It’s time to give “The Tartan Tornado” his flowers.
After hovering close to the top 10 rankings in recent years, Josh Taylor (18-0, 13 KOs) finally made it to the pound-for-pound party following a brilliant unanimous decision win over fellow unified junior welterweight champion Jose Ramirez in their long-awaited undisputed championship bout.
Becoming just the second fighter in the four-belt era to win all four titles at 140 pounds, Taylor showcased a perfect balance between boxer and puncher as he floored Ramirez twice and largely kept the fight on his own terms by taking away his opponent’s jab and operating in the mid-range.
The lanky southpaw, who previously unified titles by outlasting Regis Prograis in a 2019 thriller, has gained worldwide notoriety within the sport the old-fashioned way by taking on difficult challenges and, in the case of the Ramirez fight, traveling from his native Scotland to Las Vegas in pursuit of a career-defining victory.
A recent union with trainer Ben Davison, who helped guide heavyweight champion Tyson Fury’s comeback in 2018, has turned out to be a fruitful one as Taylor took on far less damage against Ramirez than he did in the Prograis fight while showcasing brilliant footwork and an increased focus on body punching.
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Taylor, who owes a mandatory title defense to unbeaten Jack Catterall of Great Britain, is not without big-name options moving forward. Promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank would prefer matching him against unbeaten WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford while Prograis, currently a promotional free agent, took to social media to share his hope for a rematch of their majority decision.
Given how loaded the 135-pound division directly below currently is, Taylor could also see himself eventually building toward a showdown against unified lightweight champion Teofimo Lopez Jr., who has talked in the past about targeting the winner of last weekend’s fight.
Either way, Taylor appears to be a very major player in and around his weight class and, at age 30, continues to get better.
Dropped out: Gervonta Davis
Honorable mention: Davis, Jermall Charlo, Artur Beterbiev, Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, Jermell Charlo, Roman Gonzalez, Shakur Stevenson