Josh Taylor (19-1, 13 KOs) saw his reign as WBO light welterweight champion end with the underdog Teofimo Lopez (19-1, 13 KOs) beating him by a twelve round unanimous decision in front of a large crowd on Saturday night at the Hula Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York.
The 25-year-old Teofimo made the 32-year-old former undisputed champion Taylor look much older than his years in running away with the fight in the second half.
The judges scored it 115-113, 115-113, and 117-111. Taylor was upset about the 117-111 score, insisting that the fight was a lot closer.
It didn’t look that way. Teofimo totally dominated after the third, and you can argue that he won the last nine rounds easily. Taylor was getting battered in rounds 9 through 12, and wasn’t even competitive.
In the twelfth round, Teofimo hurt Taylor with a hard right hand to the head, causing him to back up against the ropes and over up. Teofimo then half-clowned while he hit the hurt Teofimo with pot shots.
If Teofimo hadn’t showboated at that moment, he could have dropped Taylor and possibly knocked him out. Teofimo was content to win the decision because he knew the victory was in the bag.
Taylor started off well in the first three rounds, but it was all downhill beginning in the fourth when Teofimo started landing his pinpoint shots.
After the fight, Teofimo chose not to reveal who he wants next, but it’s reasonable to assume that he wants the money fights against Ryan Garcia, Devin Haney, or Gervonta Davis.
Teofimo could also go in the direction of a unification at 140 against WBC champion Regis Prograis or IBF champ Subriel Matias. Those would be hard fights for Teofimo, however, because they have more power than Taylor and a lot more in the tank.
Taylor wants rematch
Josh Taylor: “Hey, listen, no excuses. It wasn’t my best but listen, the better man won one on the night, so I’ve got no excuses. I prepared to the best of my ability felt amazing in the gym, felt brilliant. So no excuses. He was just better on the night tonight, so yeah it is what is. Congratulations to Teofimo.
“I thought it was a close, fight but listen, that 117-111 was way too wide. So I’d love to do it again. I love to do it again with them, and I definitely know better than that, and I know I can beat him. So yeah I would love to do it again, but he’s the champ so the ball’s in his court.
“No, the layoff had nothing to do with it. I’ve got no excuses. He was better on the night,” said Taylor.