Ozell Nelson To Train Jermain Taylor

20.11.07 - By Matthew Hurley: Former middleweight champion Jermain Taylor has handed over head training duties to former assistant trainer Ozell Nelson for his rematch with Kelly Pavlik on February 16th at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Taylor recently parted ways with Kronk trainer Emanuel Steward after a disappointing four fight run. Fighter and trainer never quite seemed to click but there is no animosity between the two..

Taylor held a small press conference in his gym in Little Rock, Arkansas with Nelson and commented on the change in leadership. “I’m going back to what made me a champion,” he said. “This fight will bring everything out. I know Coach (Nelson), he knows me, let’s go back to work how we used to do it. We’d come into this gym and beat the snot out of each other. Then we’d come back and do it again. I feel good with Coach. He listens to me. He realizes I’m the one in there, and when I tell him in the later rounds of a fight that I’m tired, he listens. In the past fights it hasn’t been like that.”

Nelson went on to add that it was he and Jermain who made the decision to leave Steward. According to the new head trainer there are no hard feeling with the Kronk impresario and that he learned a lot from him but that it’s time for Jermain to get back to the foundation that they built together in leading up to Taylor’s championship fight with Bernard Hopkins which he won by split decision.

There were hints that Taylor may have been looking to reunite with former trainer Pat Burns who ran the corner for Jermain’s first twenty-five bouts. But apparently there remains friction in that relationship or at least with Nelson. It was Nelson who fired Burns after the Hopkins rematch and then hired Steward as a replacement. Burns had talked with Taylor about being reinstated and was ready to accept the job, but got submarined by Nelson. He hasn’t spoken to Jermain since the announcement that Nelson would be taking over his former job but wishes his former fighter well.

“I’m not mad at Jermain,” he told ESPN. “I wish him the best. I think it’s a terrible mistake but I wish him luck. I hope Ozell, who has never trained a professional fighter, has learned enough from me and Emanuel.”

Steward, who will be in the corner of IBF welterweight champion Kermit Cintron this Friday night when he takes on Jesse Feliciano at the Staples Center on the Mayorga – Vargas undercard, told reporter Steve Kim that his time with Taylor was frustrating but that the split was amicable.

“Definitely, it is the most frustrating experience,” he says, “but it’s not one thing you can put your finger on. I think the most important thing was a series of bad opponents, and even in that case it’s hard to point your finger at any one person. It just happened because that’s the way business is.”

Steward went on to add that, “Fighting two times a year is not good for any fighter, especially a developing fighter. But also in Jermain’s case, he always trained and got in good shape and up until his last fight he kept his title by basically being able to fight good in the last rounds. In this case, it’s not one thing. It just didn’t work.”

Article posted on 21.11.2007

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