MIGUEL VAZQUEZ, who Josh Taylor fights for the WBC Silver Super Lightweight title this evening, has had 44 professional bouts, including six successful defences of the IBF world lightweight title, has never been knocked out. Barry McGuigan believes that the Scot will be the first to do so.

It is quite a claim, but considering Taylor’s growing reputation, it is perhaps not surprising. However, despite McGuigan’s confidence, he is in no doubt as to quite how stiff a test this will be for his 26 year-old charge, with Vazquez’s previous victories speaking for themselves.

“This a big moment in Taylor’s career,” the Northern Irishman said of the fight, which takes place at the Royal Highland Centre in Edinburgh.

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“This is a real acid test for him - Vazquez is very tough and you can see the respect they have for each other but what that means is that in the ring, Josh is going to be ruthless.”

Taylor’s ten professional victories have been impressive but what has impressed McGuigan perhaps even more are his performances in sparring. The Commonwealth Games gold medallist has undertaken a 14 week camp in preparation for this fight and McGuigan has, at times, feared for the well-being of Taylor’s sparring partners.

“Taylor really hurts guys in sparring,” the former world champion said. “We actually had to put an ice hockey carbon fibre bodyguard on one of his sparring partners to protect him from Taylor’s body shots.

“He breaks guys ribs and one fighter said that after the first session, he felt as if he was dying and if he got bashed like that again, he wouldn’t be able to come back the following day.”

The secret weapon of any elite athlete is unpredictability and Taylor has this in spades, reveals McGuigan. It is this that that gives McGuigan the confidence that his man will emerge the winner this evening. “Taylor has a way of getting through against tough opponents, the way he throws his shots and varies his punches,” he said.

“ What makes Taylor so special is the way he places his shots – he doesn’t throw regular combinations. You cannot predict what he’s going to do and it’s very hard to teach that.”

McGuigan may have hung up the boxing gloves many years ago but he reveals that he still feels the nerves that he experienced during his own fighting days, and trying to suppress them proves to be a fruitless task. “I’m always nervous - in my mind, I am still that fighter and when I turn up at ringside I can feel the butterflies in the pit of my stomach,” he said.

“It’s then that I have to tell myself to calm down and show control for my boxer’s sake, no matter how tough that is to do that. I am still able to live the life of a fighter but I am no longer one, my role is to pass onto my fighters in the gym all that I have learned.”

Meanwhile, Vazquez is quietly confident. The build-up to this fight has been civilised and respectful, which is a far cry from the acrimonious build-up to Taylor’s previous fight against Ohara Davis, but this does not mean that Vazquez has any less desire to hand the Scotsman his first defeat of his professional career.

“Of course I’ve come here to win,” the Mexican said. “Even though Josh Taylor is only having his eleventh fight, I would never underestimate him. I know he’s a good fighter but I have the leverage on experience.

“With all due respect to Taylor, I am confident in my training. I have prepared myself 100 per cent.”

Vazquez is a wily fighter and Taylor himself has admitted that he expects this to be a technical battle as much as anything. “Taylor is taller and at the beginning he is going to try to use his reach to keep me away but I’m going to try to put pressure on him and wear him down. I’m going to try to use my skills to disrupt his rhythm. My country has produced a lot of great boxers and I plan to keep that tradition alive.”