Josh Taylor wants to finish the work George Kambosos Jr. started.

The WBO 140-pound titlist from Scotland will defend his belt against Brooklyn’s Teofimo Lopez on June 10 at The Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The fight has been pitched as a “make or break” moment, as both fighters have looked unimpressive in their last outings in the ring.

Taylor is coming off a highly controversial win over Jack Catterall one year ago, and Lopez has looked mostly pedestrian ever since he was upset by Australia’s Kambosos in their lightweight unification fight in 2021.

In an infamous moment, Lopez was caught questioning himself on live television shortly after the conclusion of his 10-round, 140-pound contest with Spain’s Sandor Martin last December at Madison Square Garden. Lopez won a split decision.

Taylor is betting that he can make another dent into Lopez’s confidence, going so far as to say he will retire the 25-year-old.  

“That [loss] he got from Kambosos certainly dented his confidence and his ego,” Taylor told Brian Custer on The Last Stand Podcast. “His ego has taken a massive hit. You can see he’s a bit mentally fragile, anyway.

“Me, with this fight, I plan on retiring this guy. I plan on giving him that much of a beating that he doesn’t think that he’s that guy anymore. He’s already got them doubts, I’m gonna cement them and retire him.”

The southpaw Taylor made it clear he still respects Lopez plenty as a fighter.

“Yeah, I just can’t wait for this fight,” Taylor continued. “You know, I just think that given his profile and his attitude and what he’s achieved in the sport as well—He beat [three division champion Vasiliy] Lomachenko. He’s a very, very good fighter. I was the fifth person in history to become the undisputed world champion in the four-belt era so I’ve got a lot of accolades to my name as well.

“He hasn’t looked great in his last couple of fights but I didn’t look great in my last fight either. He could say the same thing about me. He is a great fighter. I can’t say he isn’t. I would be talking nonsense if I said he wasn’t a great fighter. Yeah, I think he is a great fighter.”

Lopez recently made headlines for criticizing ESPN commentators Andre Ward and Tim Bradley, while taking issue with his promoter for seemingly giving preferential treatment to the Black fighters on their roster.

Sean Nam is the author of the forthcoming book Murder on Federal Street: Tyrone Everett, the Black Mafia, and the Last Golden Age of Philadelphia Boxing