The big news of last week was the promotional switch of unified super-lightweight world champion Josh Taylor from the Barry McGuigan run Cyclone Promotions to Bob Arum’s Top Rank organisation.
The Prestonpans stylist has chosen to relocate his dealings stateside to secure the big fights in the 10st/10st 7lb divisions. This could mean fighting a number of Top Rank based fighters, and potentially securing a ‘superfight’ with living legend Manny ‘Pacman’ Pacquiao.
2019 was a breakout year for the Scot (16-0, 12 KO’s) securing the IBF world title in May against Ivan Baranchyk and following up in October with a massively impressive victory to rip the WBA crown from Regis Prograis, and with it the Muhammad Ali Trophy and the World Boxing Super Series title.
The ‘Tartan Tornado’ is one of only four fighters in the world across all divisions to hold the Ali Trophy. This in itself makes him one of the most prestigious and marketable fighters out there.
Cyclone Promotions can rightly feel aggrieved by this switch having guided Taylor from finishing a stellar amateur career (2012 Olympian and 2014 Commonwealth Games champion), through the professional ranks, to a multiple world champion. Also; the apparent nature of the decision with the UK based promotional company allegedly finding out second hand. They are thought likely to challenge the decision, as they’re currently doing with Carl Frampton’s switch at a similar stage of his career some years ago.
However, having just turned 29 the Scot is approaching his prime years and will have to move fast to secure a Pacquaio fight as the Filipino enters the twilight of his Hall of Fame career. Other potential mega-fights are a unification at 140lbs (10st) against WBC champ Jose Ramirez, or up at 147lbs against top three ‘pound-for-pound’ fighter Terence Crawford. All massively lucrative fights.
Despite the current upheaval promoter Bob Arum has high hopes for the Scot, stating “Josh Taylor is one of the world’s best fighters, and he is a fight fan’s fighter; a tough guy willing to fight anyone we put in front of him”. That in essence is the Scot’s DNA and his selling point. He illustrated this with the manner of his approach and victories against Baranchyk and Prograis and is sure to be a big hit in the US.
It’s hard to see this not being a good decision on Taylor’s part, and if successful, could turn him into the ‘pound for pound’ fighter in the world and join Ken Buchanan as the greatest Scottish fighter of all time. A debate we hope to look forward to in the future.