Josh Taylor vs. Miguel Vazquez – Results
By Jeff Aranow: WBC Silver light welterweight champion Josh “The Tartan Tornado” Taylor (11-0, 10 KOs) defeated former IBF lightweight champion Miguel Vazquez (39-6, 15 KOs) by a 9th round on Saturday night at the Royal Highland Centre in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Taylor, 26, knocked the 30-year-old Vazquez down with a right to the body in the 9th. Vazquez was then counted out by the referee.
Taylor was cut over his left eye in round 2 from a clash of heads.
Taylor got the better of Vazquez in the 1st round with his huge size. However, the puppet-like Vazquez fought well in rounds 2 and 3, catching Taylor repeatedly with uppercuts when he would plow forward. Vazquez didn’t have the power on his punches to faze Taylor no matter how often he landed.
By round 5, Vazquez looked completely worn out. His legs looked rubbery and weak, and his punches became even weaker than they’d been earlier in the fight. Vazquez did not look like the energetic fighter he’d been in the zenith of his career from 2010-2014. Vazquez looked older than his 30 years.
Taylor was able to take advantage of Vazquez gassing out by charging forward and nailing him with shots. Vazquez was still able to make Taylor miss repeatedly with his shots. Taylor was winding up with homerun swings, and it was easy for Vazquez to make him miss. However, Taylor would catch Vazquez occasionally with his power shots, and he obviously felt it. Having the huge weight advantage over Vazquez really helped Taylor.
In round 7, the southpaw Taylor started to showboat or at least try to. He feigned like he was going to throw a left bolo punch. Vazquez took advantage of this by nailing Taylor with a straight left to the head. It had to have been embarrassing for Taylor, because he was trying to clown Vazquez and he paid for it by getting nailed. The crowd went from cheering Taylor to complete silence after he got hit.
This seemed to anger Taylor, who didn’t like getting embarrassed while he was trying to embarrass Vazquez. Taylor then grabbed Vazquez in a headlock and hit him 4 times in the face with hard shots. It was very dirty move that should have resulted in Taylor being penalized by the referee, as Vazquez’s head was at Taylor’s waist level due to the headlock he had him in. Instead of the referee penalizing Taylor, he merely warned him. At this point in the fight, Taylor didn’t need to resort to fouling or showboating Vazquez. Taylor was clearly in control of the fight due to his size and conditioning advantage. There was no real reason to try and embarrass Vazquez, and there definitely was no reason to foul him the way he did with the punches o the face when he was in a headlock. Taylor also nailed Vazquez with a hard rabbit punch in a clinch. The referee didn’t do anything about the rabbit shot. A lot of referees would have stopped the action and warned Taylor that he can’t throw illegal punches to the back of the head. Interestingly enough, Vazquez finished the round strong, nailing Taylor with repeated uppercuts to the head when he would charge forward.
At the start of round 8, Taylor dashed across the ring and unloaded on a very tired looking Vazquez with big punches to the head and body. Vazquez looked depleted, and it was clear that he was not going to last much longer. Vazquez’s body language when he came out for the start of the round was that of a tired and beaten fighter. He didn’t have anything left by that point in the fight. Taylor teed off on Vazquez in the 8th, and landed a lot of hurtful shots. Vazquez connected with only a small handful of punches. With the shots Vazquez did land, he had no power on them. His arms looked rubbery, as did his legs. This wasn’t the same Vazquez that had held the IBF lightweight title from 2010 to 2014. Vazquez looked older and not conditioned well enough to fight at the pace that Taylor was forcing him to.
In round 9, Taylor hurt Vazquez with a right to the body. Taylor then nailed Vazquez with 2 big left uppercuts to the jaw when he was in close. Moments later, Taylor connected with a right to the body that put Vazquez down on all fours on the canvas. The referee then counted Vazquez out.
A victory was a forgone conclusion from the 1s round, as Taylor was so much bigger than Vazquez in terms of size. Both guys were 5’10”, but Taylor looked like he’d rehydrated to close to 160, and he had a tremendous size advantage over the rail-thin Vazquez. Taylor is big enough to fight at welterweight, but he has advantage over the smaller guys he’s fighting in the 140 lb. division. Vazquez looks like he should still be fighting at lightweight, because he doesn’t have the size to compete with the large light welterweights like Taylor and some of the other guys like Viktor Postol.
All in all, it was a decent performance from Taylor. He got the win, but he didn’t impress. The way that Taylor looked tonight, he’d have been destroyed by Terence Crawford. It wouldn’t have been a fight. With Crawford moving up in weight to 147, Taylor has a chance to win one or more of the titles at 140. There are still some fighters in the light welterweight division that will give Taylor problems. Taylor will struggle against fighters like Regis Prograis, Postol, Omar Figueroa, Rances Barthelemy, Kiryl Relikh and Sergey Lipinets. It’s possible Taylor can beat all of them. We’ll have to find out in the future if Taylor has what it takes to be a top fighter at 140. Just based on what Taylor showed tonight against a past best outsized Vazquez, I don’t know that he’s going to be able to beat all of those fighters. Some of those guys would have a good chance of beating Taylor. He’s too easy to hit when coming forward, and he loads up too much with his power shot. Taylor is also a dirty fighter at times, and that’ll cost him points if he keeps fighting like that in the future.