Josh Taylor says a fight against Manny Pacquiao was “very possible” but has now urged the Filipino star to retire from boxing after his latest defeat.
Pacquiao, aged 42, returned to the ring from a two-year absence but looked below-par in a points loss to Yordenis Ugas last week.
The legendary eight-weight world champion had previously told Sky Sports that he was open-minded to a fight in the UK and Taylor’s status as undisputed super-lightweight champion made him a viable opponent.
“I hope that one day I could have a fight there,” Pacquiao said.
“I have no problem to fight anybody.
“This is why I chose Errol Spence Jr [his original opponent who withdrew injured and was replaced by Ugas], because I want to fight the best.]”
Pacquiao’s trainer Freddie Roach previously told Sky Sports about Taylor: “That fight can happen, for sure.”
Undefeated Taylor has now told Sky Sports: “It was very, very possible.
“There was definitely talk of it, that a fight could take place maybe a year down the line.
“It wasn’t ever close but there was definitely potential for it to happen.
“It’s a shame because I would have loved it.
“He’s one of the best ever but he’s never been an undisputed champion so that might have enticed him into a fight, to get his hands on all of the belts, to give him something else to achieve.”
Taylor has made no secret that Pacquiao is his boxing idol – even naming his dog ‘Pacman’.
“I’m disappointed that he didn’t win because he’s my hero,” Taylor said.
“And also disappointed because I won’t get the chance to fight him now.
“It could have been amazing. Who gets to share the ring with their hero?”
But Taylor warned that, had they fought, Pacquiao’s exit might have been even more brutal.
“If I had been there on Saturday, I would have beaten him with no problems.
“Call me crazy but, even when Pacquiao was very good, I still think I would have had a great chance against him.
“He looked old. Even Pacquiao of two or three years ago would have dealt with Ugas without problems.
“He was flat-footed, wasn’t on the bounce. He still had speed and power but was a second off the pace. His timing made him look old.”
Pacquiao, involved in politics in the Philippines for the past decade already, is expected to run for the presidency of his country next year which could result in the end of his boxing career.
He said about retirement after his loss last weekend: “Let me rest first, relax, and make a decision if I will continue to fight or not.”
Taylor has now said: “It was sad to see my idol looking old.
“I really hope he packs it in now and says: ‘That’s it’.
“A fighter of his magnitude, having fights like that, is damaging his legacy.
“I’d like to see him go out while he’s at the top.”
Taylor, who brilliantly beat Jose Ramirez to claim every belt in the super-lightweight division, is expected to defend his gold against Jack Catterall in a homecoming fight in Scotland later this year.