Trainer Shane McGuigan believes Josh Taylor can be the first boxer to knock out Mexican Miguel Vazquez in 44 attempts at the Royal Highland Centre tomorrow night.
The Prestonpans super lightweight makes the first defence of his WBC Silver belt against former IBF world lightweight champion Vazquez in just his 11th fight of his professional career.
But McGuigan, son of former ring legend Barry, has been so impressed with Taylor since he signed with Cyclone Promotions in summer 2015, that he can take Vazquez to places that no boxer has taken him before.
“First and foremost he’s got to win,” McGuigan said at yesterday’s final press conference. “We’ve prepared for a hard 12 rounds and it could very well go down to that. Vazquez takes a very good shot and has been in there with the likes of Canelo [Alvarez], has taken big punches and is the first guy to beat Breidis Prescott which came straight after Prescott had knocked out Amir Khan.
“But if Josh can break him down and take him out, which is what we’re looking to do, then that would be a massive statement.
“In this day and age with boxing, the likes of Anthony Joshua are stealing all the limelight because you have to make big statements.
“So for Josh to stop someone like Miguel Vazquez in the boxing industry, that is a big statement.
“The likes of Ricky Burns didn’t fight Vazquez when he was a world champion at lightweight. Other British fighters like Kevin Mitchell, they all avoided fighting Vazquez so no-one called him out. Vazquez is awkward, don’t get me wrong, but Josh has the style to beat him and potentially stop him.”
McGuigan revealed one of Taylor’s biggest attributes is his punching power, a part of his game that was regularly criticised under previous regimes when boxing as an amateur.
“Josh is still developing,” McGuigan explained. “He spent seven years on the GB squad as an amateur but I don’t think they gave him the attention he needed and rightfully deserved.
“Guys like Luke Campbell were the favourites and Josh was always pushed to the back of the queue when he arguably had more talent than all of them who were on the team.
“But since he’s come on board with us we’ve given him the right focus and made sure he’s been sparring world-class guys and they’ve all come out shocked by his speed and power. He is just getting better and better as a fighter.
“The only reason Ohara Davies took that last fight with Josh was because Ricky Burns had sparred Josh when he was an amateur and had said to Davies that he wasn’t much of a puncher and that he didn’t really rate him.
“No-one wanted to fight Ohara Davies, but Josh did. I personally didn’t want Josh to fight Davies, but we got him and look what he did to him.”