Sharkie’s Machine: Taylor by Lopsided UD 12 Over Lacy

boxingBy Frank Gonzalez Jr. November 16th 2008, Photo by Sumio Yamada- Saturday night in Nashville, former Middleweight titlist and current Super Middleweight contender Jermain “Bad Intentions” Taylor faced his old Olympic teammate Jeff “Don’t know why they call him Left Hook” Lacy in a WBC title eliminator bout.

Jeff Lacy (24-2, 17 KO’s) was constantly beaten to the punch by Taylor (28-2-1, 17 KO’s) who had the faster hands, better footwork and far more accuracy in his punches. Lacy showed a lot of heart, as he pressured Taylor as best as he could, too often trying to land big bombs instead of jabbing his way in and setting up his power punches. Taylor won every round except the fifth (in my opinion), when Lacy landed a right that caught Taylor behind the head and sent him to the canvas. The referee, Lawrence Cole ruled it a slip but the replay showed that it was certainly a punch that influenced Taylor’s trip to the canvas..

Outside of the fifth round, Lacy was mostly ineffective, throwing wide punches that usually missed and having a lousy defense when Taylor countered or landed his jabs directly into Lacy’s face. Lacy definitely hurt Taylor in the fifth, but with his superior athleticism, Taylor was able to find his legs by backing up and clinched until his legs were stable. The rest of the fight was more of Taylor landing his jabs, following up with combinations and then clinching so as to neutralize Lacy’s offense and constantly forcing him to reset.

This fight was almost as one sided a beating as Calzaghe administered to Lacy back in 2006. And when it was over, HBO’s Larry Merchant asked Taylor about possibly fighting Calzaghe next. Taylor’s response wasn’t enthusiastic and I don’t blame him. That is not a good fight for Taylor, who only recently moved up to 168, where he looks comfortable and strong. As Taylor admitted during the post fight interview, he’s making a come back. Going after the toughest fight in an even heavier weight class would be dumb. Calzaghe is the Light Heavyweight Champ; he has amazing stamina and a crafty ability to control the action with his high volume of punches and his speed. Calzaghe don’t hit so hard but he hits so often that it’s hard to win a round over him—unless you can introduce him to the canvas. And even then, Joe has shown that he can get up and fight on like the knockdown never happened.

There are plenty of tough customers at Super Middleweight. Taylor should stay at 168 and deal with the top contenders and titlist there before even considering a move up to LHW. There are some interesting match ups for Taylor at the top of the SMW division in Lucian Bute, Denis Inkin and Mikkel Kessler. There are also some quality top contenders there that would make for some great fights, like the flamboyant Jean Pascal, Carl Froch, Sakio Bika or a trip to Aussie-land to fight Anthony Mundine. And what fight fan would miss a showdown between Jermain Taylor vs. Edison Miranda?

Jeff Lacy fought hard and showed a lot of heart against Jermain Taylor. If only he could improve his defense and learn to throw straighter punches, he would be a fair challenge for anyone in the division. At 31, he can still improve but the truth is—Lacy is better suited against B level fighters. He’d be wise to stay within his means and go after the likes of Fulgencio Zuniga, Victor Oganov, Allan Green or Andre Dirrell. If he can beat those guys, then he might consider moving up in class. In the meantime, he will make a fine gate keeper for the division.

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Article posted on 16.11.2008

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