The good news for Josh Taylor is that he will step into the ring on Saturday in Glasgow, Scotland to be greeted as a hero as he prepares to defend his undisputed light welterweight title against mandatory challenger Jack Catterall.
The bad news is that there will be plenty of these Proxies appearing shortly, and it will take a heroic effort to hold on to the belts.
Normally, the mandatory challengers aren’t the fights fans are looking forward to seeing. And no offense to the undefeated Catterall, who is 26-0 with 13 knockouts, few outside of his immediate family were hoping to see Taylor defend against him.
It’s a problem that plagues boxing to the core, because if a champion wants to keep his belts, he often has to fight unattractive and less lucrative fights.
In November, at the Michelob Ultra Arena in Las Vegas, Taylor was at ringside as WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford stopped Shawn Porter. Taylor was in demand from the media and spoke of his desire to step up to face Crawford.
But these proxies get in the way and prevent that.
“Yeah, it’s tough,” said Taylor, who along with super middleweight Canelo Alvarez is one of only two undisputed champions in men’s boxing. “It’s hard, you know, because you say, I really want to chase big fights, like superstar fights, and chase these other big names in the sport. But then I have a mandatory coming up for the WBC, then a mandatory for the WBA, then a mandatory after that, WBO, then the IBF.
“You can’t chase the fights you want. You can’t really chart your own career because you have these obligations. Otherwise, you are stripped of their belts if you don’t take them. And they’re all after their penalty fees as well. You know we have to make them money. It is therefore difficult to keep hold of all the belts.
Taylor (18-0 with 13 KOs) comes from Scotland and is fighting in his native country for the first time in nearly three years. Since he last competed in Scotland, he’s beaten Regis Prograis and Jose Ramirez, unified the super lightweight belts and made himself one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world.
He should prove it against Catterall, who hasn’t fought anyone even near Taylor’s level, which makes his brilliant record a little misleading. At BetMGM, Taylor is a -1400 favorite, with Catterall at +650 on the buyout.
It would be easy for Taylor to anticipate some of the big fights that may lie ahead, but if you believe that, you don’t know Taylor.
“I can’t think of anything other than what’s going on right now,” Taylor said. “You know, I’m offline. I’m only days away from making this defense. And you know, if it’s not going my way, these plans and options that I want to do are going to be a huge speed bump down the road.
So beating Catterall is a must. And doing it impressively would help, because the more he can prove to people that he’s an elite talent who can compete with not just Prograis and Ramirez, but also Crawford and Errol Spence Jr., the more money he has. . I will do.
Taylor, however, isn’t about to add any more pressure to her slender shoulders than already exists. Talking about knockouts and spectacular performances only increases expectations. While that’s good for business, it also ignores the fact that they’re human beings who often carry heavy loads around the cage with them.
Taylor is in tune with the old adage in boxing that advises, “Win this fight. Take a good look in the next one.
“A win is a win,” Taylor said. “As long as I get that W, that’s the most important thing. As long as I come out with that win and my hand is up and I keep all the belts, that’s all that matters to me. I I think I can knock him out. I do. I really think I can knock him out. …But I won’t go looking for him, that’s for sure. If it comes, it comes. I’ll jump on him , and I’ll make sure to mash him up and get the fight out of there. If I see him hurt, I’ll smell the blood and that’ll get him out of there.