Undisputed junior welterweight title on the line on Saturday in Glasgow
Undisputed junior welterweight champion Josh Taylor will don the gloves on Saturday to defend his four world championships against mandatory challenger Jack Catterall at the SSE Hydro in Glasgow (2 p.m. ET, ESPN+). Taylor, who has been no stranger to dangerous fights in his rise to the top of the 140-pound division, hopes this defense will help set him up for a move to welterweight and a shot at big names like Terence Crawford and Errol Spence.
Before moving on to more prestigious bouts, Taylor (18-0, 13 KO) has to face WBO mandatory challenger Catterall (26-0, 13 KO).
Catterall had earned his shot at the WBO belt when the sanctioning body ordered a fight with then-WBO and WBC champion Jose Ramirez in 2019. Instead, Ramirez would instead move on to face his WBC mandatory, Viktor Postol. Still in line for a shot at Ramirez, Catterall took money in stride to allow Ramirez and Taylor to fight in a four-belt unification, which Taylor won by a narrow unanimous decision.
Now, after waiting more than two years, Catterall has his chance to become world champion. His patience is also rewarded by getting a rare opportunity to face an undisputed champion.
While the build-up to the fight was initially civil, Taylor’s little innuendos about Catterall’s “shortcut” to the title, as well as the claim that Catterall simply wasn’t on Taylor’s level – or the men he beat to win his four belts – seemed to have pushed Catterall to a new level of intensity during Friday’s weigh-in.
After the two men weighed in and Taylor moved toward Catterall for a face-off, Catterall grabbed Taylor’s throat, leading the pair to separate.
Taylor is not wrong in stating that Catterall has not had to compete anywhere near the elite level that Taylor lives at. That being said, every elite boxer has to have that first real promotion fight. The problem for Catterall is that, while he is a talented boxer, he has never shown the kind of skills that suggest he can compete with Taylor. That said, we’ve said similar words about men like George Kambosos when they were preparing to face Teofimo Lopez, and look how that turned out. Taylor is simply better than Catterall in all areas of the game and it’s hard to see how Catterall can overcome all those deficits to pull off the upset. This is the kind of fight where Taylor’s attack, especially to the body, breaks the challenger before the stoppage mid-rounds. Pick: Taylor by TKO7