Regis Prograis picking Josh Taylor to beat Jose Ramirez
By Brad Slotnick: Former 140-lb champion Regis Prograis is picking IBF/WBA light welterweight champion Josh Taylor to edge WBA/WBO champ Jose Ramirez by a narrow decision this Saturday night in their undisputed championship on ESPN at the Virgin Hotels in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Taylor is the betting favorite to win, but that doesn’t mean much. Ramirez has got the talent to win if he can apply constant pressure the entire fight the way Prograis did against Josh in their clash in 2019.
Regis sees the fight as basically a toss-up, but he gives Taylor, 30, a slight edge due to Ramirez (26-0, 17 KOs) having problems with boxers. Taylor is a boxer who can both move and punch.
For Ramirez to deal with Taylor’s game, he’s going to need to improve over what he showed in the past. Ramirez struggled in his fights against boxers Viktor Postol and Jose Zepeda and was lucky to escape with wins.
Prograis (26-1, 22 KOs) lost a close 12 round majority decision to Taylor in October 2019, so he’s well aware of what he brings to the table in terms of talent.
Regis says he wants the winner of the Taylor vs. Ramirez fight if possible. However, Top Rank promoter Bob Arum has already said that #1 WBO Jack Catterall will be next.
That’s a nothing fight for U.S boxing fans, as many of them have already seen how pedestrian Catterall looked in his wins over Ohara Davies and Tyrone McKenna.
What further makes it clear that Prograis won’t be next for the Taylor – Ramirez winner is that he wasn’t given tickets to the fight by Top Rank.
Prograis says he asked Top Rank for tickets, and they didn’t give it to him. Regis interprets that move by them to mean they don’t want him going inside the ring and making a fuss by calling out the Ramirez vs. Taylor winner afterward, which he says he would be doing if he were there.
Prograis picks Taylor to win against Ramirez
“Josh Taylor should be able to beat him, but the thing is, there’s a lot of motivation from both fighters,” said Regis Prograis to iFL TV. “It’s a very even match-up, but Josh Taylor should edge it out with a split decision.
If Josh Taylor wins, he’ll be the first person from Scotland to have four belts, and if Ramirez wins, he’ll be the first Mexican person to have four belts.
“It could be a toss-up fight, but I roll with Josh Taylor a little more because Ramirez has trouble with boxers. In Ramirez’s camp, they know that and they’re going to work on that.
“They’re going to be double and triple-jabbing to get to Josh Taylor, and, of course, going to the body.
“If Josh Taylor can move his feet and keep his right hand in his face, the southpaw jab, I can’t say an easy fight, he definitely should be able to win.
“If Josh Taylor bangs with Ramirez, he’ll have a lesser chance of winning. Decision, I don’t see him getting a stoppage.
“If he does, that’ll be a hell of a statement, but he should be able to get a split decision victory. Ramirez is strong, he’s in shape, and he’s going to keep coming the whole time.
“He has a chin also. So to me, Josh Taylor has to be slick and move his feet, get that southpaw angle and keep that right hand in his face all night and set up the big shots,” Prograis said.
Taylor can easily be drawn into a slugfest by Ramirez in this fight, particularly once the crowds start cheering. That’s the weakness that Taylor.
He lets the crowds throw off his game, causing him to slug when he should be boxing. Ramirez’s best bet to win this clash is to stay on top of Taylor, throw a lot of heavy shots, and not let him rest for a second.
As we saw in Taylor’s fight with Prograis, he gassed out in the second half of his matches when pressed hard. Ramirez is even more capable of putting pressure on Taylor than Prograis, so this could be interesting.
Prograis wants Taylor vs. Ramirez winner
“I never fought Ramirez yet,” Prograis said. “I don’t think if Josh fights the way he fought me, I don’t think that’ll be a success for him because Ramirez is a really good inside fighter. I’m pretty sure they’ve watched the fight with me a bunch of times.
“I got to have the winner,” said Prograis. “And I definitely want the winner. I got offers to go up to 147 a bunch of times.
“Josh Taylor is something I definitely want, we got to have that rematch. Even if he loses, I think me and him are definitely going to fight again, but, of course, I want the winner.
“I’m next in line for everything. Even if he loses, me and him have to run it back.
“I’ll definitely be having my eye out for the winner for sure,” said Prograis.”If he goes up to 147, I might have to go up there too and chase Josh Taylor.”
As this writer points out, Top Rank already has Catterall in mind for Taylor to fight if he’s victorious on Saturday. While a Taylor vs. Catterall fight won’t attract interest from U.S boxing fans, it’ll be big in England. Catterall is from the UK, so that’s the obvious rationale for why Top Rank is eager to make that fight.
Additionally, you can argue that Prograis is a threat to Taylor’s title reign, and it’s perhaps better for Top Rank if Josh continues to be unbeaten and hold titles than if Regis grabs the belts.
Boxing is a business and with Taylor’s popularity in the UK and his ability to bring in large crowds once the pandemic ends, he’s someone that will likely bring in more money to Top Rank than if Prograis dethrones him.
At this point, it’s likely that Prograis won’t ever get another chance to fight Taylor for the remainder of his career.
If Taylor is successful on Saturday, he’ll defend against Catterall and maybe once more fight against fellow Top Rank fighter Teofimo Lopez or Gervonta Davis before moving up to 147.
When Taylor goes up to 147, Top Rank will match him against WBO champion Terence Crawford in what would be another in-house fight for the promotional company.
Interestingly, Top Rank promoter Bob Arum floated the idea this week of Crawford fighting the Taylor vs. Ramirez winner. That’s obviously an option too. Crawford needs a big fight, and Top Rank failed at setting up a match between him and Manny Pacquiao.
If they can let Crawford fight the winner of the Taylor – Ramirez clash, that might make him happy enough to re-ink with them when his contract expires with Top Rank in October.
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