Jermain Taylor's Last Run

Taylor vs AbrahamBy Doveed Linder - The announcement of the Super Six tournament is the best news boxing fans have had all year. In recent months, several fights have been postponed due to injuries and the action has been slow. But something has finally come along that people can really look forward to. Boxing needs for the best to fight the best. The super middleweight division is loaded with talent and without a definite champion and this tournament will help to set the record straight.

While the fighters in this tournament are among the best at 168 pounds, most of them are not household names (at least in the United States). The winner of the Super Six will emerge as a superstar and some of the runners-up will almost certainly gain a lot of recognition. This is an event that will boost the careers for all of the fighters involved, except for perhaps Jermain Taylor..

Of all the fighters in this tournament, Jermain Taylor is the biggest name. Since wining the bronze medal in the 2000 Olympic Games, he has enjoyed a lot of popularity and commercial success as a professional. Before he ever won a fight of significance, he was already posing in Everlast advertisements and he was featured on HBO as one of the hottest prospects in boxing. Jermain has, in fact, done well for himself in this game, but it is likely that he found a place in this tournament because of his commercial viability, opposed to his recent accomplishments.

Jermain has lost 3 out of his last 4 fights, twice by stoppage. And before that, he has been the subject of a great deal of criticism. A lot of fans feel that he lost to Bernard Hopkins twice, as well as Winky Wright and even Cory Spinks. Going into his first fight with Kelly Pavlik, the boxing world had a lot of questions about Jermain and when he lost via TKO, it supported the idea that he doesnít have the goods to be a dominant champion.

Popularity aside, Jermain is not more deserving of a place in this tournament than some of the other top fighters in the super middleweight division. It doesnít seem right that Allan Green scored a spectacular knockout over Carlos DeLeon, Jr. on the very same night that Jermain was stopped by Carl Froch, yet Jermain has an opportunity to move forward with his career, while Allan stays where he is. Other top super middleweights include Lucian Bute, Sakio Bika, Karoly Balzsay, and Librado Andrade, all who have more momentum going for them than Jermain Taylor.

Jermainís handlers could make the argument that they believe in his abilities as a fighter, though it is more likely that they believe in his marketability. Scoring a big payday could be the only reason for Jermainís involvement in the Super Six. Because to take a fighter who was stopped twice in recent fights and put him in a major tournament and think that this will in any way boost his career is the definition of insanity.

Jermain has not yet bounced back from his fights with Kelly Pavlik, let alone the fight with Carl Froch. His win over Jeff Lacy was a good accomplishment, but that fight alone didnít give him an opportunity to get back on track. And now for his next fight, heís taking on Arthur Abraham, an undefeated lion with KO power. Abraham would have to be considered a significant favorite in this fight and itís likely that many are picking him to win by stoppage. And after the fight with Abraham, he has another major fight on the horizon against a very good fighter who has yet to be determined, followed by another major fight. Thatís a lot of abuse for a man to take over the course of a year and a half and itís likely that the Super Six will be the last time boxing fans see Jermain Taylor on a big stage.

The sad thing is that Jermain has a lot of potential as a fighter. He did a lot better against Bernard Hopkins and Winky Wright than most fighters would have. And on a different night, he might just beat Carl Froch and even Kelly Pavlik, provided his mind is right and he is focused on the task at hand. But since his fights with Pavlik, he hasnít had much of a chance to slow down and learn from his mistakes. He hasnít even slowed down since his fights with Hopkins. All of his opponents have been of some significance and he hasnít had a tune-up since 2005.

Jermain Taylor deserves a lot of credit for always doing his best and showing a willingness to face whoever is put in front of him. Between all of the criticism he has received from the boxing public and the stoppage losses he suffered at the hands of Pavlik and Froch, heís had a lot of pressure on his shoulders over the past few years. If he took his time to process everything that has happened and go back to the drawing board, he might just find his groove again and discover his potential as a fighter. But it is likely that this tournament will be too much for him and that the Super Six will prove to be the end of his run as a top fighter.

Article posted on 17.07.2009

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