Marquez, Marquez and Taylor: The Likelihood of Victory Part II

jermain taylor13.12.07 - By Phil Santos - The fight was billed as “The Perfect Match Up” but nobody could have predicted the battle that ensued. During the fight both combatants hit the canvas, absorbed punishing power shots, and put on a performance that landed the event on most observers short list for “Fight of the Year”.

Jermain Taylor had gone from being considered the next great Middleweight, after defeating Bernard Hopkins twice and fighting Winky Wright to a Draw, to being the target of fan and media criticism over a span of less than two years. The fact that Taylor was matched up against blown up Jr. Middleweights with less than average power badly hurt his reputation. What further damaged his credibility was his inability to score a knockout against the likes of Kassim Ouma and Cory Spinks.

When Taylor was finally set to brawl a full blown, power punching Middleweight in Kelly Pavlik, the two couldn’t have been on more diverse paths. Pavlik had become a media darling, after crushing Jose Luis Zertuche and handling the highly regarded Edison Miranda, his status ballooned from rising prospect to potential World Champion. Taylor, on the other hand, was seen as a paper champion who avoided the divisions’ best fighters.

The bell sounded and Taylor pounced with every stinging shot he nailed Pavlik with laced with venom and proof of his worth as a champion. “The Ghost” seemed stunned, after all, he was always the predator backing foes into corners and hammering his point home. Taylor continued his assault into the 2nd round when he stunned Pavlik leaving the challenger shaken and on the canvas. Pavlik hung on, shook off the cobwebs, and proceeded to walk down Taylor, slowly wearing the champ down until a final thumping along the ropes ended his night.

So what exactly makes Jermain Taylor think that he will be the better man this time around? He has parted ways with long time trainer Emanuel Steward and agreed to a rematch at a catch weight of 166. Two moves that could be viewed as advantages for Pavlik. On the plus side Taylor does possess good power, as demonstrated in their first meeting, but his defense is still raw, at best, which will make things very difficult if he finds himself pinned along the ropes again. Leaving Steward could be a distraction but it could also end up positively effecting Taylor who hasn’t exactly been gelling with his former trainer. A fresh prospective along with Taylor focused on regaining his status among the best pound for pound fighters in the world could be just the extra motivation he needs to take it to Pavlik.

Taylor has always won despite his defensive short comings however, against Pavlik he faces an opponent with an equally impressive offensive arsenal. Can Taylor out box Pavlik……I don’t think he can. Can Taylor out slug Pavlik……maybe, but given the results last time out it wouldn’t be advised. Considering the loss of Steward, the higher fighting weight coupled with the always unknown; how a fighter bounces back from being brutally knocked out, all signs point to Pavlik.

I have to take Kelly Pavlik in another epic scrap that almost guarantees someone lying flat on the canvas. Taylor must move more effectively and avoid Pavlik, and his heavy right hand, at all costs, if he stands any chance of winning whatsoever. Pavlik should seal the deal by late stoppage. I just can’t envision anyway that this one goes the distance. Jermain Taylor has one chance and that is to slip punches, which he has shown he has trouble doing, and catching Pavlik with something solid. The champ has had his chin checked before. That small ray of hope is all there is for Taylor, while his limited technical skills may be the missing link to what could have been a long reigning championship run.

Likelihood of Victory: Jermain Taylor possesses a punchers chance against Pavlik, while I can’t see these guys topping their first meeting they should put on a good show with Pavlik landing on top comfortably.

Article posted on 14.12.2007

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