With the Josh Taylor vs Jose Ramirez undisputed championship fight at 140 lbs official for May 22, a big question going in and obviously immediately after will be whether or not the winner will go straight to 147, vacating all four belts, or maybe stick at 140 for a defense or two.
If it’s Taylor (17-0, 13 KO), he seems to have his mind made up, and it would be a move to welterweight. The WBA/IBF titleholder from Scotland tells Sky Sports that he’d be looking to fight the likes of Manny Pacquiao and Terence Crawford:
“To share a ring with my hero Pacquiao? That would be brilliant. How many people can say they shared a ring with their hero and beat them? Not many. ... After this, it will be to move up to 147 lbs and chase a second weight world title to really cement my reign in the history books. Crawford? Of course he’s on my radar. It would be a massive fight - two undisputed champions fighting. These are all longer-term goals. All I’m thinking about now is Ramirez and winning those four belts.”
As for Ramirez (26-0, 17 KO), Taylor says “you have to give him respect” and calls him “a good come-forward fighter who makes people work,” but also added, “I’ve never thought of him as a threat.”
Both fighters are promoted by Top Rank (Taylor co-promoted with Queensberry), and the winner would obviously have the WBO belt at 140, which would make challenging immediately for the WBO belt at 147 — held by Top Rank’s Terence Crawford — pretty easy to get done. But that’s a huge back-to-back, too. That would be sincerely ambitious and the sort of thing we don’t see a lot. Just as possible is the winner would fight someone like Egidijus “Mean Machine” Kavaliauskas to establish themselves at 147, and then fight Crawford, but Crawford’s standing with Top Rank also makes that idea questionable. (His deal is supposedly up in October.)
But it’s a huge situation for the winner, obviously. There’s a chance for Taylor or Ramirez to do something really special in 2021.
Crawford right now seems focused on either Pacquiao or Shawn Porter, while Pacquiao has had flirtations with fighting Conor McGregor (not happening), Ryan Garcia (not happening), and most recently, Mikey Garcia (may be happening).