Two-weight world champion turned boxing analyst Timothy Bradley feels that Jose Ramirez can topple Josh Taylor in their undisputed 140lbs title fight at the Virgin Hotels Las Vegas resort this weekend.
WBA Super and IBF champion Taylor (17-0, 13 KOs) is a healthy 4/9 favourite, but the Scot has boxed less than a round in the last 19 months – a 161-second dismissal of mandatory challenger Apinun Khongsong in September – and left trainer Shane McGuigan to link up with Ben Davison.
In that same period, WBC and WBO title holder Ramirez (26-0, 17 KOs) squeaked past Viktor Postol on a majority decision with many observers expecting Taylor’s more varied skillset to prevail when all four major world titles are up for grabs on Saturday.
But the astute Bradley feels an upset may be on the cards due to the Mexican-American’s pressure and conditioning.
“Between fighting styles, what’s at stake and each guy’s temperament, it’s just going to make for a fantastic night of championship boxing,” Bradley told ESPN.com. “Normally when it’s this tight a call, I have to lean toward the boxer, the guy I think is the better technical fighter. But in this instance, I feel like I have to go against the grain.
“When I’m playing this fight out in my mind, I think back to when Zab Judah fought against Carlos Baldomir in 2006. Baldomir put pressure on Judah, caught him with that big left hook, hurt him and was able to win on the scorecards. He won that fight because of his presence, pressure and toughness. Sometimes that’s all it takes. You want it more, you’re hungrier and you have better conditioning, in addition to serious punching power.
“Mental toughness can sometimes overcome a lot of the skill that the other guy has. That’s what’s got Ramirez to where he’s at today and that could very well get him through this fight. He might be the betting underdog, but I think he’s going to pull off the upset.”