Posted on 06/09/2023
By: Sean Crose
At thirty two years of age, he holds a world title, and hasn’t lost a one of his 19 fights. He’s also beaten one of the most talented fighters in his division and is mere hours away from facing a former world titlist. Yet WBO junior welterweight titlist Josh Taylor has not received the kind of praise and approving nods others in his position might have, had they been in his shoes. There’s no doubt that will all change tomorrow evening in New York City should the Scotsman defeat Brooklyn’s own 18-1 former multi-belt titlist Teofimo Lopez in their scheduled 12 round championship affair.
This fight is bringing in a lot of attention – and for good reason. Lopez was a power punching dynamo at lightweight, defeating none of than the great Vasyl Lomachenko en route to earning his title belts. Yet Lopez hasn’t been particularly impressive since that time, losing his title to George Kambosos in his first title defense and looking less than extraordinary since moving up a weight division to junior welterweight. What’s more, there’s been a lot of attention placed on the fact Lopez has claimed he wants to end Taylor’s life this weekend.
“I want to render this guy unconscious,” Taylor has said, while adding that “at the end of the day, you want him to go get back, recover, get well, be safe and sound and go to his family.” Taylor clearly wants to separate himself from his opponent this Saturday, both in terms of personality and in terms of ring talent. In order to do both, however, he must expect the best Lopez possible to slip through the ropes – and that Lopez can be an extremely challenging mountain to climb. Taylor, however, appears confident. At the very least, he hasn’t let Lopez get inside his head in the leadup to this weekend.
Should he win on Saturday, Taylor will have victories over Lopez, as well as Regis Prograis, who he decisioned a few years back, on his resume. That sort of thing – defeating two name fighters – doesn’t go unnoticed, nor should it. Whether or not Taylor will then be viewed as one of the top fighters in the business remains to be seen. First he has to beat Lopez, after all, and that CERTAINLY isn’t guaranteed…which, of course, makes tomorrow night’s fight well worth watching. Relevant matches between high level/high profile fighters is always a good thing.