By Charles Brun: Bob Arum plans to stage the light-welterweight undisputed match-up between IBFF/WBA champ Josh Taylor and WBC/WBO champion Jose Ramirez on May 8th at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The Top Rank promoter Arum doesn’t appear to be worried about going up against Canelo Alvarez. It’s anticipated will be fighting on the May 8th date against Billy Joe Saunders on DAZN.
Canelo (54-1-2, 36 KOs) and Matchroom Boxing still haven’t decided whether to fight on May 1st or May 8th. If he takes the May 1st date, that will make things easier.
But he’s a proud fighter, and he chooses to take the May 8th date and compete with the Ramirez-Taylor fight. Canelo is a bigger star than Ramirez and Taylor in the United States, but it still won’t be good for him and especially DAZN to have competition on that date.
As far as DAZN goes, it’s bad enough that Canelo is choosing to fight a guy that the casual boxing fans in the U.S aren’t familiar with in Saunders (30-0, 14 KOs).
Billy Joe from the UK, and he’s arguably a belt-holder AKA paper champion, and not viewed as being in the same league as the talented fighters in 168-lb the division.
Saunders, 31, has looked lethargic, slow, and hittable since moving up from the 160-pound division to super-middleweight in 2019 after Gilberto ‘Zurdo’ Ramirez vacated his WBO 168lb title and left it vacant.
Saunders capitalized on the vacant title and quickly moved up in weight and defeated little known German Shefat Isufi to capture the belt.
The U.S fans are not demanding that Canelo fight Saunders or little known Avni Yildirim. This is an idea that Canelo came up with, and DAZN is going along with it rather than putting their foot down and insisting he take on fighters the U.S fans want to see him fight.
We’re talking about David Benavidez, Gennadiy Golovkin, Jermall Charlo, Demetrius Andrade, and Artur Beterbiev. Canelo hasn’t shown interest in fighting any of those guys, and it’s not surprising.
Those are all tough outs for Canelo, especially the unbeaten Beterbiev (15-0, 15 KOs). Some boxing fans believe that the recent Canelo fled the 175 lb division because he wanted no part to fight the undefeated IBF/WBC light-heavyweight champion Beterbiev.
Scheduling Ramirez vs. Taylor on the same night as Canelo vs. Saunders won’t be good for either promotion, but it looks like Arum is willing to take that the chance. Ramirez – Taylor would be shown on ESPN.
There is a lot of interest from boxing fans in seeing the undefeated American Jose Ramirez (26-0, 17 KOs) taking on the unbeaten Scottish fighter Taylor (17-0, 13 KOs).
The fight between Taylor and Ramirez will set up a bigger one that Arum is looking forward to, with undisputed lightweight champion Teofimo Lopez moving up to challenge the winner.
The 2012 Olympian Taylor gained a measure of notoriety in the U.S when he defeated WBA 140lb champion Regis Prograis by a 12 round majority decision to win the World Boxing Super Series tournament in October 2019.
It was a narrow win for Taylor, who got lucky that Prograis fought his fight for the first seven rounds by battling him on the inside. Prograis battered Taylor when he took the fight to the outside in the last five rounds.
He had the Scottish fighter’s eye closed at the end, and he looked bad. Prograis has been asking for a rematch ever since, but Taylor, not surprisingly, hasn’t taken him up on the offer.