‘I’d love to share a ring with Manny Pacquiao – it would be my dream fight against another southpaw who I’ve watched avidly since age 13’
Josh Taylor makes a mandatory defence of his WBA and IBF light welterweight titles against Thai knockout artist Apinun Khongsong on September 26 in London behind closed doors, but the unbeaten Scottish fighter revealed on Saturday that his dream fight would be at welterweight against eight-division champion and future Hall of Famer Manny Pacquiao.
Southpaw Taylor, from the fishing town of Prestonpans, told Telegraph Sport on Saturday: “I’d love to share a ring with my hero, Manny Pacquiao. It would be my dream fight against another southpaw who I’ve watched avidly since I first took up boxing at the age of 13. He is a special fighter, and an inspiration.”
“There are other great welterweights right now – Terence Crawford, Errol Spence, Shawn Porter – and I call it the ‘sexy’ division. The talent is so deep, it’s unbelievable. But Pacquiao is the man. First, though, I have to become undisputed champion at light welterweight.”
That means the 29-year-old former Glasgow Commonwealth Games champion has to maintain his poise behind closed doors against the heavy-handed and, frankly, underrated Khongsong, before going on to a blockbuster with American Jose Ramirez, who is unbeaten in a 26-fight resume, and who holds the WBO and WBC 140lb belts.
Bob Arum, who promotes both Taylor and Ramirez, said that the undisputed fight between the Scotsman and the exciting Californian is already in the planning for late this year, potentially in Edinburgh, should Taylor prevail against the Thai challenger.
“I think outside the heavyweights and whoever Canelo fights, this is one of the biggest fights out there”; Taylor said. “It’s the purest boxing fight. It’s not very often you get to fight for all the belts. I think it’s one of the biggest fights in the game right now. I’ve got my fight in a couple of weeks, I believe I’ll get through it, no doubt in my mind. My full focus is on that and I don’t really want to talk about Ramirez too much, but potentially that’s a massive fight.”
Taylor is now trained by Ben Davison, who helped bring heavyweight Tyson Fury back from the brink after a deep depression in 2016, and the Scotsman believes the ‘Gypsy King’ deserves No 1 status in the blue riband division.
“At the minute it’s the big man, Tyson Fury. I thought he won the first fight with Deontay Wilder – even with the late knockdown – and he dominated him in the second fight. It showed he’s unpredictable. That fight with Anthony Joshua has to happen, and soon. If it doesn’t happen it’s a joke. I see it 60/40 in favour of Fury. Boxing wise, I don’t think there’s anyone who can beat Fury. But Joshua is very good at combination fighting, a great finisher and very good at mid to short range. His uppercut, left cut and variation is good and he’s powerful all the way through. If Joshua catches him it could be game over. If he gets up, Joshua will jump in and try and finish him. It’s a very, very good fight and I think it has to happen sooner rather than later.”