As Josh Taylor prepares to defend his super lightweight world title against Teofimo Lopez across the pond, Roy Jones Jr believes the outcome depends on one thing.
Both men are at a bit of a crossroads in their career. Lopez is two fights in to this new, bigger weight division after shocking the world with a win over Vasiliy Lomachenko at lightweight and then being shocked himself against George Kambosos Jr.
Taylor – formerly undisputed but still undefeated – has been out of the ring for over a year now after a contentious decision win against Jack Catterall. Since then, he’s hung around at a weight that he may just be too big for in the hope of a rematch that never materialised.
Both men have something to prove, and both will be forced to make a big decision should they lose.
Speaking to Boxing News, Jones – a four-weight world champion himself – said it all depends on what Lopez turned up in New York on Saturday night.
“That’s a really good fight. We gotta see how Teofimo comes back, and bounce back from those injuries and stuff. Is he back in shape? Is he back in normal form? The things that have been wrong with him, has he fixed those things?”
Should the Brooklyn native be 100% fighting fit – which, it must be noted, he often hasn’t been – Jones predicts he’ll have enough to take the champion’s belt.
If he’s not, he won’t beat Josh Taylor, because Josh Taylor is a fighter who’s on his weight. But if he’s at his normal, physical way of being, then I would lean probably towards Teofimo, because of the experience factor.
I know he was sucking himself down pretty light making 135, so he’ll be more comfortable at 140. Now Josh can punch, and Josh not a bad fighter either, but experience wise I would lean towards Teofimo … Josh is no walkover.”
The pair lace up and face off on Saturday June 10, live on ESPN in the States and Sky Sports in the UK.