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Josh Taylor, Teofimo Lopez Ready for War at the Crossroads

Paul Magno
108 days ago

The term "crossroads fight" has become a cliché in boxing. But if there ever were a true crossroads fight, it’s this Saturday at The Theater at Madison Square Garden when Josh Taylor and Teofimo Lopez meet atop and ESPN/ESPN+ card.

The 25-year-old Lopez went from the absolute heights when he beat Vasiliy Lomachenko to become a 3-belt lightweight world champion in October of 2020 to the depths when he lost those three belts to George Kambosos Jr. in his very next bout thirteen months later. The Kambosos setback was followed by a move up in weight to 140 lbs. and a couple of uneven performances leading to this Saturday’s bout, which could very well be a make or break opportunity for him.

The 32-year-old Taylor, meanwhile, is not only coming off the worst performance of his career when he took a controversial split decision win over Jack Catterall in February of 2022, but he’s also had to relinquish three of the four title belts he won in working his way to unified champ status due to the constraints of boxing business.

It’s been awhile since either of these main stage fighters has looked elite and so, this Saturday, it’s imperative for both to not only win, but to also look like they’re "back" and ready to assume the role of top dog in an increasingly deep junior welterweight division.

Scotland’s Taylor is preparing for the very best version of Lopez and eager to exploit the weaknesses of the young Brooklynite.

“The way I think he"s going to fight, we"ll put him out of there early," Taylor told Sky Sports. “But if it goes the other way, which I think it might do as well, it"ll be a boxing match, a clever boxing match but nothing that I"m going to be surprised with.

“I"ve watched him quite a bit in the lead up to this fight and I think I know what I"m expecting. But whatever he brings, I"m more than ready for.

“Having said that, the fighter that beat Lomachenko is the version of Teofimo Lopez that I"m preparing for; a very good fighter."

"I think he is a good fighter," Taylor added. "He does a lotta things really, really good. He’s very athletic, he’s quick, he’s explosive, you know, he’s got good punching combinations, things that I know. But I see that he makes a lot of mistakes as well, makes a lot of errors, leaves his self wide open. And I see I’ve got a lot of holes in his game that I’m gonna exploit. Obviously, I’m not gonna say them here on this interview. But yeah, I see a lot of things that I can expose him with on fight night."

Lopez, meanwhile, is fine with giving Taylor the appropriate amount of respect, even if he’s ready to retire the man.

"He beat Regis Prograis, he beat Ivan Baranchyk, and he’s beaten Jose Ramirez. He went and collected all the belts," Lopez told Fight Hub TV.

"The best against the best, and that’s what boxing is all about. In my eyes, no one has beaten Josh Taylor. He’s still technically [undisputed], but people will say what they’re going to say.

"A lot of these fighters talk a good game on the Internet, but in real life, they don’t do it. With the performance that I’m going to put on against Josh Taylor, it’s going to cause a lot of fighters not to want to face me, even the champions.

"Beating Josh Taylor makes me the kingpin of 140."

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