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Fight Picks: Josh Taylor-Jose Ramirez

19
May

On Saturday, Ring Magazine champion and IBF/ WBA junior welterweight titleholder Josh Taylor and WBC/ WBO counterpart Jose Ramirez will meet to decide who is the undisputed champion at the Virgin Hotels Las Vegas.

This intriguing matchup will be broadcast on ESPN, starting at 8:30 p.m. ET/ 5:30 p.m. PT and will stream live in the U.K. on FITE for £9.99 (coverage begins at 1:30 a.m. U.K. time).

Taylor was a decorated amateur before turning professional in 2015. He claimed wins over former world titleholders Miguel Vazquez (KO 9) and Viktor Postol (UD 12) before being unleashed on the World Boxing Super Series. In a terrific run, the talented Scotsman beat the previously undefeated Ryan Martin (TKO 7), wrenched the IBF title from Ivan Baranchyk (UD 12) and unified against WBA beltholder Regis Prograis (MD 12). The latter victory saw the 30-year-old southpaw claim the Muhammad Ali trophy and Ring Magazine championship.

Ramirez, who is rated No. 1 by The Ring at 140 pounds, was a 2012 U.S Olympian, who moved steadily in the pro ranks before hitting world level. Ramirez won the vacant WBC title against Amir Imam (UD 12) and has made four defenses against solid opposition: Antonio Orozco (UD 12), Jose Zepeda (MD 12), Maurice Hooker (TKO 6) and Postol (MD 12). The Hooker win saw Ramirez, 28, add the WBO title to his collection in impressive fashion.

Taylor (17-0, 13 knockouts) is widely perceived as the more rounded of the two fighters, but how will he deal with the all-out aggression and constant pressure Ramirez will bring? Can Ramirez (26-0, 17 KOs) force Taylor into a firefight? Both men are good punchers – who will take the other man’s power better?

Online gambling group William Hill lists Taylor as a 2-5 (-250) favorite, while Ramirez is priced at 2-1 (+200); the draw is 18-1 (+1800).

Here’s how the experts see it:

THE RING MAGAZINE/RINGTV.COM

Taylor (right) attacks Ivan Baranchyk. Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

TOM GRAY: TAYLOR UD
“Taylor established himself as the finest 140-pounder in the world when he defeated Regis Prograis in October 2019. Ramirez is solid and a very good fighter but very good won’t be enough here. Taylor is special, and he’s superior in almost every department. A late stoppage wouldn’t be a surprise, but I think the Mexican-American’s pride and toughness will see him reach the finish line. I see Taylor thoroughly dominating this fight.”

ANSON WAINWRIGHT: TAYLOR UD
“I feel Taylor is a more rounded fighter and will be a step ahead of Ramirez. I feel Taylor can box off the backfoot and also be aggressive when he needs to be. Ramirez tends to just be the aggressor. I think a firefight suits Ramirez, and then you can flip a coin. I just feel Taylor will pick his spots when to box and when to stand and trade. The Scottish fighter will win a comfortable unanimous decision, something like 8-4 in rounds. I wouldn’t rule out a late stoppage for him either.”

LEE GROVES: RAMIREZ PTS
“As is the case in most fights, the outcome will be determined by which man forces his pace as well as his style of fighting. If Ramirez forces a slugging match, his superior work rate will help his cause but if Taylor slows things down and uses his lefty stance to stymie Ramirez’s jab, he will take a big step toward victory. I see Taylor doing well in the early rounds with Ramirez picking things up later. It will be an exciting, nip-and-tuck affair and while the cards may very well be divided, I believe Ramirez’s aggression and output will swing enough rounds his way.”

MICHAEL WOODS: RAMIREZ PTS
“I believe there is an 85-percent chance that we get a whole bunch of give and take, ebb and flow. I sense the timing being right for a truly fan-friendly structured rumble. Two points maybe will separate these two end of night. Ramirez, a tad grittier, will be the busier man later. Will, not power or stamina, will prove the difference maker. By a slight margin, after a couple minor classic rounds, Jose has his hand raised.”

RON BORGES: RAMIREZ PTS
“Although Josh Taylor is a heavy favorite to defeat Jose Ramirez, hold on a minute. Heavy favorite based on what? They both went the distance with Postol, and while some point out two of the undefeated Ramirez’s last three title defenses were won by majority decision, his critics forget to add that not a single judge voted against him. Four had him winning and two had draws. Ramirez is well trained by Robert Garcia, a proud guy with a shot to make history among Mexican fighters with a win. He is durable, can box and has the skills to outpoint and outhustle Taylor, which he will do by winning a tight decision.”

MARTY MULCAHEY: TAYLOR MD
“I envision a close fight, with an intangible like Taylor having boxed the better level of opposition and superior timing making the difference. While Ramirez owns size, reach, and age advantages, I don’t see him overcoming Taylor’s versatility and jab which pushes foes in directions Taylor dictates. In my opinion Ramirez has overachieved to date, so it is hard to bet against his determined mindset. Taylor’s eye-catching combinations and greater accuracy should give him the slightest of nods from the judges. I will go with a majority decision for Taylor via 115-113 against 114-114 range.”

MICHAEL MONTERO: TAYLOR PTS
“This is the very definition of a ‘pick em’ fight; I can honestly see it going either way. Inactivity could play a factor. Both men fought once in 2020, but Ramirez fough 12 hard rounds with Viktor Postol, while Taylor needed less than a round to get rid of his IBF mandatory opponent. In the end, I just think Taylor has an extra degree that will help him edge this one out. Gimme Taylor points, 115-113.”

NORM FRAUENHEIM: TAYLOR UD
“Two fighters, both in their prime, in a fight for all of the pieces of the junior welterweight title. What’s not to like? The safest pick is Fight of the Year. In the end however, the edge goes to Taylor, who has more in his skillset than Jose Ramirez has. Ramirez’ toughness, his dogged durability, means he’ll be there for 12 rounds. But it also means he’ll be there as a target for Taylor’s precise, often explosive punches until the punishing end of a decisive victory for the Scot.”

BOXING INSIDERS

Ramirez (right) nails Antonio Orozco. Photo by Mikey Williams/ Top Rank

STEVE FARHOOD (TV ANALYST): TAYLOR PTS
“Great matchup. Both of these two are proven at the highest level, and this figures to be worthy of a fight that will crown a four-belt champion. Once again, Ramirez’s style will require constant aggression. My guess is that Taylor has ample opportunities to counter, score, and win rounds. Taylor by close decision in an action fight.”

DUKE MCKENZIE (FORMER THREE-DIVISION TITLEHOLDER/TV ANALYST): RAMIREZ MD
“It’s not often we see a unified match up where both champions are at the top of their game. Both Taylor and Ramirez are on a mission to be No. 1. Taylor is arguably the better boxer, very tidy, fit, strong and won’t back up in this fight. We know both are combative and pugnacious. I feel Ramirez is better at in-fighting, as neither boxer will take a backwards step. I lean towards Ramirez, who has a relentless mean streak in his work. He hooks savagely to head and body and is a good finisher. Ramirez wins a majority decision.”

RAUL MARQUEZ (FORMER WORLD CHAMPION/COMMENTATOR): TAYLOR PTS
“I feel Taylor has more dimensions to his game and is crispier with his shots. Ramirez is a warrior will be coming forward all night long. Taylor can’t be drawn into a war. I’m going with Taylor by decision.”

VIKTOR POSTOL (FORMER WBC JUNIOR WELTERWEIGHT TITLEHOLDER): TAYLOR PTS
“If Ramirez can’t catch Taylor with good punch, I’d go with Taylor. Taylor can box different ways; he is more versatile and can adapt to many styles. I think Taylor wins it on points.”

ALEX STEEDMAN (COMMENTATOR): TAYLOR PTS
“Ramirez always brings it and Taylor is a class act. You have to feel that Ramirez will require more than he has shown so far to win but he will ask questions. Can the pace, intensity and reach of Ramirez cause enough problems? I don’t think so but a close fight could unfold. Ultimately, I see Taylor’s technique and variety being the difference on the cards.”

KATHY DUVA (PROMOTER, MAIN EVENTS): RAMIREZ PTS
“This is truly a pick ’em fight, and I am interested to see it. In the end, though, I have to give the edge to Ramirez. I don’t think that Taylor is likely to stop him, so I expect that Ramirez is more likely to win a decision given his hometown advantage.”

JOLENE MIZZONE (MATCHMAKER, MAIN EVENTS): TAYLOR UD
“I am going to go with Taylor on this one, based off of his southpaw stance. The last time Ramirez fought a southpaw was against Zepeda, which was a close fight. I am giving the edge to Taylor in this one by unanimous decision.”

ROBERT DIAZ (MATCHMAKER, GOLDEN BOY): RAMIREZ UD
“Very even and very close fight. I see both having their moments and rounds going back and forth. I usually favor the boxer over the more aggressive fighter, but in this case I must favor the one that has the more experience and the one that has had the tougher fights. I see a unanimous decision for Jose Ramirez in a very close and entertaining fight.”

REGIS PROGRAIS (FORMER JUNIOR WELTERWEIGHT TITLEHOLDER): TAYLOR SD
“I think Taylor should be able to outbox him, keep the southpaw jab in his face all night, then he can hit him with some big shots. Ramirez has had trouble with boxers. He wants to get on the inside, bang the body, but if Josh tries to keep him on the outside, he should win. I think it will definitely be a close fight. I see a split decision for Taylor.”

CAMERON DUNKIN (PROMOTER, D&D BOXING): RAMIREZ TKO
“I like Ramirez, I think he has a shot at stopping Taylor late. I think Ramirez is going to be tremendous shape, he’s not going to stop punching, he’s going to push Taylor. It’s going to be a firefight and I think Ramirez stops him late.”

BRANDUN LEE (JUNIOR WELTERWEIGHT CONTENDER): TAYLOR PTS
“It’s going to be a good fight. [I like] Josh Taylor by decision. He’s faster, a southpaw, better skills, light on his feet, and the better boxer overall.”

RICKY HATTON (FORMER WORLD CHAMPION/ TRAINER): TAYLOR PTS
“A good fight, two unbeaten champions, neither knows what it’s like to lose and an unbeaten fighter is a dangerous fighter. It’s a big unification and should be a cracker. It’s hard to go against Josh Taylor. He’s in form and at the top of his game, having fought at the higher level, so I’m going with Josh on points.”

Final Tally: Taylor 13-7

YOU MAY HAVE MISSED

REGIS PROGRAIS PREDICTS OUTCOME OF TAYLOR-RAMIREZ

TAYLOR-RAMIREZ CONTINUES REVIVAL OF UNDISPUTED WORLD CHAMPIONS

WHO’S THE MAN: VIKTOR POSTOL PREDICTS TAYLOR-RAMIREZ OUTCOME

TAYLOR’S UNDISPUTED QUEST REKINDLES MEMORIES OF BUCHANAN GLORY DAYS

 

Questions and/or comments can be sent to Anson at [email protected] and you can follow him on Twitter @AnsonWainwright

 

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