Undisputed junior welterweight champion Josh Taylor is just about set to make his return to action, as he’ll face a mandatory challenger in Jack Catterall on Saturday, Feb. 26, with Taylor holding home advantage in Scotland.
Taylor (18-0, 13 KO) hasn’t fought since fully unifying the division last May with a win over Jose Ramirez, but he’s clearly proven he’s the best 140 lb fighter in the sport right now, and among the premier pound-for-pound talents at age 31.
With Catterall (26-0, 13 KO) considered a major underdog, a lot of the focus is on what Taylor plans to do after, but he sounds like he’s taking Catterall completely seriously, knowing that he has to take care of that business first.
“I think he’s a very good fighter. I know he’s quite unknown [in the United States],” Taylor told Max Kellerman on ESPN’s Max on Boxing. “He’s not boxed any great names as a professional, but you watch things and there’s certain moves he makes, and his ring IQ’s pretty good, his punch power’s pretty solid it looks like, as well. He’s a pretty good all-rounder.
“I’m expecting a good fight, but I’ll turn up on the night and do what I can. I don’t believe there’s anything to worry about on my side. I believe I’ll have too much for him if I turn up and perform the way I can perform.”
But it is, of course, natural to ask what Taylor might plan to do after Catterall. At the moment, DraftKings Sportsbook have Taylor at -1400 and Catterall at +750, so when we say Catterall is the heavy underdog, we mean it.
Taylor will have the option of staying at 140 and hoping some big names from 135 might come up — notably, Teofimo Lopez is also in the Top Rank stable, and despite losing his last fight, Teofimo is a young fighter, star qualities, and not someone to count out — or he could move up to 147, which seemed to be the plan back when Top Rank still had Terence Crawford in-house, which they no longer do.
He does sound like he has an idea, but things do change in boxing depending on what sort of offers wind up on the table.
“I can be a career 140 lber if I want, I make the weight very well, very comfortable,” Taylor told Kellerman. “I’m strong at the weight, too. What’s left for me to do? There’s not much achieving left for me to do at , I’ve done it all. All I can do now is retain my belts and make defenses, which then becomes mandatory after mandatory after mandatory after mandatory, and I don’t get to get the fights that I want.
“My goals and ambitions in the sport are to become a two-weight world champion. Longer term goals, set new goals, new targets. So I want to become a two-weight world champion and the only way to do that would be to move up to welterweight and challenge the guys like Terence Crawford, [Yordenis] Ugas, [Errol] Spence, and I believe I can win these fights, as well.”
Taylor vs Catterall will stream on ESPN+ in the United States on Feb. 26, and air on Sky Sports in the United Kingdom.