Josh Taylor could secure “one of the best achievements by a British sportsman or woman in recent years” if he beats Jose Ramirez on Saturday.
That is the view of 5 Live Boxing’s Mike Costello as Scotland’s Taylor embarks on the chance to become the first British fighter to hold all four world titles in a weight division.
Taylor, 30, risks his IBF and WBA super-lightweight belts while American Ramirez puts the WBC and WBO titles on the line.
“There have been six world title fights in the era of four recognised world bodies – going back to 1988 – across the weight divisions with all four belts at stake,” said Costello.
“This is a great chance for Taylor. These are rare, rare occasions. It could be a historic occasion with him possibly becoming the first British fighter ever to be world champion and recognised by all four of the world governing bodies.
“If he wins all four belts on Saturday, there would be a good case for saying that it is one of the best achievements in recent years by any British sportsman or woman.”
‘I’m like you, champ’
Taylor has been training in Las Vegas alongside the likes of Billy Joe Saunders and Tyson Fury.
He says he still finds it somewhat “unbelievable” he has reached a stage of such significance given the names who have fought on the city’s famous strip before him.
“Sometimes when I do sit back and think about it it’s like ‘wow this is really happening to me'”, Taylor told 5 Live Boxing.
“I’m sure I will look back on this after I’ve beaten Ramirez and it will be one of the best memories of my life.”
Taylor expects Ramirez to “run at me” in applying pressure from the opening bell, a strategy he feels will see his 28-year-old rival walk on to “monster shots”.
And if he does secure all four titles at 140lbs, he plans on returning home to visit Ken Buchanan, who achieved undisputed champion status at lightweight in 1971.
Scotland’s Buchanan, 75, is recognised as one of Britain’s greatest ever fighters but has been receiving full-time care at a nursing home since last year.
“It would be amazing to win this fight and go back to Edinburgh and say I’m like him,” Taylor added.
“I could say I proved him right years ago when he said I would be world champion. It would be a really proud moment for me to say ‘I’m like you, champ’.”
‘Six from over 1,000’
Taylor has 17 wins from 17 outings while Ramirez has a perfect 26-fight record.
Taylor already says he has hopes of fighting outdoors at Easter Road – home of Hibernian – or Edinburgh Castle should he win, but 5 Live Boxing’s Steve Bunce says the purity of his Las Vegas bout should not be underestimated.
“In 1988, the WBO was formed,” said Bunce.
“The other sanctioning bodies are the IBF, the WBC and the WBA. Those are the four belts. I can’t tell you how many world champions there have been in the 17 weight divisions since 1988. I’ll take a punt at more than 400. That’s probably more than 1,000 fights and yet just six of them have been for the four belts.
“Boxing needs undisputed champions. Fans, casual cans, they wonder why fights don’t happen. If we can get fighters saying how important it is – saying they want that – it would be fantastic.”