Jeff Lacy Gets Tough Points Win Over Epifanio Mendoza, Jermain Taylor Next?

Jeff Lacyby James Slater: Last night, in California, former IBF super-middleweight champion Jeff "Left Hook" Lacy won on points in a ten-round thriller against Colombia's Epifanio Mendoza. The victor via a hard-fought, 97-93, 96-94, 95-95 majority decision, 31-year-old Lacy improved to 24-1(17). The 32-year-old Mendoza fell to 28-6-1(24).

Both men had their moments in a fight that was extremely good to watch, and after a quite brutal and damaging bout the critics will claim once again that the former 168-pound world champ is no longer the force he was before his losing fight with Joe Calzaghe. Lacy inflicted more than enough hurt himself, but he was hit back in kind by the determined Mendoza.

Round two saw both men hurt, and it was apparent the fight was going to be a gruelling affair. Hurt again in the late rounds, Lacy dug deep to come back in the 10th and final round.

His face showing signs of battle, Lacy was a worthy winner. Although the score in the Floridian's favour that read 97-93 was way out of line - this was a very close fight. The question is, what now for Lacy? He has now won three in a row since his drubbing at the hands of Calzaghe, but in neither win did "Left Hook" score a stoppage. Not only did Lacy not get rid of any of his comeback opponents, he had to grit his teeth and give his all so as to win. Even against Peter Manfredo Jnr, which was a pretty dull fight, Lacy was hit plenty.

With a proposed fight against former middleweight king Jermain Taylor being lined up for November, the manner in which Lacy has been struggling does not bode well for his chances against the much fresher, less damaged, "Bad Intentions." Sure, Lacy has never been KO'd, while Taylor has, but there is no doubt which of the two men has taken the more punishment. Lacy, as we know, was hit with over 1,000 punches in his sole career loss. And last night against Mendoza, the 31-year-old's chin was severely tested. How much will all this leave Lacy with for a showdown with the twice-beaten fighter from Arkansas?

There is no questioning Jeff Lacy's incredible heart and guts, but his overall ability as a fighter has never looked the same since that fateful night in Manchester, England two-and-a-half-years ago. It's possible combatant Lacy may be able to drag Taylor into a war he won't like and scrape himself over the finish line once again - after what he's been through recently, Jeff Lacy knows what it feels like to both be in a rough fight and how to win in one.

But win or lose in his next fight, it seems clear the former IBF champ will wind up having a much shorter career than was thought back when he was despatching Syd Vanderpool in October of 2004.

Article posted on 25.07.2008

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