nevada in 2017 when he toiled with Mexican Alfonso Olvera. That night, he managed to pull through, winning by unanimous decision, but this bout was proving tougher.
The Tartan Tornado did improve in a messy seventh round, but with a cut eye, he was now in serious danger of losing his WBA (Super), WBC, IBF, WBO and The Ring light-welterweight belts.
Referee Marcus McDonnell had to speak to both boxers throughout the fight, but gave them both a stern talking to before the eighth round.
Catterall then landed a significant blow, sending Taylor to the canvas with a left-hander as the Scot teetered on the brink of defeat. Catterall tried to end the fight there and then with another blow, before Taylor responded with a flurry of punches to try and turn the tide.
With the score seemingly in Catterall’s favour, Taylor went into the ninth round knowing he needed to pull out the stops. He took the ninth round to the Englishman, upping the pace with a big left blow as McDonnell had to intervene again to stop the fight becoming scrappy.
Catterall lost a point the tenth round for one too many infringements as he started to undo some of his good work earlier in the fight. Taylor had recovered his poise, but with only two rounds left, time was running out.
Catterall’s corner told him to stay focused and he took the sting out of Taylor’s recovery to leave the Scot looking like he required a knock-out, his cause not helped by a point taken off for a shot to Catterall’s stomach after the bell which was borne out of frustration.
Taylor appeared to have under three minutes in the final round to hold on to his belts and while he gave all he had left, Catterall held firm. But, when the judge’s cards were counted, they came in at 113-112 in favour of Catterall, 114-111 in favour of Taylor and 113-112 in favour of Taylor as he clung on to his belts.
"It wasn’t my best performance,” said Taylor afterwards, “but I thought I’d done enough to get the win. I knew I’d won the fight.
"Catterall put up a good show, but he never won the fight.”