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Josh Taylor vs Jose Ramirez: Top Rank reserves May 8 date at MGM Grand for undisputed championship fight

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Top Rank have a date for the undisputed title clash at 140 pounds.

Paul Harding/PA Images via Getty Images and Mikey Williams/Top Rank

Just a few days back, it was reported that Top Rank were looking to finalize an early May date for an undisputed 140-pound championship fight between Josh Taylor and Jose Ramirez, and now ESPN’s Mark Kriegel reports that the company have reserved May 8 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas for the fight.

That doesn’t mean the deal is done, as Ramirez manager Rick Mirigian tells Kriegel that he’s “optimistic, but negotiations continue.” Top Rank and other promoters have certainly reserved dates at venues that didn’t wind up going through for various fights, but all in all it’s an encouraging step.

Scotland’s Taylor (17-0, 13 KO) holds the WBA and IBF titles, while California’s Ramirez (26-0, 17 KO) has the WBC and WBO belts. Both men fought once in 2020, against vastly different levels of mandatory challenger. Ramirez had some trouble in a decision win over Viktor Postol on Aug. 29, while Taylor destroyed the comically over-matched Apinun Khongsong in the first round on Sept. 26.

If the fight does get made, Taylor probably will be a slight favorite at least on the books, but Ramirez would at the very least be a live underdog. They’ve both faced and beaten top-tier competition at 140, and it may just come down to the style matchup and execution on the night.

As for the May 8 date, that is one of the dates being considered for the likely Canelo Alvarez vs Billy Joe Saunders super middleweight unification, but Canelo-Saunders is also possible for May 1. One thing to hope for is that ESPN and DAZN don’t counter-program one another with those fights, as these are both bouts that boxing fans actually will want to see. It’s bad enough that boxing shows so often run head-to-head with a limited interested audience as is, but this would be a particularly egregious case, downright insulting to a loyal audience that sits through a lot of fights nobody asked for and only gets a few a year that actually come with legitimate anticipation.

Y’know, just throwing that out there ahead of time.