Pavlik KOís Miranda in Slugfest; Taylor wins controversial decision

kelly pavlik20.05.07 - By Anthony Coleman: Last night in Memphis we saw the best middleweight in the world give a sensational performance which resulted in a knockout victory over a top rated boxer. Unfortunately it wasnít the middleweight champion who was responsible for the performance. Kelly Pavlik shut the mouths of his skeptics in his brutal KO victory over Edison Miranda; showing a decent chin, great technical skills and of course world class punching power. Meanwhile, Jermain Taylor won another in a seemingly long line of controversial decisions over Cory Spinks and proceeded to stink out the joint in the process. It was an abysmal fight that once again showed the worst in Taylor.

From the very beginning Pavlik proved his supremacy by imposing his size and length over Miranda. Pavlik would repeatedly back up Miranda and throw crisp hard sharp combinations that landed flush every time. From the jump Miranda seemed confused by the fact that Pavlik was not intimidated by his punching power and he seemed befuddled by merely being backed up.

Because he was being pushed backwards, Miranda couldnít get his feet set and put the snap behind his punches. He was constantly off balanced and by the end of the third round, one fact was clear: Miranda was an incomplete fighter and Pavlik is a complete prize fighter.

By the fifth round Mirandaís eyes were badly swollen and the accumulation of punishment was beginning to take its toll on him. While Miranda was fading, Pavlik was going at the job of thoroughly and professionally dissecting him. Whether it was throwing combinations on the inside, using a jab and right cross, on the ropes or at the center of the ring Pavlik was in complete control of the fight.

Then in the sixth round Pavlik lowered the boom by badly stunning Miranda with a right cross on the ropes and a follow up combination sent him sprawling to the canvas. Referee Steve Smoger would later deduct a point from Miranda because of his spitting out of the mouthpiece. Miranda barley beat the count, but rose badly battered. Then a follow-up combination would send Miranda back to the canvas and once again he would beat the count and survive the round. But it was obvious that the end was at hand.

The end finally came when Pavlik caught up to the wounded Miranda and sent him to the canvas again and this prompted Smoger to finally stop the bludgeoning. Pavlik KO7. To be quite honest this was an excellent performance by Miranda. He showed power, poise and a complete offensive arsenal tonight. For my money he is the best Middleweight in the world and Iíd favor him over Arthur Abraham, Felix Sturm and of course Jermain Taylor. With this win Pavlik gains universal recognition as the number one contender to the Middleweight Title. Yet sadly, we may never see him take on Jermain Taylor. If Taylor leaves to go up to 168 pounds Kelly Pavlik may end up winning the vacant title ala Lennox Lewis 15 years ago. However, with that being said if Taylor stays at 160 lbs this fight must take place. It would be the biggest Middleweight fight in years.

As for the ďmain-eventĒ of the night, let me just say I wonít even bore my readers with a recap for this dreadful fight as it was the worst title of the year so far. But I will say this: Taylor once again escaped with his title after another controversial decision. I personally scored the fight 115-113 for Spinks as I gave him credit for his ring generalship and defense over Taylorís sloppy offense. This makes it four out of his last five fights now that Taylor has won or drawn a disputed decision. In fact I think he has lost 3 out of his last five fights (the 1st Hopkins fight, the Wright fight and now Spinks). In fact I donít understand what HBO and Dibella see in this guy.

Iíll be real for a moment: I think that Taylor is without a shadow of a doubt the most overrated elite fighter in the sport today. Hell, I go one step further: I donít even think that he is a good champion. Heís merely adequate. Honestly, I canít think of any other fighter who appears on Pound-for-Pound lists who is as pedestrian, as beatable as Taylor. His list of flaws easily outweighs his positives.

The man has terrible defense, his combination punching is sloppy, his balance is a major problem, he has bad footwork, he keeps his hands held low and his boxing IQ is severely limited. Even his vaunted jab is overrated because he throws it at such a low angle and drops his hands to his chest after heís done jabbing. He is literally open to the right cross every time he throws it.

Plus, I canít understand the investment that HBO has made in this man. If you looked at the crowd last night you would have seen a sea of empty seats and it is indicative of the boxing publicís opinion about him. We simply donít want to pay to see him fight. Not only is he a built up HBO product, but his fights are boring to watch. Why would HBO willingly sink so much money into him if the returns are so mediocre? He simply isnít over with the crowd and you know what HBO, he never will be. In the grand scheme of things, Jermain Taylor is just another guy.

More damning is the fact that Taylor may have sunk all of his goodwill with hardcore and casual boxing fans with his embarrassing post fight interview with Larry Merchant. Instead of announcing that he will fight the best available or most deserving fighter, Taylor said that he is only searching for the biggest payday. When I heard his comment I was shaking my head in disgust. A true champion should fight the most deserving fighter because that is what he will be judged by the quality of opposition he faced. Taylor seems only concerned now with taking the easy road.

You know what? It doesnít matter, because most boxing fans are beginning to see how much of a fraud Taylor truly is. When he fights the Kelly Pavliks, Mikkel Kesslers and Joe Calzaghes of the world the Taylor faÁade will completely. Mark my words; if Taylor faces any of those men he will be taken to school. Just wait and see.

Last nightís HBO card represented both the worst and best in Boxing. Edison Miranda and Kelly Pavlik gave us a very good bout, and Pavlik showed why he is one of Boxingís true rising stars. On the other hand we saw Taylor and Spinks provide fight fans with a terrible main event, and Taylor once again was unimpressive in ďvictoryĒ. Yet because of the results of last nightís telecast, boxing fans may have a lot to look forward to. Whether it be Pavlik versus Taylor, or Taylor fight with Calzaghe, the next few months for the Middleweight and Super Middleweight division will be quite exciting. Letís just hope that this excitement will provide fight fans with great fights.

Article posted on 20.05.2007

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