Josh Taylor warns Lopez he will be at the peak of his powers on Saturday

The Scotsman, 32, will step into the ring by split decision for the first time since his controversial victory over England’s Jack Catterall in February 2022.

Taylor knows he wasn’t at his best that night in Glasgow nearly 16 months ago, but he’s adamant he went head-to-head with 25-year-old Brooklyn boxer Lopez for the WBO title will go full throttle in the super lightweight Showdown in New York.

“We could both go back to our previous performances and say, ‘You’re only as good as your last fight,’ but I think that’s a lot of shit,” Taylor said.

“I prepared crap for the final fight, so I performed crap. I think he was the same (when he won via split decision against Sandor Martin last December). He averted his eyes from the ball and made crap too.

“We’ve both nailed it here. He faces off against the king of the division. I know he’s a good fighter. The version that defeated (Vasyl) Lomachenko (in October 2020) is a very good fighter and that’s the version I’m preparing for.

“It depends on your preparation. This time I prepared carefully and to the best of my ability and you will see the best of me on Saturday night.”

Taylor admits he’s fulfilling a childhood dream by being the leader at The Garden.

“I’ve been here for 10 to 12 days now,” he said of his preparations in New York. “I came by pretty early to get used to the heat.

“I was expecting the heat, but it wasn’t that hot. Being Scottish and used to the cold weather I was fine with it so I didn’t have to adapt too much.

“I am pleased to be here. To be involved in a big fight and the main event like this, to see the Empire State Building and stuff like that, it’s really cool.

“This is a dream come true. When you’re a little kid, you always dream of coming to the United States and fighting in places like this.

“This is the ‘Mecca of boxing’, Madison Square Garden. To fight in a place like this, to be at the top of the list and also to bring the traveling fans – the tartan army – so I can’t wait to get there and make that dream a reality.

“This clown right here (Lopez) is getting in my way, but he’s another piece of cannon fodder, that’s all he is.”

The fight is scheduled to start around 3am BST on Sunday.

Grace Reader

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