What next for Josh Taylor after his controversial win over Jack Catterall?

Josh Taylor said it is likely that his days fighting at light welterweight are over following the weekend.

Following a dramatic and scarcely believable successful defence of his unified light welterweight titles on Saturday, Scotland's Josh Taylor stands at a career crossroads.

Entering this past weekend's bout in Glasgow as unbeaten 18-0 and undisputed 140lb king, Taylor was expected by most to make easy work of the relatively untested yet unbeaten Englishmen Jack Catterall.

Indeed, Taylor was a huge favourite to retain his WBA, WBC, IBF and WBO belts with few pundits or fans giving the 28-year-old Chorley fighter even half a chance of taking the Prestonpans man's 140 crown south of Hadrian's Wall come Sunday.

Yet, in an embarrassingly one-sided contest, Taylor found himself outboxed, outmanoeuvred and out-thought by the impressive Englishman who even floored the Prestonpans man in round eight en route to what looked like a comprehensive decision victory.

Looking badly drawn on the scales on Friday, Taylor just couldn't get going. Ringside observers and those watching at home were convinced that Catterall had pulled off the big upset following the conclusion of round twelve.

However, in what must go down as one of the biggest examples of hometown cooking, Taylor would retain his titles with a stunning split decision victory.

Josh Taylor celebrate victory in the junior welterweight bout against Jack Catterall at the OVO Hydro, Glasgow. Picture date: Saturday February 26, 2022.

Make no doubts about it - Taylor lost the fight. Weight drained or not, this was his poorest display as a professional. Landing twice as many punches, including the more spiteful shots, El Gato had done more than enough to earn a clear and convincing decision.

Yet somehow, two of the three judges scored the fight for Taylor including a remarkable 114-111 in favour of the Scotsman. But this is boxing, and on we go.

What's next for the Tartan Tornado?

Josh Taylor (right) in action against Jack Catterall in the junior welterweight bout at the OVO Hydro, Glasgow. Picture date: Saturday February 26, 2022.

Admitting as much after the fight, Taylor has likely fought his final fight in the 140lb weight class, and a move up to 147 lbs now seems inevitable. A rematch with Catterall, while utterly deserved, is unlikely to occur in the super-lightweight division.

With the WBO declaring the still undisputed champion Taylor to be a 'super champion' at light welterweight, the Scot will be installed as the mandatory challenger for Terence Crawford's WBC title should he decide to make the move north to the welterweight division.

"It's probably my last fight at 140, to be honest, but we'll see how it goes," Taylor told the BBC. "Anybody, anybody in the world - 147, 140, I'll fight anybody."

But is a fight with Crawford the right move for Taylor?

Terence Crawford

An undoubtedly brilliant champion at 140lbs, Taylor's achievements cannot be watered down on the back of one bad performance.

He remains an elite fighter who, by hook or by crook, retains his unbeaten record, and a fight with Crawford would be a big attraction on both sides of the Atlantic.

Yet, one has to wonder if Taylor might not be better advised in taking a fight in the 147lb class before challenging the supremely gifted Crawford. Of course, there is always the possibility that such an opportunity to fight arguably the sport's finest pound for pound boxer might never reappear, and Taylor will have plenty to ponder in the coming months.

However, the move to 147lbs now seems inevitable for Taylor, who, while talking a good game about his ability to cut weight, seemed badly drawn on Friday's scales.

Inside the ring, the Scot was stiff, unable to find his range, and seemed to lack the power and ring generalship so keenly displayed in his brilliant win against Jose Ramirez last May.

Remaining in the light welterweight division is an option, but it seems unlikely that Taylor will stick around with calls for a rematch against Catterall, sure to louden in the intervening weeks.

The confident Scotsman, while claiming to have won the fight, will be well aware this performance was a long way from his fighting best and even further removed from the level required to go toe-to-toe with the unbeaten Bud.

Still, Taylor, speaking before his fight with Catterall, is convinced he has the tools to bring the 147lb title back to Scottish shores.

Josh Taylor has won all 18 of his professional fights

"Who wouldn't want to fight Terence Crawford?" Taylor said. "I'm a fighting man. I'll fight absolutely anybody. I'm in this game to challenge myself against the best. All comers. Terence Crawford is one of the best in the sport. I believe I'm one of the best in the sport. I believe in the best fighting the best to see who's the top dog. That's a fight that I would love to take on."

In a stacked division like the 147lb weight class, Taylor could yet establish himself as a major player and should a bout with Crawford fail to materialise next, other star name attractions like Vergil Ortiz Jr, Keith Thurman or Danny Garcia could yet provide Taylor with the platform to become a multi-divisional world champion.

Of course, that's all to come, and for now, Taylor must assess what went wrong on Saturday. Was the weight cut too much? Did the pressure of the home crowd affect him? Was Catterall just too good? Is Ben Davidson the right man for the job?

Taylor must find the answers.

Supremely fortunate to retain his titles, the Scotsman must get his next move right. There are plenty of options for Taylor but performances like those witnessed on Saturday evening are unlikely to earn him the acclaim and respect he so richly craves.

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