By: Steven Galeano
Josh Taylor inked his name in boxing history forever after becoming an undisputed junior welterweight champion on Saturday night in Las Vegas, Nevada. Taylor added Jose Ramirez’s WBO/WBC titles to his IBF/WBA/RING title collection after dropping Ramirez twice before winning a close unanimous decision. Now the question looms.
What’s next for Taylor?
Taylor (18-0, 13 KOs) of Edinburgh, Scotland became just the 6th undisputed world champion of the four-belt era, and the 2nd ever in the junior welterweight division. Moving up in weight to face the 1st ever to do it at junior welterweight may be his most lucrative option moving forward. Terence Crawford (37-0, 28 KOs) of Omaha, NE became the first-ever undisputed junior welterweight champion in August 2017, and would then become the WBO welterweight champion in his subsequent fight. He has held that belt since June 2018 and continues to seek a defining victory in the welterweight division.
Taylor could be that potential opponent. The elite fights in the division continue to take place in the PBC (Premier Boxing Champions) circle, as most of the division’s top fighters are aligned with them. WBC/IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr. (27-0, 21 KOs) continues to land the biggest fights, now scheduled to fight Hall of Fame legend Manny Pacquiao in August. Other top contenders, such as Shawn Porter and Danny Garcia, whom Spence Jr. defeated, are all affiliated with PBC and Al Haymon.
These are all guys Taylor would love to move up and face as well. Yet, he would face the same problems Crawford has. Being aligned with Top Rank largely excludes them both from PBC for the most part. Crawford and Taylor, in this instance, would be a perfect fight to make, especially since Taylor has already expressed interest.
If Taylor stood put at 140lbs, Teofimo Lopez (16-0, 12 KOs), who is undisputed champion at lightweight, could become an option. A fight between Taylor and Lopez would be massive, and Lopez would likely welcome the opportunity to get a straight shot at becoming an undisputed champion in two weight classes.
Taylor’s most likely option is to move up to welterweight, where he will inevitably fight Terence Crawford. The biggest question moving forward will be how fast Taylor and Top Rank are looking to make that fight. A few matchups to acclimate to the new weight would be ideal, especially considering how physically taxing the Ramirez fight on Saturday night was. Top Rank does not have many household names for Taylor to fight at 140lbs, so Crawford could instantly become the priority.
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