29.06.05 - By Jim Amato: I like Taylor. He beat Ohio's talented Anthony Hanshaw to win a trip to the Olympics. Hanshaw's pro career has stalled for a variety of reasons but he was a great amateur. As a pro he is undefeated and holds a win over highly regarded Kingsly Ikele.
Anyway, my first impression when this fight was made is that Taylor was being rushed. No way is he ready for a seasoned fighter like Hopkins. Then I started thinking. Hopkins did not rush to a rematch with Trinidad after Tito blasted out Ricardo Mayorga. Hmmm...
Then after Tito was outclassed by the crafty Winky Wright, the decision was made by Hopkins to go after the light heavyweight crown if he beats Taylor. That tells me he would rather not spend an evening in the ring with Winky.
I know Bernard is obsessed with getting Roy Jones Jr. into the ring again. Understandably so knowing that Bernard wants to avenge that set back. To get Jones he understands that he is going to have to move up in weight. Bernard is a lean, mean career middleweight. His adding weight reminds me of Bob Foster trying to add weight to compete at heavyweight. It didn't work. Bob was a perfect light heavyweight specimen. When he moved up to heavyweight he negated most of the advantages he had at 175 pounds.
I believe that is why Hagler never moved up. He knew he was a naturally perfect middleweight. Sorry I can not see Bernard beating Antonio Tarver.
If Bernard has one good fight left in him he should take Taylor. In my opinion Jermaine will hold a title one day. I'm just not convinced that it is going to be the night he meets Hopkins. Still as it has happened before, sometimes a great fighter becomes old overnight. Bernard has been bucking Father Time for quite a while now. To me this fight is not so much a Hopkins-vs-Taylor match up as it is a Hopkins-vs-Father Time confrontation.