Jermain Taylor To Invoke Rematch Clause

By Matthew Hurley: In the aftermath of his 7th round knockout loss to Kelly Pavlik a disappointed Jermain Taylor said that he “most definitely” wanted a rematch with the Youngstown warrior. Taylor’s trainer Emanuel Steward seemed hesitant about the proposition and in the days after the fight the general consensus was that Taylor would take a break and come back against an opponent to be determined in 2008..

A succession of tough fights and dubious decisions against Bernard Hopkins (twice), Winky Wright and Cory Spinks along with a more difficult than expected decision against Kassim Ouma had left many boxing fans and insiders wondering if Taylor had peaked before he became champion and had since begun to deteriorate in the face of tough competition. To Taylor’s great credit he took on all those fighters back-to-back and then climbed into the ring against the surging Pavlik who was coming off a devastating knockout victory over Edison Miranda. Taylor’s heart cannot be questioned, but invoking the rematch clause that Pavlik is bound by could turn out to be a mistake.

Rumors have abounded that Pavlik would fight relatively untested John Duddy in January should Duddy get past an opponent to be named for a December tune up. In fact, according to he is already scheduled to face off against the WBC and WBO champion on January 26th, with no site yet determined. The feeling was, Pavlik and Taylor would fight marginal competition in January and then begin discussions for a rematch.

The problem with the contract clause is that the fight won’t take place at middleweight, which dilutes the bout’s significance. Both Taylor and Pavlik have expressed desire to move up to 168 pounds. Pavlik, who fought his way up the ranks to get his title shot at 160, seems more than willing to move up. He frame is much more suited for 168 and he remarked after the Taylor fight that should they meet again at a “catch weight” he’d be fine with it because he’d be even stronger. But a non-title affair would be something of a let down. If Taylor truly wants to get back in the ring with Pavlik again he should do so at 160 and try to get his belts back, otherwise he should begin a campaign at 168 and wait for Pavlik to make the jump.

Nothing is yet set in stone but Taylor continues to be haunted by the second round of his “fight of the year” candidate with Pavlik when he had the “Ghost” down on the canvas and reeling about the ring. Taylor became amateurish in trying to put away his opponent and the moment slipped out of his grasp. Pavlik then went on to seize control of the bout and pounded Taylor to the mat in the seventh round.

Taylor’s representatives have contacted Top Rank about the rematch clause and are waiting for a response from the Pavlik camp. Should the bout take place, the stipulated weight would be for 166 pounds.

Article posted on 23.10.2007

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