Taylor down in win over Truax; Erislandy Lara destroys Ronald Hearns

By Paul Strauss: Jermain Taylor 29-4-1 (18 KO's) was looking for an impressive win over an undefeated Caleb Truax 18-0-1 (10 KO's). He came up short at Beau Rivage Resort and Casino, Biloxi, MS. In fact, he was close to having a disastrous result.

What do most boxing fans remember when thinking about Taylor? Him being the victim of big knockouts, i.e. Abraham, Pavlik, and Froch. After taking two years off to heal, he planned to come roaring back into contention for the middleweight title. He started with a TKO win over Jessie Nicklow last November. He was hoping to be even more impressive tonight.

However, all fans are going to remember about tonight's fight is that he got dropped by a right hand from someone who is not known to be a big puncher. Fans also know that if he had been in there with a top ten middleweight tonight, he probably would not have survived the knockdown.

Up until and after the knockdown, the fight was his. He was busier and controlling things with his jab. Truax was doing a good job with his footwork and head slipping, but he wasn't making Taylor pay when he made him miss. He also was fighting too nice. When inside, he would let his gloves slip behind Taylor's back, instead of keeping them in tight, so he could work.

Truax contined to let Taylor outwork him round after round. As the fight progressed, it became obvious to everyone that the only way Truax was going to win the fight was by knockout. When that opportunity came in the ninth round, Caleb just couldn't finish him. He smothered himself, or let Taylor tie him up. As a result, he never got Taylor in trouble again. By by the end of the round, Taylor was again in control. It has to be a huge disappointment for Truax. He had the former undisputed middleweight champion, and he let him get away. How many opportunities like that does a fighter get? Very few and when they come, a fighter has to execute, and Truax failed to get it done. He is left thinking, "What might have been"?

In the post-fight with Steve Farhood, Taylor sounded foolish. He babbled about not caring if he got knocked down? He seemed to be implying that in this fight he had made a conscious decision to refuse to stay down. Well, if he had been in there with a better fighter, he probably would have been unconscious. He would have been put down again and probably out. Any of the top ten middleweights will jump at the chance to fight him. Undoubtedly they will see a vulnerable Taylor.

Erislandy Lara 15-1-1 (11 KO's) made short work of Ronald Hearns 26-3-0 (20 KO's). The much taller Hearns started things by trying to maintain a sufficient distance with a flicking jab, which he throws from about the waist. The idea is for the punch to have more snap, and for it to be harder to pick up by his opponent. However, he brings the glove back to a low position, which opens him up for a counter.

In the first round, he had just thrown a left, and was just starting to cock a right hand, and the southpaw Lara beat him to the punch with a beautiful straight left that landed right on the jaw. Down went Hearns. He beat the count and Lara then blasted him into the ropes with punches that crashed into his raised guard. Unfortunately for Hearns is he bounced off of the ropes right into a clean straight left.

Referee Keith Hughes jumped in between the fighters and started an eight count. When he finished, Lara jumped right back on Hearns and zero'd in with straight shots right between Hearn's raised gloves. Several got through, and he started to drop his guard. Then he got nailed with a particularly hard shot that sent him down and out. There was no doubt that he wasn't getting up. It was 1:34 of the first round.

Lara is a scary proposition for anyone in the junior middleweight or possibly even the middleweight division. Height certainly doesn't seem to be any problem for him, as he has convincingly proved with Hearns and before that with Paul Williams.

Article posted on 21.04.2012

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