Josh Taylor has taken genuine offense to some of Teofimo Lopez’s trash talk during the buildup toward their 140-pound title fight.

The Scotsman’s patience has worn thin while listening to Lopez, whom he has called “a clown” and “a real piece of sh!t” when they’ve spent time promoting their fight together. Taylor admitted during their final press conference Thursday at Madison Square Garden that the animosity between them is real, not merely manufactured drama to help promote their fight for Taylor’s WBO junior welterweight title.

“I think it’s a little bit genuine,” Taylor told moderator Mark Shunock. “You know, he says what he means and I mean what I say as well. Sorry I got that wrong there. But yeah, I say what I mean as well. So, yeah, it is a little bit of genuine dislike here. And he’s been disrespectful. So yeah, and a lot of words he’s said I’m gonna make him pay for on Saturday. So yeah, I can’t wait to get in there.”

Employees of Bob Arum’s promotional company, Top Rank Inc., ensured that Taylor (19-0, 13 KOs) and Lopez (18-1, 13 KOs) didn’t put their hands on one another Thursday by keeping security personnel nearby during the press conference. Once it ended, security guards stood between Taylor and Lopez while they posed for photos on stage.

Taylor jawed at his opponent and tried to get near Lopez several times, but a New York City policeman prevented that from happening. The two fighters were never allowed close enough for their verbal battle to turn physical.

The slightly favored Taylor indicated that he thinks he can knock out Lopez, perhaps even early in a 12-round main event ESPN will air from The Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York. Lopez laughed at Taylor’s prediction.

Brooklyn’s Lopez also acknowledged that the beef between him and Taylor is legitimate.

“It’s what it is, man,” Lopez said during the press conference. “I speak my truth and that’s how I feel. Yeah, so you know, everything that I speak out, you know, I’m just trying to make it into existence. You know, law of attraction, you know, having good faith in it and just putting on a show and giving what the fans really wanna see, you now, an outstanding performance.”

ESPN’s telecast is scheduled to begin at 10 p.m. EDT on Saturday night. Unbeaten Puerto Rican junior middleweight Xander Zayas (15-0, 10 KOs) is set to battle Los Angeles’ Ronald Cruz (18-2-1, 12 KOs) in the eight-round opener of ESPN’s doubleheader.

Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.