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24 NOVEMBER 2014

 

Jermain Proves His Worth


Taylor fought like a champion
Taylor fought like a champion

By Ben Cohen: After a hailstorm of criticism for lucky decisions and lethargic performances, Jermain Taylor was looking to re-establish his credibility as a top tier fighter against Kelly Pavlik last weekend. Taylor did not win, but he did silence many of his critics with his loss.

The talented but flawed Arkansas fighter was battered into submission after 7 scintillating rounds at the Board Walk Hall in Atlantic City, proving in the process that he has the goods to be a champion.

He was just beaten by a better one.

Taylor fought like one of the greats, dominating when on top, and firing back when hurt. His hand speed was phenomenal, and he displayed huge power for a middleweight.

The night of course, belonged to Pavlik. The Ohio native was more technically sound, more resilient to physical pain, and more thorough in his performance. A great fighter was born that night, but Taylor must also be remembered for what he did on the 29th of September 2007.

Taylor came out winging from round one, sticking his jab into Pavlik’s face and smashing right hands over the top. He was ragged, off balance and a little jumpy, but Pavlik was intensely aware of the danger that the fired up Taylor presented. It was a close opening round, with both men scoring telling blows.

In the second, we saw why Taylor became the undisputed Middleweight champion of the world. As Pavlik attempted to control the tempo, Taylor countered the younger mans aggressiveness with sharp punches that forced Pavlik backwards. A searing left-right-left combination stunned Pavlik, depriving him of his balance. Pavlik dropped his hands defiantly to show Taylor he wasn’t hurt, but the champion wasted no time in punishing him for his insolence, unleashing barrage of vicious punches that dropped Pavlik heavily. Pavlik got to his feet, but was badly hurt as Taylor continued to pummel him around the ring. Pavlik survived the round, but the warning was clear: Jermain Taylor was not about to relinquish his belt any time soon.

A back and forth battle ensued, with both men having their moments. In the third, Pavlik miraculously recovered from the disastrous beating in the second, and established a steady rhythm, pumping out his punishing jab and throwing heavy right hands behind it. He zeroed in on the left side of Taylor’s head, and hit him repeatedly with right hands. Taylor had success when he used his jab too, often beating Pavlik to the punch, and following up with well-placed hooks and uppercuts. Pavlik backed Taylor up at the end of the round, but Taylor fought back ferociously to keep his ground.

The fourth saw more furious action, and it was hard to tell who was on top. Pavlik was the sturdier, landing telling blows in a regular rhythm, but Taylor the more eye catching as he countered sharply.


The fifth slowed down considerably as the match turned into a chess game. Pavlik stuck to his game relentlessly, firing his jab, and hammering in his right hand. Taylor also worked well behind his jab, and looked like he was settling in to a comfortable pace. Taylor stunned Pavlik towards the end of the round, ripping a combination of punches to the head of the oncoming challenger. Pavlik fought back at the bell, but Taylor won the exchange as the referee jumped into stop the action. Before going to his corner, Pavlik extended his glove to Taylor in acknowledgement.

The sixth was slower as Taylor looked slightly gassed from his previous exertions. Pavlik was resolute in his attacking, while Taylor used his mobility to stave off the assault, landing some heavy bombs from the outside.

The seventh began at a measured pace, with Pavlik continuing to work behind his jab. Taylor could not seem to find a way in, and spent much of the round on the back foot. Pavlik landed a right hand, left uppercut, right hand combination that stunned Taylor, then followed up with a massive1-2 down the middle that essentially ended the fight. Taylor’s senses left him, and he staggered helplessly into the corner. Pavlik’s superb finishing instincts kicked in, and he mercilessly battered Taylor with uppercuts and hooks on the inside. Taylor slumped to the canvass a finished man.

But he had gone out with no shame.

Pavlik, excited with his victory, took time to praise his fallen foe.

"He can take a hell of a punch. Eventually I think it just caught up to him".
"It was a straight right hand. It was finding its mark all night. One thing I do have is the finishing touch. Those were real shots. If he could’ve gotten up, he would have."

Said Pavlik of the knock down in the second round:

"He caught me with a good one. He took the legs from and I went down obviously but I got back up,"

"I was still a little shaky but being in there with Jermain, he can punch like a mule. He is a big natural middleweight so I did what ever I possibly can to survive that round.”

Taylor, always the gentleman, gave credit to his conqueror.

"I had him hurt. I thought I had him and I threw a bunch of unnecessary punches I shouldn’t have thrown. I should have been throwing uppercuts like everybody was screaming at me but I went wild. I went wild and tried to get him out of there. I give it to Kelly he fought a great fight."

"He’s a big puncher”, continued Taylor. “I can’t believe I lost. Right now it’s all about going back to the gym and back to the drawing board.”

And like a champion, Taylor wants to get back in there with Pavlik.

“I’d like to fight him in my very next fight”.

October 3rd 2007.


Ben Cohen can be reached at benfu1@yahoo.com


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