Josh Taylor prepared to step up a weight in bid to become an 'all-time great'
Josh Taylor is ready to step up a weight division – setting his sights on becoming a two‑weight unified world champion and an “all-time great” – if he sees off Jack Catterall on Saturday.
The undisputed world light-welterweight champion reckons the successful defence of his WBA, WBC, IBF and WBO belts against English challenger Catterall at the Hydro in Glasgow will leave nothing left for him to achieve in his division. Instead, he has far greater ambitions. Terence Crawford is the prime target.
Taylor is one of only five men in the history of boxing to hold all four belts in his division, but the 31-year-old Prestonpans puncher has not had the recognition his achievements deserve.
Moving up to welterweight is one way of helping him do that. It would open up the prospect of a mouth-watering dual with Crawford, widely regarded as one of the top three pound‑for‑pound fighters in the world.
In terms of profile, securing a shot at the American would propel the Scot into a different league.
Should he go on to achieve his ultimate aim of conquering that division too, Taylor knows it would make him an “all-time great”. That is his goal.
In an interview with The Guardian, he revealed: “If it goes the right way against Catterall I’ve achieved all I can at 140 pounds. I always believe in improving and setting new goals, so I’ve set my sights on becoming a two‑weight unified world champion.
“It’s definitely an achievable goal and this way it keeps my desire and fire burning to go down as an all-time great in British and world boxing.”
Taylor knows Crawford is a giant step up in class and admits it would give him the “fear factor”, but insists he would rather risk defeat rather than avoid facing one of the world’s greatest fighters in a weight category above him.
“If I can go my whole career without losing it would be absolutely fantastic, but I don’t think it’s the be-all and end‑all,” he added.
“I don’t think a loss defines any fighter. Look at the UFC where guys have had 20 fights and five or six losses. But they know that all the top guys can beat each other.
“That’s what boxing needs, even more so now after the Floyd Mayweather era where it became all about your unbeaten record.
“A lot of fighters are trying to protect their records and it ruins the sport in terms of big fights not happening.”
He added: “Crawford was the undisputed champion at 140, and he’s now unified champion at welterweight in a hot division. But if a fight with me happens I believe I’m 100% capable of winning.
“That’s the fight that would give me the fear factor and push me to new heights. Otherwise, if you don’t have that kind of challenge, you go stale.”
Crawford's recent lawsuit against promoter Top Rank, which promotes the American as well as Taylor, is a potential obstacle, but the Tartan Tornado is convinced the fight is big enough for a resolution to be found and a deal to be done.
“It's still a fight that is quite easy to make,” Taylor told ESPN. “Just because something like that is going on, it's still a fight that could be made.”
Speaking to The Ring, he added: “I think it is big enough and I think the demand is there as well. It would be a great thing to watch.”
Nine months ago in Las Vegas, Taylor beat the previously unbeaten José Ramírez, twice knocking down the American on his way to a unanimous victory on points.
By doing so, he became the first British fighter to win the WBA, WBC, IBF and WBO titles in his weight division but he was ignored in the BBC’s annual sports review of the year.
Asked about the lack of mainstream recognition, Taylor admitted “it’s a little frustrating”. He added: “If I’d been someone else on a different platform, or from somewhere else, I’d have been all over the place.”
Asked why he has not been given the attention his achievements deserve, Taylor replied: “I really don’t know. But I’m not in it for that anyway. I’m not a show pony.
“The achievement’s there and you can’t take away from what I’ve done.
“I don’t live for the adulation and the pats on the back. I’m doing it because I want to be the best in the sport.”