It's time to give "The Tartan Tornado" his flowers.
After hovering close to the top 10 rankings in recent years, Josh Taylor (18-0, 13 KOs) finally made it to the pound-for-pound party following a brilliant unanimous decision win over fellow unified junior welterweight champion Jose Ramirez in their long-awaited undisputed championship bout.
Becoming just the second fighter in the four-belt era to win all four titles at 140 pounds, Taylor showcased a perfect balance between boxer and puncher as he floored Ramirez twice and largely kept the fight on his own terms by taking away his opponent's jab and operating in the mid-range.
The lanky southpaw, who previously unified titles by outlasting Regis Prograis in a 2019 thriller, has gained worldwide notoriety within the sport the old-fashioned way by taking on difficult challenges and, in the case of the Ramirez fight, traveling from his native Scotland to Las Vegas in pursuit of a career-defining victory.
A recent union with trainer Ben Davison, who helped guide heavyweight champion Tyson Fury's comeback in 2018, has turned out to be a fruitful one as Taylor took on far less damage against Ramirez than he did in the Prograis fight while showcasing brilliant footwork and an increased focus on body punching.
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Taylor, who owes a mandatory title defense to unbeaten Jack Catterall of Great Britain, is not without big-name options moving forward. Promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank would prefer matching him against unbeaten WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford while Prograis, currently a promotional free agent, took to social media to share his hope for a rematch of their majority decision.
Given how loaded the 135-pound division directly below currently is, Taylor could also see himself eventually building toward a showdown against unified lightweight champion Teofimo Lopez Jr., who has talked in the past about targeting the winner of last weekend's fight.
Either way, Taylor appears to be a very major player in and around his weight class and, at age 30, continues to get better.
| 1. Canelo Alvarez||56-1-2, 37 KOs||Unified super middleweight champion||--|
|Alvarez looked unbeatable in making the proper adjustments to brutalize Billy Joe Saunders in their super middleweight title unification in May. Up next, Alvarez has targeted unbeaten IBF titleholder Caleb Plant for a fall showdown that could produce Mexico's first undisputed champion of the four-belt era.|
|2. Naoya Inoue|| 19-0, 17 KOs|| Unified bantamweight champion||--|
|The Japanese "Monster" didn't disappoint in his Oct. 31 closeup in Las Vegas as he now operates under the Top Rank and ESPN banners. A brilliant knockout of Jason Moloney showcased Inoue's complete game as he went on to call out the other two belt-holders at 118 pounds. He returns on June 19 against Michael Dasmarinas.|
|3. Errol Spence Jr.||27-0, 21 KOs||Unified welterweight champion||--|
|Spence returned from a 14-month layoff and answered plenty of questions about his future following a scary car crash by decisively outpointing Danny Garcia in December. Up next is a superfight against 42-year-old legend Manny Pacquiao in August. |
|4. Terence Crawford||36-0, 26 KOs||Welterweight champion||--|
|After talks to fight Manny Pacquiao fell apart disastrously, Crawford remains in a precarious spot with just months left on his Top Rank deal. Promoter Bob Arum would like to match him with undisputed 140-pound champion Josh Taylor but it remains to be seen.|
|5. Vasiliy Lomachenko|| 14-2, 10 KOs|| Lightweight||--|
|The former P4P king made a surprising number of excuses for his competitive loss to Teofimo Lopez Jr. last year after unsuccessfully rallying in the final rounds. Lomachenko has chosen to stay at lightweight and will face Masayoshi Nakatani on June 26.|
|6. Tyson Fury||30-0-1, 21 KOs||Heavyweight champion|
|"The Gypsy King" rebounded quickly from the swerve of seeing his undisputed championship bout against unified titleholder Anthony Joshua fall apart due to a court ruling. In order to get there, Fury must now face former champ Deontay Wilder in their July 24 trilogy fight.|
|7. Teofimo Lopez Jr.||15-0, 12 KOs||Unified lightweight champion|
|At 23, Lopez appears poised for stardom following an upset win over Lomachenko in 2020. A rare purse bid for his mandatory return against George Kambosos Jr. saw upstart Triller offer an inflated amount for Lopez's services. The fight will take place June 19 in Miami.|
|8. Josh Taylor||18-0, 13 KOs||Undisputed junior welterweight champion|
|"The Tartan Tornado" made a resounding statement by dropping Jose Ramirez twice en route to a unanimous decision in their four-belt unification at 140 pounds. Although a mandatory is due against Jack Catterall, Taylor could move up to face Terence Crawford at welterweight.|
|9. Oleksandr Usyk||18-0, 13 KOs ||Heavyweight||--|
|The former undisputed cruiserweight champion proved his worth in his new weight class by outpointing a rugged Dereck Chisora. With the Fury-Joshua fight recently falling apart, Usyk could be in line for a mandatory challenge against Joshua in August. |
|10. Juan Francisco Estrada||42-3, 28 KOs||Unified super flyweight champion||--|
|Although the rogue scorecard turned in that helped lift Estrada past former P4P king Roman "Chocolatito" Gonzalez in their March rematch remains rightfully under question, Estrada fought well enough to have a claim at having won. Up next is a trilogy bout against mandatory opponent Srisaket Sor Rungvisai.|
Dropped out: Gervonta Davis
Honorable mention: Davis, Jermall Charlo, Artur Beterbiev, Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, Jermell Charlo, Roman Gonzalez, Shakur Stevenson