Is Josh Taylor one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world? That question is not going to be answered definitively on Saturday night's fight against Jack Catterall, but the general consensus is that he is a star on the rise.
As BetOnline customers may also know, he is a champion, and one of "undisputed" status as well. He has, in fact, won the IBF, WBC, WBO and WBA belts. And the way things work for someone like him, the mandatory obligations rotate from one sanctioning body to he next. In this instance, it is the a fight against he WBO's #1 contender, Catterall, who gets the call.
These two are both southpaws, and both undefeated, and they will battle on Saturday night in Taylor's home territory of Glasgow.
Catterall (26-0,13 KO's) has not fought a glittering array of opponents, but he is not necessarily lightly-regarded. He is industrious, and a pressure fighter who will make Taylor (18-0,13 KO's) work.
Taylor won't want to look past him, of course, but there is the inevitable talk about fighting other people, most notably Terence Crawford, a welterweight who has been a popular choice for the pound-for-pound #1 spot.
In the boxing betting odds that have been posted on this championship bout at BetOnline, Taylor is a considerable favorite:
Josh Taylor -1200
Jack Catterall +700
Over 10.5 Rounds -115
Under 10.5 Rounds -115
In making a case for Catterall, his backers might point out that he is not likely to be outhustled by the champion. But there is still a lot he has to overcome.
One of Taylor's great attributes is that he has versatility in terms of style. He will have about a three-inch height advantage and the ability to stand up and box from the outside. But to be perfectly honest, his instinct is to let his opponents get close, because he is very sharp when working on the inside.
So the question is whether Taylor wants to try and outbox and oufox Catterall, or rather chooses to perhaps take his man out while keeping him at close range.
He might be better advised to do the former, because Catteral can't really jab with him. In fact, he doesn't really utilize a snappy, authoritative right jab, and therefore it's more difficult for him to work his way inside, or set up his primary weapon, which is a straight left hand.
On the other hand, without a jab he would have a hard time keeping Taylor from getting inside. And then it might come down to who the sharper puncher is.
And since Catterall has only thirteen KO's among his 26 wins, we don't like his chances to overpower the champ. Not that Taylor is a great puncher, but he is better in that regard.
Understand that when a fighter is there to get hit, he is indeed going to get hit, if he is opposed by a precision puncher. Taylor might be that guy, and he won't have to look too hard to find Catterall. To be honest, we don't know all we need to know about the challenger's chin, because he is relatively inexperienced as a pro.
What we wonder more than that is whether Catterall has the resourcefulness to get himself out of trouble, or to come up with other ways to compete on even terms. We're going to take a shot with a better price on Taylor, as we'll lay -165 on him ending this bout inside the distance.
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