The work of an undisputed champion is never done. Less than two weeks after Josh Taylor controversially retained his super lightweight titles with a decision over WBO mandatory challenger Jack Catterall, the WBA has ordered him to former interim champion Alberto Puello. The pair have 30 days to negotiate.
Per the press release, Taylor (19-0, 13 KO) hasn’t actually faced a WBA mandatory challenger since taking the title from Regis Prograis in October 2019, making this more than a bit overdue.
The Dominican Republic’s Puello (20-0, 10 KO) has done well for himself in his career, though there really was no reason for the WBA to unearth its interim title after four years in storage for his 2019 clash with fellow unbeaten Jonathan Alonso. His reign has been a quiet one built on substandard opposition; there were multiple attempts to pit him against Rances Barthelemy in the most meaningful fight of his career, but none ever panned out.
Despite being a much easier out than Catterall on paper, I’ll be surprised if this happens. Taylor has been clear that his days at 140 are numbered and I doubt Puello is the sort of blockbuster opportunity that’ll entice him to make one more cut. As Scott pointed out, odds are Puello will face Ismael Barroso for the title once it’s vacant. Barroso’s on a nice little career resurgence for the moment, so while it’s not a world championship level fight, it could be fun.