The Scots who bled with Wallace
Scots wham Bruce often led;
Welcome to your bloody bed or victory
By Gary Todd: When Josh Taylor walks down Seventh Avenue and enters the entrance to the boxing mecca of Madison Square Garden, his emotions will run wild, and that’s the way it should be. Every boxer dreams of fighting in this historic and unique place to join former challengers and champions who have given their heart and soul to go down in the annals of history forever.
As he walks the long corridors to the ring, Taylor will be thinking of the fights he has seen on TV, especially the great Scottish lightweight champion, Ken Buchanan, who fought there in 15 rounds for the world title. Buchanan bled there, won and lost fights there that made him “The Plaid Legend.”
Taylor befriended Buchanan before he died, and Kenny would tell him old stories as they sat “chewing fat” around the kitchen table.
That night, Taylor pays homage to his friend by wearing shorts and a tartan gown as he goes into battle in enemy territory.
Josh Taylor (19-0 13 Kos) turned pro in 2015 after winning gold at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, fighting 4 fights a year and setting an impressive record. His aggressive southpaw style and powerful offensive strikes proved too much for anything he faced. The good fighters in Miguel Vasquez, Viktor Postol, Ryan Martin and Ivan Baranchyk didn’t know the answer to “The Tartan Tornado”, which eventually won the Muhammad Ali Trophy, beating the talented Regis Prograis (24-0) on points in the final. super six in 2019.
In 2020, he was due to fight an undefeated rock-hard Thai boxer, a kickboxer in London, and Taylor wasted no time stopping the number 1 contender to retain his titles.
There was much talk about the Mexican Jose Carlos Ramirez and Taylor’s fight for the IBF, WBA, WBC and WBO titles and in May 2021 the two champions met in a fierce matchup with Ramirez trying to become the first boxer of Mexican descent to win the undisputed title and Taylor to become the undisputed champion after only 18 fights. In the fight, Taylor shook Ramirez and knocked him down in round 6 and round 7 to win on points and become the undisputed world champion.
Teofimo Lopez (18-1 13 Kos) made his debut in 2016, representing his “old” country, Honduras, at the Olympics in the same year. He burst into the lightweight scene and was touted as the next big thing, and he and his father announced that sooner or later he would “take over” the division.
The Brooklyn-born fighter walked and talked at every opportunity, punching seasoned fighters in Mason Menard, Diego Magdaleno, and Masayoshi Nakatani.
In 2019, he won the IBF lightweight title in explosive fashion, knocking out the highly regarded Richard Commey in two rounds, and it seemed like there was definitely a “takeover” in the 135lb division with only one man standing in his way, and that was Vasily Lomachenko.
Covid 19 has affected the world in so many ways, with the disease and isolation stopping almost everything, but there was still talk of playing sports without anyone and boxers fighting only with local officials. It was a crazy time no matter where you were or what you were doing and everyone eventually had to overcome their fear of the virus to move on.
It was October 2020 and Lomachenko and Lopez were battling to unify their divisions and fought without the crowd cheering them on and in the fight Lomachenko fought the Ukrainian, outside of boxing, using his jab and targeting Lomachenko’s body in a brilliant display of speed and boxing IQ to which he just couldn’t adapt to, but despite having some good moments in the championship rounds, the man known as “The Matrix” came out of it and was defeated by wide points decision in Vegas.
Next up was an Australian adventurer, George Kambosos Jr. Kambosos had done enough fighting anyone, anywhere, and after years of sparring in training camps with Manny Pacquiao and fighting through his life waiting for his chance, he knew this was his chance at glory. In the fight, the smaller Kambosos came out hard and fast and fought like a desperate man, knocking down Lopez in the first round.
There was talk that Lopez was sick in the camp and had trouble weighing, and it showed. He was definitely off but still looked dangerous and outclassed Kambosos at times with his boxing skills and punch combinations. Kambosos pushed and fought the only way he knew how, and in the 10th round, Lopez defeated the Aussie to advance to the final rounds. It eventually made it onto the scorecards and Kambosos won via split decision in New York and changed his life forever.
This would be his last lightweight fight. Lopez returned some 8 months later and fought back with a dominant performance, knocking out Pedro Campa in 7 rounds. After talking for a while, Lopez was calling out the best fighters in the super lightweight division, and next in line was tough European champion Sandor Martin. It was clear that the Spanish fighter was not intimidated by Lopez at all, and although the New Yorker came out aggressively, the Barcelona fighter matched him with his boxing skills and knocked Lopez down with a hard punch in the second round. right hand. Lopez recovered and fought to make it a tough but close fight. Lopez wins via split decision. Questions were asked if he had the beard and power at 140 pounds to challenge the big boys.
While Lopez was scrutinized by many across the pond, former undisputed super lightweight champion Josh Taylor was in doubt and had his own questions to answer.
Taylor has achieved so much in his super lightweight career and it seemed like making weight year after year, fight after fight, was taking its toll on him and when you’re the champion there’s always someone around the corner waiting to take what’s yours . Jack Catterall (27 fights 26 wins 13 Kos 1 loss) has been fighting as a professional for 10 years.
He won the WBO European welterweight title, the WBO Intercontinental welterweight title, and the British welterweight title. The guy could fight. Like Kambosos, he patiently waited for his chance and in February 2022, after turning down deals, disappointments and covid, he finally got his chance against Josh Taylor.
On paper, Taylor had the height, reach, and physical advantage, and had a much better resume and big fight experience. It was a fierce confrontation at the weigh-ins, and it was clear that neither contestant had any respect. Taylor looked exhausted, and in the fight it showed that his timing and balance were broken, and he failed to use his jab or his size to his advantage, with Catterall boxing brilliantly, countering Taylor, leaving the proud Scot frustrated and breathing heavy. The clash of two southern paws makes it an awkward affair. It was a tough fight to score, but after 12 rounds, Taylor received a nod by split decision. Many in the ring felt that the English boxer had done enough to win, particularly knocking Taylor down in the 8th round.
With both champions battling each other and both arguably battling for anyone to make a statement to anyone who doubted them, this clash is set to be a classic.
Will Taylor be able to cut weight again? Lopez will be more natural at 140, but will he be able to take over?
At 32, Taylor will be seven years older. Taylor will have the advantage of height and reach and will need to use his jab to set the tone for the fight. Taylor will want to fight inside while Lopez will try to fight from the outside, pounding and moving, countering all night long. Taylor has to dictate the pace and use footwork and jab and always finish with a hook. I think being aggressive and throwing a right hand to the body and uppercut and finishing with a right or left hook to Lopez’s head will be key to Taylor’s victory.
Lopez has brilliant footwork, strikes from all angles and has decent punching power as well as being a counter puncher.
Fighting at home, fighting for his future, Teofimo Lopez can silence the critics.
Can Josh Taylor imitate what his hero, tartan legend Ken Buchanan, did many years ago, fighting in the garden to solidify his legendary career?
Taylor by TKO in the 7th round.
Gary Todd is an internationally recognized bestselling author with his boxing books. He has been involved in all aspects of boxing for over 30 years. Go to garytodd.org for information on his latest book “Boy Annie”