Jermain Taylor: “I know that if I fight Bernard Hopkins 100 times that I would beat him 100 times no matter what”

by Geoffrey Ciani (Exclusive Interview by Jenna J & Geoffrey Ciani) - Yesterday’s edition of On the Ropes Boxing Radio featured an exclusive interview with former undisputed middleweight world champion Jermain ‘Bad Intentions’ Taylor (29-4-1, 18 KOs) who is taking on undefeated Caleb Truax (18-0-1, 10 KOs) tonight in a bout that will be televised on Showtime Boxing. Taylor spoke about his upcoming fight with Truax and also reflected back on some key moments in his career, such as his victories against Bernard Hopkins, his fights with Kelly Pavlik and Carl Froch, and his recent comeback against Jess Nicklow after more than a two year absence from the sport. Taylor also touched on a number of other topics and shared his views on the upcoming fight between Floyd Mayweather Junior and Miguel Cotto as well as the rematch between Chad Dawson and Bernard Hopkins. Here is what Taylor had to say:

Regarding his fight against Caleb Truax:

“I’m feeling great. You know it’s my time to come back and I’m looking forward to getting back in that ring!”

On how much he believes he can improve on his previous effort against Jesse Nicklow when he returned from a two-plus year absence:

“You know in that first one it was just about getting all of the bugs out. I feel like when I go in there this time I’ll be a lot more calm, a lot more relaxed, and a lot more patient with my punches, and it will be a totally better fight.”

His views on his upcoming opponent Caleb Truax:

“I know he’s undefeated. I know he comes to fight. He’s a fighter! I know he likes to bring it, and I’m going to give him all he wants.”

Regarding his training and preparations for this fight:

“I have just been working on keeping the left hand up, throwing a lot of straight punches, not loading up with the right hand all the time, and just taking my time if I get a guy hurt. Just take my time and go ahead and get him out of there!”

On how he expects to be received by the crowd from Biloxi, Mississippi:

“Hopefully it’s going to be a great crowd! It’s kind of close to Arkansas so I have some fans there. Hopefully it will be a great crowd!”

His views on what he got out of his time during his two year absence from professional boxing:

“Well first of all that was the best two years of my life! I took that time off and I figured I had to get back to myself and train hard, and get back to the hard work, and do everything that I lost while I was losing those fights. I just had to get back to myself.”

Regarding what he expects from himself now that he is once again competing in the middleweight division:

“I expect to get all of the belts back, to get every belt that I won. There is no problem making weight. I’ve been eating all through camp. It’s just a great weight for me! I never should have been at 168. You know I feel now I’m at the weight I’m supposed to be at. I’m going to be champion again at 160.”

His views on the current middleweight landscape and the reigning champion Sergio Martinez:

“Yeah, Sergio Martinez. He’s a great fighter. I take nothing away from him, but whenever I fight him it’s going to be time for him to give up the belts.”

Regarding his two matches against Bernard Hopkins and how they helped him transform as a fighter:

“Those Hopkins fights, man! It was just I was at a point in my life where I wanted to be the best! I wanted to be on top and there was no way I was going to lose those fights. Up until those fights I was working hard, and all I knew was working hard and just never giving up. After those fights I just got comfortable, comfortable and relaxed. When I took those two years off and I came back, I got that same ‘old way’ back, that hunger back. I missed boxing! I love boxing! Boxing is what I do. I mean I’ve been boxing since I was 12 years old and it’s something I love to do. I have to get back to my old ways, those old ways, the way that I beat Hopkins.”

On whether he ever felt any added pressure being labeled as ‘The Heir Apparent’ as he rose through the ranks before challenging Hopkins:

“Oh no. I didn’t pay attention to that. All that ‘Heir Apparent’ stuff, I never paid attention. I don’t pay attention to the good or the bad. I just take it as it comes. Hard work pays off! When you start working hard in the gym it shows in the ring.”

On whether he feels any added motivation now that a lot of fans are counting him out during his comeback run:

“Of course. You know to be honest with you, all of my life in the majority of my boxing career I’ve been the underdog, especially in the amateurs. I was never supposed be on the Olympic Team or all of this. There was times when I was told that I wasn’t good enough to go on a trip to fights. It’s always something. But I’m going to tell you man, hard work pays off! I’m back to my old ways. If anybody starts doubting than just watch me in that ring, because in boxing all you have to do is keep winning. That’s all you have to do.”

On whether he feels he still has one of the best jabs in all of boxing:

“I know I still have it. I know it! Just in the gym sparring, and you could see it a little bit with Jess Nicklow. I mean my right hand was hurt, but that jab got him all out of there. Man in the gym sparring, it’s just like the jab is unstoppable, and I’m back to using it, and you’ll see it in my fight.”

On whether he ever felt something was not right with him going into his first fight with Kelly Pavlik when he suffered his first defeat as a pro:

“Well you know when I fought Kelly I had Kelly out. Out! He was out on his feet. I just couldn’t finish him. I was tired. I wasn’t. Like I said, after those Hopkins fights I had reached my goal. That’s all of my life I had goals, and once I reached that I guess I lost my focus. Now that I have my focus back I’m untouchable. As far as with Kelly, I didn’t know. I was just going through the motions. You know but I had him out and just couldn’t finish him. I got tired in the later rounds and he got me out of there.”

His views on why he was unable to hold on in his loss against Carl Froch:

“I think I would say that I was just tired of boxing. I needed a break from boxing and I was just going through the motions like I said. With those fights, here it is I had these guys out and I’m tired in the later rounds. I can’t even. There’s nothing I could do. Come on now. That just shows you that you’re not doing what you used to do. Here it is with Hopkins I fought twelve rounds and half of the fight I was losing blood. Those fights were not me. I was just going through the motions.”

On whether he is at all surprised that Bernard Hopkins is still a champion at age 47:

“No. That man is doing his thing, and you got to look at that as motivation. I mean here it is he’s still doing his thing, and I know that if I fight Bernard Hopkins 100 times that I would beat him 100 times no matter what. But he is still doing his thing and I respect that so much. He never loses his focus. Once you lose focus you might as well stop boxing because you’ll get hurt.”

On whether he believes Hopkins has a chance in his upcoming rematch against Chad Dawson:

“I would never count the man out. I would never count either one of them out. I think anything can happen in a boxing match. It just depends on who’s the better man that night.”

His views on the upcoming fight between Floyd Mayweather Junior and Miguel Cotto:

“I just think it’s going to be a great fight. Like I told you a minute ago I never count a fighter out in a boxing match because anything can happen. But I wish them both good luck and I hope they go in there and make the fans happy.”

On whether there are any boxers boxing today whom he is a big fan of:

“No, not really. You know of course Mayweather. I love watching him, but as far as anybody else, no. I really don’t.”

Regarding the story behind how he first started using the boxing nickname “Bad Intentions”:

“I first started using ‘Bad Intentions’. Well it was at Northern Michigan University, and I got a scholarship to go there for school for boxing. I was in the ring sparring one day and all of the guys on the side of the ring were talking about how I throw everything with bad intentions, and they just kept saying it, and kept saying it, and the name kind of stuck with me. So everybody just started calling me ‘Bad Intentions’,
because every punch I throw has bad intentions on it, even the jab.”

His views on what he would need to do to defeat reigning middleweight champion Sergio Martinez:

“I will just beat him! I’ll just beat him. I’ll go in there and fight him. Whatever it takes, whatever it takes to win, that’s what I’m going to do! I just beat him! I don’t have a strategy to go in there and beat him. I’ll just go in there and get it done!”

On whether he has an interest in taking on one of the other belt holders before facing Sergio Martinez:

“I really just feel that if you have a belt, I’m coming for you! I don’t care which one comes first, or if you have any kind of name, that’s who I’m coming for. I’m wanting to shut it all done, because these guys ain’t dogs. I never dodged anybody in my life. I’m a dog! I’m a dog that’s going to fight when I get in that ring!”

His official prediction for his fight against Caleb Truax:

“My official prediction is just to beat this guy by any means necessary, just to beat him. Go in there and just beat him down no matter what!”


For those interested in listening to the Jermain Taylor interview in its entirety, it begins approximately one hour and nine minutes into the program.



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Article posted on 20.04.2012

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