Jack Catterall may be getting the shaft yet again, as Mike Coppinger reports at ESPN.com that Top Rank are planning to have Josh Taylor and Teofimo Lopez meet this summer in the United Kingdom, with Taylor defending his lone remaining 140 lb belt in the matchup.
Taylor (19-0, 13 KO) hasn’t fought since his enormously controversial decision win over Catterall in Scotland in Feb. 2022, where he retained his undisputed championship, which is now down to just the WBO belt.
Taylor had originally intended to move up to welterweight after beating Catterall, but instead dragged out the process of “vacating” — being stripped of — his WBC, WBA,and IBF titles for months, one of which is still vacant because the IBF still haven’t gotten Subriel Matias and Jeremias Ponce into the ring, though that is now coming Feb. 25.
Then the focus turned to staying at 140 for the Catterall rematch, which was originally hoped for November of last year, then was going to be held in early February of this year, then was going to be held on Mar. 4, but that was also postponed when Taylor suffered an injury.
Now, with Boxxer planning Catterall’s return for Mar. 25, so that he doesn’t sit out forever, Top Rank are making the move to get Taylor into the ring with former lightweight titleholder Lopez (18-1, 13 KO).
All things with Taylor and Catterall aside, a fight between Taylor and Lopez carries some intrigue. If this were Nov. 26, 2021, and we were talking about undisputed 140 lb champ Taylor taking on then-unbeaten, in his own mind undisputed 135 lb champ Lopez, we’d be geared up for something really big and exciting.
Instead, it’s coming when both guys are certainly not riding a wave of momentum.
The 25-year-old Lopez, of course, was shocked in a loss to George Kambosos on Nov. 27, 2021, came back last August to beat Pedro Campa in a tune-up and move to 140, and then struggled pretty badly in December against Sandor Martin. Taylor, 32, hasn’t fought in a year and didn’t look very good the last time he did.
And yet these are still two very talented fighters when they’re on their game. It’s hard not to imagine both of them showing up in good form and having a great fight, if only because we would all want that to be how it goes.
They have also fired some shots at one another in the media in the past, and given their personalities, it’s not hard to see them having a pretty contentious and nasty build-up, which could add some spark.
My feeling is still that this absolutely stinks for Catterall, and yet also that maybe it’s best for Catterall that he moves on with his career instead of waiting any longer on Josh Taylor.
What’s your take?