Josh Taylor exceeded expectations: Weekend Review
Josh Taylor: He wasn’t expected to look that good against Ohara Davies.
The gifted Scot used everything he learned as a decorated amateur and in 10 pro fights to turn what was expected to be a competitive fight into a personal showcase before an ecstatic crowd Saturday in Glasgow, ultimately forcing the overwhelmed Londoner to quit in the seventh round.
If that was a test, Taylor scored 100 percent.
The 2012 Olympian showed us a little of everything – skills, quickness, athleticism, power, poise, ring generalship and more. As a result, Davies, a strong puncher who was given a good chance of winning, showed us almost nothing.
Taylor landed at will, putting Davies down twice, and Davies couldn’t touch Taylor. It’s no wonder that the loser decided to quit. He was suffering both pain and humiliation at the hands of a far better fighter. What was the point of continuing?
It was the kind of performance that lifts a fighter to another level, to “potential star” in Taylor’s case.
Why “potential?” We shouldn’t jump the gun.
One thing we do when compiling the RING Ratings is to balance the eye test with resume. Taylor definitely passed the eye test against his most accomplished opponent thus far. It’s easy to see why he and others are thinking big.
At the same time, one important victory doesn’t a resume make. I want to see Taylor fight and beat someone like countryman Ricky Burns, a possible next opponent, or another big name.
That would whittle away some of any doubt about Taylor’s future, as would each successive victory. My guess is that Taylor (10-0, 9 knockouts) will continue to win fights in dazzling fashion and become a star. Call it an educated guess.
The problem with trash talking as much as Davies (15-1, 12 KOs) did before his fight with Taylor is that you look particularly foolish afterward if you lose badly. He called Taylor and his team “bums.” Who’s the bum now? Davies is actually a pretty good fighter. If he can get past this crushing setback – which won’t be easy – he could still have some success. … The quarterfinal pairings for the World Boxing Super Series, which begins this fall, have been announced. Cruiserweights: Oleksandr Usyk–Marco Huck, Murat Gassiev–Krzysztof Wlodarczyk, Mairis Briedis–Mike Perez and Yunier Dorticos–Dmitry Kudryashov. I pick Usyk to beat Huck and ultimately win the tournament. He’s the most complete fighter. Gassiev, Briedis and Dorticos should also advance to the semis. Super middleweights: George Groves–Jamie Cox, Callum Smith–Erik Skoglund, Chris Eubank Jr. or Arthur Abraham–Avni Yildirim and Juergen Braehmer–Rob Brant. I believe Smith or Groves – leaning toward Smith – will win the tournament. Rob Brant, a middleweight moving up a division, is an intriguing wildcard. … Promoter Richard Schaefer, who put the competition together, reportedly said it will be televised in the U.S. but has yet to make an announcement. I’m interested in the tournament but it has a distinctly European feel, particularly in the cruiserweight bracket. These fighters haven’t had great exposure in the U.S. That said, the competition will allow those who perform best to make names for themselves here. That’s exciting.
LIST OF FIGHT RESULTS FROM THE PAST WEEK
Michael Rosenthal is editor-in-chief of THE RING Magazine. Follow him on Twitter: @mrosenthal_ring