Josh Taylor on Manny Pacquiao: ‘How many people can say they shared a ring with their hero and beat them?’

Josh Taylor’s ultimate dream would be to fight his idol Manny Pacquaio, who he calls a “gentleman” and “ferocious”.

Taylor is on the verge of history – he will face fellow undefeated world champion Jose Ramirez on May 22 for the undisputed super-lightweight title.

Victory would even mean Taylor pips Anthony Joshua or Tyson Fury to undisputed glory, if their heavyweight mega-fight can be finalised, but the ‘Tartan Tornado’ has bigger goals to accomplish too.

“To share a ring with my hero Pacquiao? That would be brilliant,” Taylor told Sky Sports.

“How many people can say they shared a ring with their hero and beat them? Not many.”

Asked what he idolises about Pacquiao, Taylor said: “Everything about him. He’s funny, he sings, he puts on a Scottish accent, his fighting style, he’s a people’s champion, a really nice person, he gives money to feed people.

“He’s an absolute gentleman and his fighting style is ferocious – a southpaw with fast hand who can fight like hell.”

Pacquiao, 42, is a legendary eight-division world champion currently regarded as the WBA welterweight ‘champion in recess’.

Terence Crawford, the former undisputed super-lightweight champion who now holds welterweight gold and is regarded as one of the world’s pound-for-pound best boxers, is also a target for Taylor’s legacy-securing fights.

“I’ve achieved the goal I set out with, to become world champion,” Taylor said. “Becoming undisputed and two-weight world champion were further out, more farfetched dreams.

“After this, it will be to move up to 147lbs and chase a second weight world title to really cement my reign in the history books.

“Crawford? Of course he’s on my radar. It would be a massive fight – two undisputed champions fighting.

“These are all longer-term goals. All I’m thinking about now is Ramirez and winning those four belts.”

IBF and WBA champion Taylor must first edge WBC and WBO titleholder Ramirez in one of the whole sport’s most anticipated fights.

They are both champions in their prime from opposite sides of the Atlantic with a combined record of 43 unbeaten fights.

They have also both already defeated other previously-unbeaten champions in unification fights – Taylor beat Regis Prograis and Ramirez ousted Maurice Hooker.

“He’s the unified world champion so you have to give him respect,” said Taylor. “He is a good come-forward fighter who makes people work, he grinds people down.

“He is a pressure fighter who keeps it tight, puts the pressure on, tries to break them down, overwhelm them. He comes for a fight.

“It’s a different kind of fight to Regis Prograis tactics-wise.

“I see a lot of things in Ramirez’s game that I can expose.”

Taylor explained how long he has been aware of Ramirez: “I first came across him at the World Championships in Azerbaijan in 2011. We were in the same weight category. I knew most of the fighters around my weight so I’ve known of him a long time.

“He turned pro before me. Our paths could have crossed at the Olympics but it wasn’t to be. Now our paths cross for the biggest prize in the game.

“He’s decent but have I always had the ability to beat him? Yes. I’ve never thought of him as a threat.

“The only time I was interested in him was after the Viktor Postol fight because I was in line for his WBC title as mandatory.

“He’s standing in my way now and I’ve got to take care of him.”

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