LAS VEGAS — In a battle worthy of an undisputed title fight, Josh Taylor used a pair of knockdowns and some crisp boxing to defeat Jose Ramirez and become the undisputed super lightweight champion Saturday at the Virgin Hotel.
Judges Steve Weisfeld, Tim Cheatham and Dave Moretti all had it 114-112 for Taylor. Yahoo Sports also scored it 114-112 for Taylor.
“I’ve trained for this all my life,” an emotional Taylor said.
Ramirez came out hard and was doing great work to Taylor’s body. But Taylor adjusted, using his straight left to keep Ramirez from rushing in, and turned the fight in his favor.
The decisive points came on knockdowns in the sixth and seventh rounds. In the sixth, they were fighting in Taylor’s corner early in the round. Ramirez missed a wild punch and Taylor ripped him with a left cross that put the Californian on the seat of his pants.
In the seventh, they were battling on the inside when Taylor fired the left uppercut from hell. He caught Ramirez on the chin and dropped him. Ramirez would have been stopped had there been much more time left, but by the time referee Kenny Bayless restarted the bout, there were less than 10 seconds left.
Ramirez showed his grit by finishing the fight firing punches.
“I have nothing but respect for Ramirez,” Taylor said. “Nothing but love and respect for that man.”
The fight was only the second fight for the undisputed 140-pound title in the division’s history. Terence Crawford knocked out Julius Indongo on Aug. 19, 2017, to unify it for the first time.
This was a battle of unbeaten champions, each of whom brought two belts into the fight. Taylor boxed better, used his jab well and countered smartly.
Ramirez kept trying, but the snap left his punches after the knockdowns and Taylor took advantage of it.
Ramirez had to respect Taylor’s left hand and was unable to work the body the way he had earlier in the fight.
But it was a classic back-and-forth battle that was worthy of its status.
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