As the insults were exchanged ahead of tomorrow night’s World Boxing Super Series final, IBF super lightweight champion Taylor let rip after weeks of frustration over his opponent’s trash talk.
The undefeated Prestonpans puncher has clearly been riled by the New Orleans native’s attempts to big himself up. To the American’s credit, though, he is the current WBA world champion having racked up 24 consecutive wins as professional and is the No.1 seed in the competition.
Taylor, the No.2 seed, however, who saw off Belarusian Ivan Baranchyk in the penultimate round in May at Glasgow’s SSE Hydro, doesn’t believe his rival has the upper hand and looks on his unblemished record with some disdain.
“I don’t think he does anything better than me,” said Taylor, who is also vying to win the Muhammad Ali Trophy and Ring Magazine belt. “He’s got good timing, good head movement. But he’s had 24 wins – against nobody. He’s not fought anybody who has been in there to win, to hurt him and rip his belts off him. He’s not fought live opponents who can hurt him. It’s a padded record against bin men.
“I’ll take his belts off him and send him back to America like a skelped dug with his tail between his legs. He thinks he is a superstar, Mr Big Time. He turned up in a three-piece suit and wore sunglasses inside (at yesterday’s press conference). What an a******e.
“Joking aside, he’s rubbed me up the wrong way but I’ll always be civil after the fight. I don’t know him well enough to hate him but I am in fight mode. He’ll have thoughts and think he’s going to win. It’s just not going to happen.
“I’m in the best shape ever, I’m switched on. All these belts on the line is going to bring the best out of me.”
Taylor continued: “I believe this is the coming out party. Everybody is going to know who I am here and in America – after I take care of him. I want to go on to bigger and better things. I 100 per cent I feel like I can knock him out. I know I can lay him out cold.”
Prograis, two years Taylor’s senior, scrubs up well. He looks as if he is in this game to enjoy himself. He has been based in London for the past three weeks and has embraced the attention. Nonetheless, he insists he can back up his words by inflicting a first career defeat on the 2014 Commonwealth Games gold medallist.
“Look at my record. I’m versatile, that’s the biggest difference,” Prograis explained. “I can do so many different things in the ring. My last ten fights, all were different. You can try to study me but, when you can’t touch me, I hit you and I hurt you, that’s it.
“When we had the pairings, I knew it would be me and him in the final. He’s taller, he’s longer. That’s a fact. Does he hit harder? Maybe, maybe not. Is he faster? Maybe, maybe not. But even if he had all those advantages over me, he can’t beat me.
“The tale of the tape never matters. The only thing matters is the heart and the boxing IQ. I feel I can do anything in the ring. I feel like I’m home, I’ve got people coming up and asking me for pictures. I feel like I’m the home fighter. But I know that will be different in the O2.”
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