Apparently it is still possible to put on 50-50 bouts between highly touted prospects in the single hyper-power era – provided an offer of a rumoured £100,000 to the aforementioned hyper-power’s 140lb prospect is made. It is a high stakes move for both Taylor & his promotional outfit – the McGuigan’s. McGuigan senior’s disdain for the younger Hearn is fairly well documented – but in this case whether his play will be regarded as bold/ambitious or reckless/foolish will quite simply come down to whether his charger – the decorated amateur Josh Taylor – can overcome the precocious and acerbic talents of Hackney’s (& Hearn’s) Ohara Davies.
Taylor, on home soil, is a 4/6 favourite with the bookmakers. One of the better prices available on Davies is 11/8, ironically, with Sky Bet – formerly an arm of his promoter’s broadcaster Sky plc. This bout, though, will go out live on the terrestrial vehicle of Channel 5 – affording both fighters the opportunity to showcase their talents to an audience which going on recent historical precedent should tread somewhere around the 350,000 to 550,000 average viewer mark. It is unlikely that the ultra casuals will pick up on the fact that this bout occupies a different stratospheric realm in terms of competitive action (& quality) than say recent Channel 5 offerings of the ilk of Lee Haskins vs. Ivan Morales – which is indicative of their status as an at best part time player in the boxing market in the UK.
Josh Taylor takes a full three inch height advantage (along with a rather more modest 1/2 inch reach advantage) into the clash as well as a more storied amateur pedigree having represented Britain at the 2012 Olympic Games in London where he reached the Last 16 before losing to Italy’s Domenico Valentino. Interestingly he was 3 wins away from a showdown with the peerless Vasyl Lomachenko at those Games.
Taylor is a beautifully polished boxer who can attack with precision and bad intentions both to the head & body. Whilst both he & Davies have been built professionally on the back of faded former peripheral names in the division this bout represents legit prospect in their prime vs. legit blue chip prospect in their prime. Neither has faced such a challenge in their pro career to date – so how does the quality of their trainers & sparring compare?
Shane McGuigan and Tony Sims are both well regarded trainers and both fighters will have been exposed to a consistently high level of sparring in their and other gyms. An advantage clearly exists in the fight taking place in Glasgow before a crowd keen to see the first Scottish boxing Olympian for 20 years progress. In fact Taylor is only the 9th Scottish man ever to represent Great Britain at boxing in the Olympic Games. Of course amateur pedigree can count for very little in the pro game – just ask Taylor’s 2012 GB team mate Anthony Ogogo.
Taylor is one of half a dozen McGuigan Senior ‘projects’ whilst Davies is one of perhaps as many as fifty ‘projects’ for Eddie Hearn & Matchroom. Promotionally – advantage Taylor as he’s a bigger fish in a smaller pond. A win for either man will see them well placed for a shot at what looks to be a wide open WBC 140lb landscape outside of Terence Crawford/Julius Indongo. Names such as Crawford, Broner, Postol, Barthelemy, Indongo & Provodnikov all become makeable fights for the winner of Taylor vs. Davies. It is said life comes down to a handful moments of destiny – for both of these fighters – Saturday night at the Braehead Arena in Glasgow will present just one such occasion. For one there will be a entry into the relative big time – for the other an, if not terminal, then certainly highly costly backward step at a time of peak physical prowess.
You want to tune in for this one – anything is possible & whilst Taylor is to my mind a rightful marginal favourite he is not without question marks – the fact that Davies has done a full 12 in a pro ring and he has not being at the top of that list of unknowns.
The full card is as follows:
Josh Taylor v Ohara Davies
Jason Easton v Steve Jamoye
Chantelle Cameron v Bojana Libiszewska
Gary Murray v TBA
Aston Brown v TBA
Gary Rae v Luis Espinosa
Ally Black v TBA
Joe Ham v TBA
Cyclone Promotions will be hoping the show can compete with:
TRNSMT Festival 2017
Two Door Cinema Club
Belle and Sebastian
Catfish and the Bottlemen
Broken Witt Rebels
The Van T’s
Bang Bang Romeo
The Vegan Leather
The Blinders (UK)
White Room (UK)