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Jack Catterall to step aside for Josh Taylor vs. Jose Ramirez in 2021

Jose Ramirez Josh Taylor

By Charles Brun: WBO light-welterweight mandatory challenger Jack Catterall has agreed to step aside so that IBF/WBA 140-lb champion Josh Taylor can face WBC/WBO champ Jose Ramirez for the undisputed championship, in the first half of 2021. Mike Coppinger is reporting the news of Catterall stepping aside.

Catterall probably won’t fight for the undisputed championship against the Taylor vs. Ramirez fight winner because they’ll vacate all four titles. There’s no money in the winner sticking around to face Catterall, who is unknown in the U.S and isn’t one of the popular fighters in his own country in the UK.

If Catterall were popular, he would likely get a shot at the undisputed championship against the Taylor-Ramirez winner. But then again, if Catterall were popular, he wouldn’t have been around since 2018 for his title know.

Catterall said to have received step aside

It’s unknown if Catterall was paid any step aside payment to have him let the Ramirez vs. Taylor contest proceed. It doesn’t make sense for Catterall to move out of the way without getting at least some kind of payment.

It’s being discussed that Catterall was given a step aside payment, but it hasn’t been confirmed.

Jose Ramirez Josh Taylor

It’s a good move by the unbeaten Catterall (25-0, 13 KOs), as he’s already been waiting for his title for the WBO belt since 2018. By putting it off until 2021, Catterall will have been in line for his title shot for three years. If Catterall wins the WBO title in 2021, it’ll have been worth the wait.

Even if Jack only briefly holds the strap, it’s still a good thing to have on his resume. Being an ex-WBO champion will help Catterall get other fighters, and it’s an overall positive for his career. First, Catterall has got to battle for the WBO title once the Ramirez-Taylor clash winner vacates it.

It makes sense for the 27-year-old Catterall to step aside for the Taylor-Ramirez, fight, seeing that the winner of the contest is expected to vacate all the titles, including the WBO strap. Once the WBO becomes vacant, Catterall will battle for the vacant belt against either #2 Liam Paro or #3 Jose Zepeda.

Catterall would have a better chance of beating Paro than Zepeda, who is arguably a better fighter than Jose Ramirez (26-0, 17 KOs). Right now, Zepeda might be the second-best fighter at 140 behind Josh Taylor.

Taylor vs. Ramirez in early 2021

All four 140lb titles, IBF, WBA, WBC, and WBO, will be on the line for the Taylor vs. Ramirez fight when the match occurs early next year.

If not for Catterall stepping aside, WBO champion Ramirez would have had to defend against him or else lose his title. However, Top Rank, the promoters for Ramirez and Taylor, probably would have paid Catterall a step aside fee to get him out of the way if he didn’t get one this time.

Taylor (17-0, 13 KOs) is viewed as the favorite to beat Ramirez in early 2021, and he’s already said that he plans on vacating the straps and moving up to 147. Ramirez says he’s going to move up to welterweight as well.

It’s unknown whether the loser of that fight will still choose to go up to 147. They probably will, given that the revenue they can make is better in that weight class. With Top Rank promoting both Ramirez and Taylor, they’ll likely get a shot at fighting Crawford in 2021 or by 2022.

If Crawford can’t get a fight against Manny Pacquiao or Errol Spence Jr in 2021, then there’s a good chance that he’ll fight the winner of Taylor vs. Ramirez next year. Assuming Crawford is still the WBO 147lb champion by 2022, then he’ll undoubtedly face the lower of the Taylor-Ramirez fight at that time.

“Sources: Jack Catterall, the WBO’s No. 1 contender at 140 pounds, has agreed to step aside to allow Josh Taylor-Jose Ramírez to proceed for all four belts in early 2021. In return, Catterall has been assured he’ll receive an immediate shot at the winner,” said @MikeCoppinger.

Taylor, 29, is coming off of a first-round knockout win over his International Boxing Federation mandatory Apinum Khongsong last month on September 26th in London, UK. Josh landed a sneaky left to the body that laid Khongsong out late in the round. The Thai fighter was too hurt to get back up, and the fight halted on the spot.

Ramirez coming off controversial win

For his part, Ramirez defeated WBC mandatory Viktor Postol by a controversial 12 round majority decision on August 29 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Postol out-boxed Ramirez in the last eight rounds of the contest and appeared to do enough to deserve the victory.

Jose Ramirez Josh Taylor

Two of the judges scored it for Ramirez by the scores 115-113 and 116-112. The third just had it 114-114. Boxing News 24 scored it for Postol 116-112. Ramirez vs. Postol is a fight that screams out for a rematch, but it’s not happening.

Jose has decided to move on and face Taylor, but this isn’t the first time that Ramirez has won a controversial decision. On February 10, 2019, Ramirez beat Jose Zepeda by a controversial 12 round majority decision in Fresno, California.

The boxing public had Zepeda winning that fight, as he outboxed Ramirez in the same way that Postol did, and he found himself on the receiving end of an old-fashioned hometown decision.

All the flaws that Ramirez showed in his game against Postol and Zepeda will likely be exploited by Taylor when he gets in there with him next year. Ramirez’s luck may run out for him when he meets up with Taylor, and he’ll end up suffering his first career defeat.

Catterall as done little to deserve a title shot

The criticism that boxing fans have about Catterall is that he’s done precious little to deserve a title shot against the WBO champion. To become the WBO mandatory, Catterall defeated Ohara Davies in 2018. That’s not a big deal; Davies is little more than a domestic level fighter, and not a true world-class contender.

Now and then, we see an odd ranking by the WBO, and Catterall is another example of that. A year ago, we saw the WBO give German heavyweight Tom Schwarz before his contest against Tyson Fury. Schwartz looked completely over-matched against Fury in losing by a second-round knockout.


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