By: Sean Crose
“I think he’s kind of cheap, to be honest,” said WBC and WBO super lightweight titlist Jose Ramirez. Fresh from a face off, the 28 year old undefeated Texan, known as “Jaguar,” was referring to the man he had just stood nose to nose with, WBA and IBF super lightweight titlist Josh Taylor. “He’s not a gentleman,” the 26-0 Ramirez added. One suspects the 17-0 Taylor wouldn’t have it any other way. The truth is that this Saturday’s bout between the two men, which is for the division’s undisputed championship, is more than a battle of two major talents, it’s also a fascinating showcase of notably different personalities.
Taylor may be 30 years of age, but he has the look and feel of the most popular kid in high school. There’s a confident swagger to the guy, a practiced coolness that’s a combination of charm and detachment. Not that the Scotsman comes across as a teenage punk. He doesn’t. He’s not above getting inside an opponent’s head, however, something that was made evident during Thursday’s press conference to promote the fight. When the two men finally stood face to face for the media, Taylor took to jawing. “He was saying something about my weight…that I looked pretty chunky,” said Ramirez. “He has his own issues I think to worry about.”
To be sure, Ramirez is a cool customer. Still, Taylor is determined to try to get inside the man’s psyche. “He only knows one way to fight, which is to come forward and put the pressure on,” Taylor told Max Kellerman during a fight week interview. “I can outmatch him in every single department.” Ramirez, who was also on the interview, remained on the quiet side, which didn’t keep Taylor from being aggressive. “How you gonna beat me?” he asked Ramirez directly. “You’re relying on your power, your heart, your determination. That’s all you’ve got.” Taylor, going full heel, then took things further. “I’m smarter than you,” he told his opponent. “You’re a one dimensional fighter.”
“Just keep your chin tucked in,” Ramirez replied softly.
Of course, such things as Taylor’s attitude before the cameras do a good job of helping sell a fight. Having a mouth has helped fighters from Sullivan, to Johnson, to Ali, to Mayweather, to Fury get inside opponent’s skulls and often stay there. As Michael Corleone might say: “It’s nothing personal. It’s strictly business.” Business, of course, will be decided on Saturday. Sadly, all the back and forth in the world between these two fighters probably won’t elevate public awareness of the bout, and that’s a shame. In a Jake Paul world, Ramirez-Taylor is a major clash that’s well worth paying attention to.
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