LAS VEGAS – From Josh Taylor’s viewpoint, his fight with Jose Ramirez never should’ve gone to the scorecards.
The undefeated, fully unified junior welterweight champion contends that their 12-round, 140-pound title fight should’ve ended late in the seventh round. Taylor dropped Ramirez for the second time when his left uppercut knocked Ramirez flat on his back with 32 seconds remaining in the seventh round.
Ramirez reached his feet as referee Kenny Bayless picked up the count at five, but Taylor thinks Bayless gave Ramirez too much time to recover.
Bayless asked Ramirez if he was OK and instructed Ramirez to walk toward him before he determined Ramirez could continue. Ramirez also was afforded more time to recuperate because Taylor wasn’t where he should’ve been, in a neutral corner, when Bayless first attempted to let the action continue.
Bayless therefore made Taylor take several steps backward before the Scottish southpaw was allowed to step to Ramirez. Altogether, 22 seconds elapsed from the time Ramirez hit the canvas until the action resumed inside The Theater at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas.
“I actually think the referee gave him too much time, gave him too much time,” Taylor said during a post-fight press conference. “That should’ve been fight over. I thought the count was much longer [than necessary].”
Taylor (18-0, 13 KOs) isn’t certain if not being in a neutral corner cost him an opportunity to finish Ramirez (26-1, 17 KOs) in the seventh round.
“I don’t know,” Taylor said. “I’m not sure. If I’d have had a little bit more time, then, yeah, because he was really flailing that round, you know, and [then] the bell rang. I believe the count was longer than it should’ve been anyway. But it is what it is.”
The former WBC/WBO champion avoided Taylor in the final 10 seconds of the seventh round, recovered by the end of the eighth round and mounted a comeback during the final four rounds that left Taylor a two-point winner, 114-112, on the scorecards of all three judges – Tim Cheatham, Dave Moretti and Steve Weisfeld.
“He was very, very tough,” Taylor said. “I mean, hats off to Ramirez. He was a very, very tough guy. Tough fighter. What a champion he was. Great person as well. I have nothing but respect for him and admiration for him, even more so now after that fight. He was a very good champion, fighter. I hurt him a couple of times and after I put him down, all the fight was on my terms. And I just stood and boxed him, and he didn’t know what to do.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.