Josh Taylor will follow in the steps of his late forebear, Ken Buchanan, when he travels from his native Scotland to New York City this summer to defend his WBO 140-pound title against Teofimo Lopez.
There is, of course, one major difference between Taylor’s circumstance and that of his esteemed predecessor: Taylor expects to win his fight.
In 1972, Buchanan, regarded as one of Scotland’s finest athletes and its first undisputed boxing champion, voyaged over to America to fight Roberto Duran only to suffer a controversial defeat when Duran nailed him with a low blow at the end of the 13th round. Buchanan was unable to emerge from his corner after the break.
Buchanan passed away earlier this month at the age of 77.
“My fight with Teofimo Lopez ends up the same way, except it’s me knocking him out,” Taylor told analyst Mark Kriegel during an ESPN broadcast of a 135-pound bout between Shakur Stevenson and Shuichiro Yoshino at Prudential Center in Stevenson’s hometown of Newark, New Jersey. “I’m completely 100% confident that this fight doesn’t go past six to eight rounds.”
Taylor-Lopez is set for June 10 at The Theater at Madison Square Garden.
The ESPN segment was the first official “face-to-face” encounter between Taylor and Lopez, who appeared via satellite as he was in Las Vegas attending the UFC 287 card featuring headliner Israel Adesanya.
Both fighters are coming off career letdowns: Taylor struggled visibly in a controversial win over Jack Catterall last year. Lopez has not looked the same since his upset loss to George Kambosos in their lightweight title unification bout in 2021.
Kriegel asked both fighters to assess the other’s last performance.
“He didn’t look too good in his last fight,” Taylor said of Lopez’s decision over Sandor Martin last December. “But I’m not preparing for that last performance. I’m preparing for the best version of Teofimo Lopez. But still, that won’t be enough to beat the likes of myself. He’s gonna say the same thing about my last fight, and my last fight was a pile of dog’s dung as well.”
“It don’t matter,” Lopez said of Taylor’s performance against Catterall. “To be honest, it don’t matter. Who he fought was Jack Catterall, who’s southpaw. I’m orthodox. So, I’m looking forward to putting on a show like I always do. Put him in front of me and I’ll beat him.”
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