Ramirez vs Taylor: who will be crowned king?
This Saturday night, live from the Virgin Hotels in Las Vegas and on ESPN, an epic battle between two undefeated fighters will take place. All five titles (WBC, WBA, IBF, WBO and Ring Magazine) will be in play when José Ramírez (26-0) collides with Scotland Josh Taylor (17-0).
In the past as in the present, boxing has allowed politics to stand in the way of fighting. This one didn’t have such problems as both fall under the same umbrella.
A few years ago, the WBSS was created with the aim of bringing the best to compete.
The concept of a Super Lightweight tournament to emulate Showtime’s “Super Six” was initially well received. Promoters and managers doubted the tournament would go off without a hitch. Although a virtual stranger, Josh Taylor was able to place himself in the tournament while Jose Ramirez did not.
Some say it was better for Ramirez not to participate because WBSS was not built on an established platform. Later, we saw the WBSS run into funding issues that validated the concerns of many. The tournament benefited Josh Taylor, however. “The Tartan Tornado” faced one of the best Super Lightweight of the time (Regis Prograis) in the final. This event was well received and caught the attention of purists and the boxing world. This match was played at an extremely high standard as both men gave it their all. With one eye completely closed, Taylor was still able to clinch the victory by close decision.
Winning the tournament certified Josh Taylor as a major welterweight player. As Taylor progressed through the WBSS, Jose Ramirez was making his own claim within the division.
After beating Amir Imam (21-1) in March 2018 to win the WBC title, Ramirez had an impressive run. He faced the following: Antonio Orozco, Jose Zepada, Maurice Hooker and Viktor Postol. If that’s not a row of tough fighters to face, then I don’t know what it is. In each of these fights, Ramirez was seen as the underdog. He didn’t let that affect his focus while proving time and time again that he belonged to this scene.
While this fight deserves a full crowd, due to COVID restrictions, it will have a “boutique style” setting at the Virgin Hotel. Boxing fans were unhappy that they couldn’t attend. Along with that, many felt that the fight lacked the promotional support it rightly deserves. However, with a busy month of boxing already, any promotional tools used would have been wasted. Everyone’s attention was on Canelo and the Fury versus Joshua talks. In addition, the preparation for events has changed and the weeks of combat seem to be the ones when the avalanche of media is pouring in. This fight will continue to be the talk of the week and when the bell rings there will be a ton of excitement for this one.
Let’s take a look at each fighter and see what we can expect on Saturday night.
When Jose Ramirez proposed Freddie Roach, it was clear that he took the offensive approach first. Although Freddie brought Jose to the championship level, moving on and hiring Robert Garcia when he did was the best decision for his career. Jose needed extra attention and Robert was able to provide it. The Robert Garcia Boxing Academy is the perfect place for Jose Ramirez. He has shown growth in the last few fights. Jose’s counterattacking ability has really improved with the in-ring adjustments he makes with each fight.
In this one, Jose may have to put the pressure on early instead of allowing Taylor to pick up the pace. Unlike Prograis, Ramirez has some bounce and head movement to go with his arsenal. It won’t make it easier for the Scotsman to land. Ramirez should also keep the fight at a medium distance, as Taylor tends to be successful inside and out. Jose needs to establish that left jab early and focus on the body to slow Taylor down. It won’t be an easy task, which is why it’s such a good game.
I probably typed this part a few times as I just couldn’t come to terms with a solid choice. It will start as a battle of positioning the feet. At the start, there won’t be a ton of gusts but a few “oohs” and “ahhs” from the leader and against 1-2 punches from the two men. After about the third round, both fighters will start to open up as they try to press down on the action. I think the first half of the fight will favor Taylor while the second half will favor Ramirez. After giving it a lot of thought, we’ll either get a draw or a very slim decision for Jose Ramirez, who will host the rematch in the fall.
For the Josh Taylor part of this article, I reached out to Colin Morrison. Colin is a Scottish writer and has closely followed Josh Taylor’s career from the start.
Now a household name among boxing fans the world over, Josh Taylor, originally from Edinburgh, Scotland, is one step away from becoming the undisputed 140-pound division champion.
Like many fighters, Taylor’s 2020 campaign has been severely disrupted by the global pandemic. He pulled off a fight, but his first round knockout in September of mandatory IBF challenger Apinun Khongsong (16-1) left us with more questions than answers. At the end of 2019, Taylor separated from the Cyclone Promotions group to join Top Rank. Following his departure from the McGuigan stable, his training relationship with Shane McGuigan was severed. Taylor has teamed up with former Tyson Fury chief cornerman Ben Davison, but we don’t have enough competitive action to analyze to form a solid opinion on any wrinkles or stylistic changes Davison could have made. in the Tartan Tornado arsenal.
We all know Taylor doesn’t mind fighting up close and getting involved in all action fights. Should we expect him to do something different against Ramirez? From what I’ve seen, this style is preferred by Ramirez as well – it has served him well as the American holds the WBC and WBO titles and is on the cusp of unchallenged status as well. While I have no fear for Taylor in a fight with Ramirez, I do think Davison will tactically ask Josh to start this fight using his boxing skills. This could give the Scottish southpaw a few first laps on the cards and force Ramirez into high-risk mode as the contest progresses.
As we know, Taylor is an efficient hitter and one of the best active body punchers in boxing today. I believe his fluid punching combination will grab the judges’ attention, again putting pressure on Ramirez to give up all nuanced boxing and go out of his way for a knockout. This would suit Taylor down to the ground and provide him with opportunities to take Ramirez out during the latter stages of the fight when more end-to-end exchanges are inevitable.
After praising Taylor in my paragraphs above, you won’t be surprised to learn that my prediction is Taylor by late stopping. While I have great respect for Ramirez and his trainer Robert Garcia, I am of the opinion that Taylor is a cut above in all aspects of boxing. By boxing and moving, Taylor can frustrate Ramirez, and once the fighters come close from within, he can break his heart by demonstrating that he is also the best representative of Ramirez’s preferred approach.
This match should be up to the task – it’s a big night for boxing and one of the best fights of the year. Laying the groundwork by boxing early, Taylor can really showcase his trench reel skills as the fight enters its final stages. I have no doubt that when this is all over it will be the Scotsman who leaves the Las Vegas ring as the undisputed 140-pound champion.
Abe’s three cents:
The month of May provided some very good fights. It’s only fair that we have this one to add to the very busy month. This fight will make big notes because the promotional train has left the station. Will we have the instant classic that this fight seems to be heading towards? Can “The Tartan Tornado” sweep Vegas and collect all the belts? Will José Ramirez finally receive the respect he deserves among boxing purists and media?
Connect to ESPN, ESPN Deportes or ESPN + on Saturday 8:00 p.m. EST / 5:00 p.m. PST to catch this mega fight.