Scotland’s Josh Taylor is the undisputed champion of the world at 140lbs, after dropping a spirited Jose Ramirez twice en route to a close but thoroughly merited unanimous decision at the Virgin Hotels Resort in Las Vegas on Saturday night.
In a mesmerising encounter, all three judges scored the unification bout 114-112, meaning Taylor’s two knockdowns in the sixth and seventh rounds proved the difference on the cards.
Californian Ramirez rallied to win the last four rounds on one card and three of the last four in the eyes of the other two judges, but it was not enough.
The WBC and WBO champion showed typical industry early on and enjoyed a dominant third where he buzzed Taylor with a hefty left hook and riddled the Scot with right hands. Southpaw Taylor was hampered by a cut left eye in the fifth, but his edge in power told in the following round.
The onrushing Ramirez was floored by a stiff left hand in the sixth and the momentum swiftly shifted in the Edinburgh man’s favour. Ramirez survived, but worse was to follow for the Mexican American in the seventh when he was dropped heavily by a hellacious left uppercut from the brilliant Scot.
Ramirez was badly hurt and struggled to his feet on wobbly legs, but referee Kenny Bayless gave him every chance to survive, administering a slow count before delaying the bout further by issuing a long ‘walk to me’ instruction to the home fighter then waving Taylor away. It bought Ramirez crucial time near the end of the round and he survived Taylor’s follow-up onslaught to make the fight close on the cards.
Clearly behind, Ramirez clawed back the apparent points deficit as Taylor took his foot off the gas and seemed content to tie up his opponent and preserve his lead. Ramirez propelled himself forward in desperation, but WBA Super and IBF champion Taylor remained ice cool under pressure.
Ramirez buzzed Taylor with a left hook in a strong 11th round and the Scot opted to play it safe in the final session to become the first ever Briton to hold all the major world titles in the four-belt era. At 140lbs, Taylor reigns supreme.
Main image: Mikey Williams/Top Rank.