Josh Taylor, the former undisputed junior welterweight champion who relinquished three of his four belts and now only holds the WBO strap, is back in the ring to face the young and bold Teofimo Lopez Jr., himself a former lightweight unified three-belt titlist.
The fight Saturday at The Theater at Madison Square Garden will be Lopez’s third fight at 140 pounds. He has been persistent in challenging Taylor, who many consider the No. 1 140-pounder in the world. (ESPN ranks him No. 2).
Both are incredibly talented and feed off the words “You can’t.” Lopez, of Brooklyn, New York, has captured the media’s attention in and out of the ring with an outgoing personality that caught fire with showcase fights after the Heisman presentation a few years ago. Taylor, of Scotland, is the betting favorite (-175 according to Caesars Sportsbook) because of his domination in the division and his aggressive fighting style, fearlessness and competitive nature.
Taylor is bigger in size and height. He’s also a true junior welterweight, is undefeated and has a deep résumé full of bona fide contenders and champions. He has a win over the reigning WBC champion in the division, Regis Prograis, a hard-hitting boxer-puncher with exceptional talent and skills.
Timothy Bradley’s take: More than punches, these factors will decide Josh Taylor vs. Teofimo Lopez Jr.