Saturday night’s fight between Jose Ramirez and Josh Taylor will be for every relevant world title at 140 lbs, with Ramirez defending the WBC and WBO titles, and Taylor the IBF and WBA, plus the Ring Magazine championship if that adds something for you.
This is a can’t-miss fight for boxing fans, with the potential to be a great fight even beyond its significance. Who wins?
Scott Christ (34-9-2)
This is a matchup that should bring the best out of both, and while Ramirez has struggled against an opponent Taylor pretty solidly beat, Viktor Postol doesn’t fight like Taylor or Ramirez. Postol’s strategy and skills worked better against Ramirez than they did Postol, but it’s not like Taylor has been a flawless force of nature in every fight, either. Regis Prograis pushed him very hard, and to be fair Jose Zepeda gave Ramirez a good run, too.
I think it’s generally accepted or believed that Taylor is a nice but not overwhelming favorite in this matchup, and that he deserves coming in to be considered the No. 1 guy at 140 if you’re doing rankings and whatnot. But I think Ramirez is really dangerous here, and I have some worry that Taylor may have gotten ahead of himself in some ways. There’s an arrogance to Taylor that Ramirez simply doesn’t have; I’m not saying that’s necessarily a bad thing, but if Taylor has started to believe his own hype, Ramirez is the type of guy who can reality check him.
That said, even if that’s the case, Taylor might adjust in-fight if things go poorly early, and still come out on top. This isn’t 50/50 to me, I think it’s about 60/40 Taylor, but I’m going with Jose Ramirez. I think we’re going to see the very best of him. Taylor is a terrific fighter, but generally speaking, even the best fighters have nights where it gets away from them. Ramirez UD-12
Wil Esco (35-8-2)
This is no time for me to hop off the Josh Taylor hype train but I will admit that I do think this is a very good matchup that won’t be a blow out by any means. Jose Ramirez is a tough, rugged fighter who likes to work on the inside but the difference in this particular matchup is versatility — with Josh Taylor just having more than Ramirez. I think Taylor is a good inside fighter who can largely match Ramirez’s efforts at close range but I think he’s also a much better outside fighter which is going to provide Taylor with more scoring opportunities.
Taylor has a bit of a nasty streak in him which is evident as he can be drawn into exchanges (and his defense isn’t the best which often makes for good action sequences), but I still think he’ll be able to bite down enough to go even with Ramirez up close and edge him at range. Taylor will likely take some bumps and bruises along the way but unless Ramirez scores a stoppage I think Taylor should be able to win this fight on points, which is exactly where I’m going with it. Taylor MD-12
Patrick L. Stumberg (35-8-2)
Undisputed clashes don’t get much better than this; two belts per side, each acquired against top-flight competition and held by profoundly entertaining finishers. Just because it’s well-matched and competitive doesn’t necessarily mean the outcome’s in doubt, though, and Taylor looks like he’s got this one. His punches seem markedly faster and tighter than Ramirez’s, and seeing as he’s traded close-range leather with the likes of Ivan Baranchyk and Regis Prograis without flinching, I don’t see Ramirez’s pressure or power throwing “The Tartan Tornado” off his game.
Anything can happen when there’s this much leather getting thrown around, of course, but Taylor’s just a little too sharp and battle-tested to succumb to Ramirez’s onslaught. After 12 rounds of winning cleanly at range and edging out the inevitable deluge of phone-booth slugfests, Josh Taylor will be 2021’s first four-belt champion. Taylor UD-12