That Josh Taylor spoke of moving to welterweight in the immediate aftermath of his fight with Teofimo Lopez was considerably more predictable than the nature of his defeat.

The Scot, speaking immediately after confirmation of, officially, his first defeat, was revisiting a theme he had explored in the build-up to and after his controversial victory over Jack Catterall in February 2022, when his lack of professionalism had contributed to his struggles to make the 140lbs weight limit and, by extension, to impress.

Since replacing his then-trainer Ben Davison with Joe McNally there has been an increased recognition that, as was recognised by Davison’s predecessor Shane McGuigan, it is at super lightweight where he is at his best. That same lack of professionalism, similarly, had led to concerns that what was exposed by Catterall was not only his inadequate preparations but a premature decline; little about the masterclass from Lopez suggested that whatever it was Taylor was searching for before he had returned to his dressing room would be discovered by moving up in weight.

“I can stay at 140 if I really wanted to, because I’m doing the weight well,” he told Boxing News around 48 hours before the weigh-in he was said to have arrived at having eaten breakfast and had a drink. “I’m back to where I’d always been before I won a title – being a gym rat, and being disciplined and always looking after my weight and in shape. I’ve always been like that; it’s just after that one fight complacency took over and that was almost a grave mistake. I’ll not be making that mistake again.

“The division’s heating back up; there’s big names being added. They’re big money fights. Devin Haney, who’s talking about moving up to 140 – that’s a huge fight. I’ve got a rematch with [Regis] Prograis – that’s a huge fight. I’ve got the rematch with Jack [Catterall] there, which is a big fight. I’ve got possibly Ryan Garcia and all that as well, so, yeah, these fights are huge. They’re big exciting fights, so if I can make these fights, and they’re right for me, I’ll make them.

“If not, we can move up to welterweight as well, and continue on my quest to become a two-weight world champion. So, either way, I’m in a great spot – I’m not short of options. I’m being involved in big fights. Given my success, and what I’ve achieved in the sport I think I’m deserving of being involved with big fights for the rest of my career.”

Catterall would likely relish being the first to tell the 32-year-old of how rare it is for fighters to get what they deserve; he would almost certainly relish telling him that, as a consequence of him losing to Lopez in the theatre at Madison Square Garden, his options are far from great.

It would come as little surprise if, as is increasingly commonplace, Taylor can exercise a clause for a rematch little about Saturday’s fight suggested he could win. Before agreeing terms to fight Lopez he had speculated about moving to welterweight to fight Terence Crawford; Crawford finally has a date and agreement to fight Errol Spence; Taylor, without any of the IBF, WBO, WBA and WBC titles Catterall once challenged him for is, in Top Rank, a Scot promoted by an American promoter but no longer a sought-after opponent for an American fighter. Even if he had won, the landscape is far from greener at 147lbs.

“The science – it basically takes away the guessing,” McNally told BN, mid-fight week in New York. “‘He can’t make 140’; the testing’s been done and he can, and he doesn’t have to kill himself. He’s gonna be disciplined, and he is a 140lbs fighter. He’s not gonna grow now ’till he’s 40.

“He can consistently keep making it, but between camps you cannot let yourself get out of shape; you’ve gotta keep your good, base foundation. Then when you’re in camp, keep disciplined – that’s the top and bottom of the sport. You’re a professional athlete. Act like one and you’ll do the weight.”

So impressive was the 25-year-old Lopez – even more so than the night in 2020 he became the only fighter to defeat the great Vasyl Lomachenko without a hint of controversy – that Bill Haney, present in New York to scout the winner of Taylor-Lopez as a potential next opponent for his son Devin, may yet decide that a rematch with Lomachenko is their soundest next move. Unlike with the Taylor described by McNally – and not unlike with Lopez when he was at 135lbs – Haney’s time in his existing weight division is limited, and considerably more limited than it may be tempting to conclude of Lopez’s future as a professional fighter.

Lopez, post-fight, climbed over a row of press seats to discuss the most cathartic of victories and started by speaking of “Going back to the drawing board and seeing what I can do better” like only an active fighter would. He then, continuing to free himself of the pressure and sense of injustice that has dominated his life between his two finest victories – and to the extent there remain concerns about his mental health – voluntarily moved to the toll the breakdown of his relationship with his ex-wife Cynthia and their divorce has taken on him.

“I was with somebody for five years; they gave me a hard time and really screwed me up mentally,” he said, having just proved himself one of the world’s most talented fighters and yet in that moment, for every mindless thing he has said, betraying the inner child sorry for crossing the line and needing to be understood. He had also already apologised to Taylor for saying he had wanted to “kill” him.

“I can’t really express too much because we’re going through the legal custody process right now, but that’s my next battle,” he continued. “Fighting for my kid.

“I like when I pressure myself; I do it on purpose. I need the pressure on me, because that’s what makes diamonds, and I shined very bright.”

On the back of the robe he wore to the ring had been, in perhaps a similar symbol of not only the extent to which he is perhaps misunderstood but his relative innocence, the Walt Disney branding. He then referenced Walter Elias Disney as having said, “I like the impossible because there’s less competition there”, after having been asked if he had just performed better than he had against Lomachenko.

“This is what I do best now,” he continued, ignoring his often-overbearing father Teofimo Snr’s loud and shameless insistence he stop speaking to the media he perceives as against them to allow his stream of consciousness to run its course. “Just to stir it up I might retire. Retirement, man. I’m kind of tired. I’m not getting paid enough – $1m? Get the fuck out of here.

“I need to take a break. I’m tired of everybody bullying me. I’m young. I’m a kid too, at heart. Y’all need to go after the Devin Haneys; the Shakurs; the Tyson Furys and all that.”

That he mentioned Tyson Fury might be another insight into his similarly complex mind. In the short-term at least he may need to consider himself retired to – not unlike Fury – actually recover from everything he has asked of himself since the build-up to his unexpected defeat by George Kambosos Jnr.

Like Fury, however, he will also recognise that after performing like that he has so much more to achieve.