JOSH TAYLOR says he could happily retire from boxing but the ambition of trying to win a belt at welterweight will drive him on.
The Scot spoke exclusively to Boxing News in New York the day after his first professional loss on Saturday to Teofimo Lopez.
Their super-lightweight clash at the Madison Square Garden Theatre ended with a unanimous decision win for the American. A positive start by Taylor was outdone by Lopez who grew in confidence and started pinging his opponent with eye-catching shots. In the end Lopez had too much firepower and walked away with the WBO belt.
Taylor says that his time at 140lbs is now over despite his trainer Joe McNally claiming he would rather see him remain at the weight.
“After about four or five rounds I said to Joe in the corner my legs are away, my legs are gone here.” Taylor recalled.
“And because I was having success with the left hand, I was kind of loading up with it a little bit, stopped working off the front hand and I strayed away from the game plan and never executed it well.”
Describing his overall feeling at the loss as “gutted” Taylor repeated on several occasions that there were no excuses and that the better man won on the night.
“I was fit enough, and I was in impeccable shape, [I was] just exhausted,” he said.
“I think that my days at 140 are well and truly finished. I’ve been knocking on the door of moving up for the last couple of years and I think I’ve been to the well too many times, at 140 now so I’ll be moving up to 147 for the rest of my career now. I’ll be much more comfortable.”
Having won all four belts at super-lightweight Taylor wants more hardware at welterweight. After narrowly beating Jack Catterall early last year the victor indicated he would jump up and had been eyeing a fight against Terence Crawford. On July 29 Crawford and Errol Spence Jr will look to settle their rivalry in Las Vegas with all the baubles up for grabs.
There are many more attractive fights to be made at 140 but the motivation for Taylor is to become a winner at welterweight.
“I think it’s just one too many fights at 140 now so I think that it’s inevitable that my days will be at 147 and I’ll be the better for it. It’s a a minor speed bump in the road and I’ll still be a two-weight world champion.”
BN informed Taylor of McNally’s thoughts and asked him if he is completely closing the door on the ten-stone division.
“Absolutely not but that’s the last two fights now where I’ve kind of faded and felt it a little bit. Usually, fighters can’t live with me down the stretch of fights. That’s when I get stronger. For the last couple of fights, it’s been a little bit evident that the energy levels haven’t quite been the same. I’m 32 now [and] been making the same weight since I was 19 years old.
“If the rematch came about, I would take it. If there’s some fights still at 140, I’ll still take them, but I think 147 is the weight for me.
“I could retire tomorrow [and] I’ll be content with what I’ve done but I know I can still go on and I know I can still become a two-weight world champion. If you don’t believe in yourself, no-one will believe in you.”