The next step has taken place in efforts to crown a true junior welterweight king.
Among the sticking points from one side is that such a fight actually takes place at the junior welterweight limit.
Representatives for unbeaten WBC/WBO 140-pound titlist Jose Carlos Ramirez are in the process of negotiating terms for a highly anticipated showdown with WBA/IBF champ Josh Taylor in a bout to determine divisional supremacy. The pair of undefeated and unified title claimants are coming off of wins in separate mandatory title defenses, with Taylor scoring a 1st round knockout of Thailand’s Apinun Khongsong this past Saturday in London, England.
Both boxers officially came in under the 140-pound limit, though Ramirez’s team has repeatedly called into question Taylor’s ability to cleanly hit the divisional mark.
“Taylor clearly didn't make weight for this fight and has had prior weight issues if you go back and look,” Rick Mirigian, Ramirez’s career-long manager told BoxingScene.com. “It clearly didn’t matter in those past fights.”
Outside observers will claim conspiracy theory, though there was one such instance in recent time where Scotland’s Taylor (17-0, 13KOs) caused drama at the scale. The 2012 Great Britain Olympian was thought to have made weight for his World Boxing Super Series semifinal clash with then-unbeaten IBF titlist Ivan Baranchyk last May, only for an error in converting kilograms to pounds showing that he was slightly over the limit.
Taylor made weight on his second attempt, going on to beat Baranchyk by unanimous decision to win the IBF title. Five months later came his hard-fought 12-round majority decision win over Regis Prograis to unify the IBF and WBA titles in addition to winning the WBSS junior welterweight tournament. Taylor made weight for the fight, while it was Prograis who needed two tries to hit the mark.
Still, there remains a growing concern—even if not widely shared—that Taylor will eventually outgrow the division and will struggle to make weight for as long as he remains at junior welterweight.
Ramirez (26-0, 17KOs) doesn’t plan on wasting any time in getting to such a fight, to the point of his handlers exploring ways to avoid a second straight mandatory title defense. The unbeaten champ from Avenal, California is fresh off of a 12-round nod over WBC number-one contender and former titlist Viktor Postol in August, with the WBO immediately ordering Ramirez to next face Chorley, England’s Jack Catterall.
The hope is for an exemption to be granted, to satisfy the growing demand for a showdown between Ramirez and Taylor. Among the points to be negotiated by Team Ramirez is the assurance that everyone makes weight the right way.
“Taylor misses weight against Ramirez and it will matter and it will cost him seven figures,” vows Mirigian. “He will have to stay out of the pubs. My orders are to get the Taylor fight done from Ramirez as I did with Hooker. I’m speaking with Top Rank to start that process.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox