The speaking is completed.
For the defending champion, so is the wait.
It’s been nicely greater than a 12 months since Jr. welterweight king Josh Taylor was final seen within the ring. It was the worst night time of his skilled profession. He suffered a knockdown, misplaced a degree, and escaped by the pores and skin of his tooth together with his crown towards Jack Catterall.
A minimum of he escaped.
Teofimo Lopez laid declare to the lineal light-weight throne when he defeated Vasyl Lomachenko and proceeded to develop into a poster youngster for learn how to burn a lottery ticket. A disastrous transfer towards Triller led to a near-year layoff and a loss in his very subsequent battle to George Kambosos. In two wins since, Lopez hasn’t recaptured his earlier kind, counting on predictable offense and a bit of luck with the judges in a slender win over Sandor Martin late final 12 months.
The world remembers Lopez-Lomachenko nonetheless. They keep in mind that he was purported to be one of many cornerstone abilities of a brand new period in boxing. They’ll tune in Saturday (ESPN, 10 PM EST) to see if he could make what was purported to be actuality once more.
Let’s get into it.
Stats and Stakes
Titles: Ring Journal Jr Welterweight (2019-Current, 3 Defenses); Lineal World/TBRB/WBO Jr. Welterweight (2021-Current, 1 Protection)
Earlier Titles: IBF Jr. Welterweight (2019-22, 4 Defenses); WBA Tremendous Light-weight (2019-Current, 3 Defenses); WBC Tremendous Light-weight (2021-22, 1 Protection)
Weight: 139 ¾ lbs.
Hails from: Haddington, Scotland
Document: 19-0, 13 KO
Document in Main Title Fights: 5-0, 1 KO
Final 5 Opponents: 111-0 (1.00)
Notable Outcomes, TBRB and/or Ring Rated Foes: Viktor Postol UD12; Ivan Baranchyk UD12; Regis Prograis MD12; Jose Ramirez UD12; Jack Catterall SD12
Extra Present/Former Titlists Confronted: Miguel Vazquez KO9
Earlier Titles: IBF light-weight (2019-21, 2 Defenses); Lineal World/TBRB/Ring/WBA/WBO/WBC “Franchise” Light-weight (2020-21)
Weight: 140 lbs.
Hails from: Brooklyn, New York
Document: 18-1, 13 Ok
Press Rankings: #2 (BoxRec), #9 (Ring), #10 (TBRB, ESPN)
Document in Main Title Fights: 2-1, 1 KO
Final 5 Opponents: 136-6-1 (.955)
Notable Outcomes, Ring/TBRB Rated Foes: Richard Commey TKO2; Vasyl Lomachenko UD12; George Kambosos L12; Sandor Martin SD10
Extra Present/Former Titlists Confronted: None
The Decide: Virtually nobody is choosing Lopez on this battle, a surreal improvement contemplating how excessive he was driving after his consecutive wins over Richard Commey and Lomachenko. If he’s going to get again to these highs, Lopez will want what bought him there. Lopez has a superb, agency jab, fast palms, and critical energy when he sits again and lets the counters come to him. In latest fights, Lopez has appeared anxious and confused at occasions, pushing for knockouts and never discovering them simply. He’s additionally been down in fights towards Kambosos and Sandor Martin, maybe a product of that over-commitment to offense with out a lot outlined technique to it.
In Taylor, Lopez will face an opponent who’s mature, affected person, and flat out imply. Taylor is a type of champions whose chippiness comes off the display screen. Taylor is each taller and longer than Lopez and has canny timing from his southpaw stance. He’s dealt with brute pressure within the type of Jose Ramirez; Taylor dealt with superior velocity and athleticism towards Regis Prograis. Taylor has proven the type of ring intelligence that means he received’t give Lopez sloppy alternatives.
For Lopez to win, he might must let Taylor lead and try and make Taylor pay for doing so. That may require an extended sport from Lopez of the kind he employed towards Lomachenko, pinning the veteran below his jab and daring him to get courageous. If Lopez can harm Taylor early and make him cautious, the route is there to win rounds and the title.
The considering right here is that Taylor’s bodily expertise continues to be underrated and he’s simply the higher, smarter fighter general. Taylor has fast palms, is aware of learn how to place punches nicely, and is likely one of the sport’s best second half battlers. He’ll do sufficient to maintain it shut within the first half and as soon as he solves Lopez the second half of the bout may develop into extra one-sided as Taylor begins to interrupt Lopez down. The decide is Taylor by determination in a battle that makes the Catterall battle a extra distant reminiscence.
Rold Picks 2023: 20-5
Cliff Rold is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene, a founding member of the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board, a member of the Worldwide Boxing Analysis Group, and a member of the Boxing Writers Affiliation of America. He will be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org