In a week that saw a four-belt world title fight hit the big screen in endless negotiation, Josh Taylor played Jose Ramirez in a thrilling way to bring about that rare and sacred thing in boxing: an undisputed world champion.
When Taylor was announced as the undisputed junior welterweight champion, it was a moment to enjoy. The fact that it was a stunning back-and-forth encounter made it even more special when Taylor, who put pressure on Ramirez in rounds six and seventh, won the judges by 114-112 on all three point cards.
It was exactly what boxing needed to improve its credibility after the disappointment and frustration that resulted from the breakdown earlier this week in confirming Tyson Fury against Anthony Joshua for all four world heavyweight titles.
Taylor made his name in the history books by becoming the first British boxer to win all four major world titles in a high-profile bout that swung both ways at the Virgin Hotels in Las Vegas.
Round six was a belter and eventually swung the bout when Taylor sent Ramirez face first into a corner when the Scot slipped a shot and landed a blister to the left of Ramirez’s chin. Taylor (18-0, 13 KOs), 30, of Edinburgh, Scotland, who came into the ring as the WBA and IBF champion, made further progress in game seven when he uncorked a stunning left uppercut to give Ramirez for a second Send referee count down.
Ramirez (26-1, 17 KOs), 28, of Avenal, Calif. Who was WBC and WBO champion, then came back roaring in eighth, finishing the race strong, working his way back from the edge and getting up late on the lap the rounds snapped up battle.
At a time when YouTubers, novice boxers, and retired legends have become major stories of last year in their fifties, opportunities like Taylor-Ramirez are just the sport’s pick-me-up, at least from a mainstream standpoint. Two of the best boxing operators who are unbeaten and compete for the highest stakes and then live up to the pre-fight hype. Boxing needs more fights like this one. – Nick Parkinson
What this win means for Taylor
Taylor’s triumph is one of the best performances by any British boxer on American soil, and it will spark bigger, money-making fights for him. Taylor doesn’t enjoy the same fame or fortune as Britain’s greatest boxing stars – two rival world heavyweight champions Fury and Joshua – but there shouldn’t be an argument that if Taylor becomes the undisputed champion, then he is also Great Britain. s best pound-for-pound boxer ahead of Fury and Joshua. Anger was on the ring, cheering Taylor with a front row seat to enjoy his accuracy and aggression.
This was only the seventh world title fight with four belts since 1988, and Taylor is the fifth man to hold four belts after the successes of Ukrainian Oleksandr Usyk [cruiserweight, 2018] and American Terence Crawford [junior welterweight, 2017], Jermain Taylor [middleweight, 2005] and Bernard Hopkins [middleweight, 2004-5] which united all four versions of the world title in the ring. Some would also consider Teofimo Lopez falling into that category with his slight title win against Vasiliy Lomachenko last October, though the semantics of the WBC’s “franchise” label make matters more complicated.
Taylor also became Scotland’s first undisputed world champion since Ken Buchanan performed the feat of lightweight in 1971, and the first Briton to ever win all four world titles. The 75-year-old Buchanan is reportedly currently living in a dormitory, and Taylor told ESPN ahead of the Ramirez fight that if he won, he would try to visit Buchanan and show him the belts.
Taylor could remain the only British man to have accomplished the feat for a while, with closest competitors drawing their attention elsewhere; Fury will now fight Deontay Wilder for a third time, while Joshua is seemingly on track to fight Usyk. – Parkinson’s
Jose Ramirez and Josh Taylor have to be separated in the hallway after facing each other near the elevator.
Everything went according to plan for Taylor
In the post-fight press conference with Ramirez, there was a lovely moment of sportsmanship that showed how good Taylor’s game plan was. Ramirez was asked if he would be choked in clinches if he got too close to Taylor and he looked past the small group of reporters and confirmed Ben Davison, Taylor’s coach.
All week Davison and Taylor wanted to use Ramirez’s aggression against him and get inside his head. Taylor nudged him with words and even sparked a small argument after the weigh-in on Friday. In the ring, Taylor was looking for an advantage between strokes to optimize Ramirez, and it worked. Ramirez even admitted to being “too nice” at times, especially when he didn’t protect himself when he went out of the clinch on round seven, resulting in knockdown.
Taylor did a wonderful job balancing distance and aggression, and knowing when to cross the line, throughout the week of the fight and especially the night of the fight. It was an all around masterful approach and the results speak for themselves. – Ben baby
What’s next for Taylor?
If Taylor wants to hold on to all four belts for the foreseeable future after unifying all four belts, he must first deal with a mandatory defense against England WBO contender Jack Catterall before considering a rematch with Ramirez. That will be asked after the couple fought such a brilliant fight.
Catterall agreed to step down for Taylor against Ramirez and a defense of the undisputed championship against Catterall at home in Scotland will be attractive to Taylor, but not on the order of the Ramirez fight.
Taylor will have bigger options for a next fight than the English boxer, and he might decide to give up one or more of the belts for a bigger fight that could potentially include a Ramirez rematch. But the biggest fights are probably over 140 pounds.
Outside of a Ramirez rematch, Taylor is left with nothing in the junior welterweight division, and he might instead decide to leave the greener pasture division all behind.
There are bigger names and paydays at welterweight than junior welterweight, and now that WBC and IBF welterweight champions Errol Spence Jr. and Manny Pacquiao meet in August, WBO champ Terence Crawford is still looking for that career-defining one Struggle. Top promoter Bob Arum already put the idea of a fight between current (Taylor) and former (Crawford) undisputed 140-pound champions around this fall.
Taking on an undisputed champion is exactly the name Crawford (37-0, 28 KOs) of Omaha, Nebraska has longed for in his record, and adding a division has always been on Taylor’s agenda. – Parkinson’s
What’s next for Ramirez?
Ramirez was on the verge of winning the undisputed World Junior Welterweight Championship that he had long dreamed of. But a late riot was not enough to overcome a few defeats.
Despite his first loss on his pro career, Ramirez should still be in the mix to regain at least one of the 140-pound belts by the end of the year. If Taylor breaks his belt and welterweight to take on Crawford, there’s still a chance Ramirez will crack a title.
In the post-fight press conference, Ramirez ‘manager Rick Mirigian hinted at a future championship opportunity in the near future as well as a possible welterweight rematch between Taylor and Ramirez. Given how good the fight on Saturday was, there should be an appetite for a second fight between them. – Infant