If there is one thing on which Josh Taylor and Jose Ramirez can agree, it’s that an undisputed junior welterweight championship between the two is a fight that absolutely has to happen.
There remains a bumpy road ahead, with the pair of unified titlist having to wade through murky waters just to retain their title status. Ramirez (26-0, 17KOs) is fresh off of a 12-round win over WBC mandatory challenger Viktor Postol in August, with a mandatory title defense versus WBO number-one contender Jack Catterall having already been ordered by the Puerto Rico-based sanctioning body.
Meanwhile, Scotland’s Taylor (16-0, 12KOs) has put the finishing touches on a September 26 showdown with the IBF’s top 140-pound contender, Thailand’s Apinun Khongsong (16-0, 13KOs). The unbeaten, unified titlist also holds the WBA crown, though with no such demands for a mandated title defense.
Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum has indicated that a superfight between the two won’t take place until 2021 at the earliest. Whenever it does, Taylor is hoping that it’s the one waiting for him after this weekend’s affair.
“If I do get through fight night next week, one hundred percent that’s the fight I want next,” Taylor insisted to ESPN’s Mark Kriegel in an on-air interview Saturday evening. “It’s not very often you get a fight for all the belts. It’s the fight I want next. I’m sure it’s the fight Ramirez wants as well.
“I definitely want that fight next and it has to be with fans as well.”
Taylor was an interested observer—from afar, of course—in Ramirez’ latest win over Postol.
“I wasn’t too impressed with what I saw from Ramirez,” insists Taylor. “I myself thought it was a draw. I thought Postol ran away with the early rounds and Ramirez came on late.”
Many regard Taylor as the best junior welterweight in the world, a stance that grew in stature following his 12-round win over Regis Prograis in their battle of unbeaten titlist in the World Boxing Super Series 140-pound tournament final last October in London. Taylor left the tournament with top honors and two belts in tow. Now comes the goal of collecting the rest.
“I want to be the undisputed king at 140,” notes Taylor. “I believe I’m the best, I have no doubt in my mind that I’m the best at 140. I just want to prove it to everyone else.
“I believe I’m the best. If [Ramirez] thinks he’s the best, he has to prove it against me.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox