Boxing


Taylor/Hopkins 2: Does One Fighter Deserve It More?

18.11.05 - By Justin Hackman: There have been a lot of articles written which discuss the two fighters' styles, their backgrounds, and their first meeting. They go on to beat into the ground a rehashing of their first meeting which was more than worthy of the written word considering the fight's magnitude, along with the fact that it resembled a chess match more so than a boxing match, and controversy was just the icing on the cake. However, I'm not going to rehash all the controversies of fight number one. I'm not going to go into the fact that Hopkins had stolen from him the twelfth round which would have led to victory. I'm not going to go into the fact that Jermain Taylor kept Hopkins off his game plan because of his sheer athleticism, power, and skill, which caused Bernard to start late. I'm not going to go into the fact that people argue "If only Hopkins started sooner." I'm not going to go into the fact that he simply could not have started sooner because Taylor posed too much of a risk.. I'm not going to talk about Bernard Hopkins being undoubtedly, unarguably the pound for pound king up until July 16th, and that he did enough to win the fight but not enough to win the boxing match on the scorecards. I'm not going to go into any of that. What I will talk about is who deserves to win fight number two? Who deserves it more?

Bernard Hopkins is the most ring savvy boxer the sport has seen since the man came into his prime. He knows EXACTLY when to turn on the jets; he knows EXACTLY when it would be too late; and above all, the vast majority of the time, he knows his opponent better than his opponent knows himself. Bernard spends the first few rounds of every fight feeling out his opponent, and at forty, the man can still give a young 27 year old talent on the ascent to his prime the hardest fight that he has ever been a part of. He is a ring savvy general and refuses to lose because he can outsmart his opponent at the drop of a hat.

Jermain Taylor is a hungry, young, talented fighter that knew no defeat on any level as a pro, until facing Bernard Hopkins. Taylor managed in his 26 fight career before July 16th to not lose a single round to any opponent, be it blown up junior middleweight or legitimate 160 pounder. He walked into the executioner's domain fresh from the cradle, entered the ring with the undisputed pound for pound champ, put his dukes up and gave him a fight.and he won. Controversial it may have been, however, could Howard Eastman have said that their outcome was controversial? No. Could De La Hoya have claimed controversy with their outcome? No. Could Antwun Echols, could Robert Allen, or Tito Trinidad? No, no, and no. Jermain Taylor accomplished more against a king than any of his opponents did since Roy Jones, regardless of the outcome. This does not guarantee victory, but it does guarantee that Jermain has become a better fighter because of it. What their first fight did, was skyrocket Taylor's confidence through the roof, and gave him a college education in the way that he spent 12 rounds in the same ring as Bernard Hopkins, win or lose.

Hopkins will go down in history as having one of the most prestigious careers in all of boxing. Win or lose the man has secured his legacy in boxing history. Did he deserve to lose a controversial split decision by the slimmest of margins to a new young exciting fighter? Did he deserve to have his record forever tainted by a big fat L on his record because of one decisive round on one judge's card? Probably not. However did he lose the boxing match fair and square? Yes. It was a split decision, in which either man could have been crowned the victor, and he lost. Jermain Taylor lost the fight while winning the boxing match: did he deserve to take the belts from the champ in such a fashion? That is a tough question that requires some thought. Taylor has extremely high standards of himself: he never experienced defeat of a single round as a pro, he was disappointed in his blow out match against Raul Marquez in which Taylor stopped him in nine, gave him the first knockdown of Marquez's career and didn't manage to lose a singe round on any of the judges' scorecards, and yet was disappointed with the outcome. Did he deserve to win a championship? Absolutely.only the circumstances surrounding his triumph were not exactly how fight fans, and Jermain, saw the fight playing out.

The question becomes, does he deserve to keep that title come December 3rd? Does this fighter beginning to realize his potential, while facing off against a great former champ in the twilight of his career deserve to remain victorious? Yes. There is no other right way to see this fight go than to see Jermain Taylor conquer his predecessor in convincing fashion.

This would be the point in my article where I would give you a prediction. And what I will tell you is this: how can I possibly begin to give you a plausible claim on the outcome, as both sides I could boast more than a legit argument? One on hand you have the most ring savvy boxer in the last decade who has been in the ring with a young hungry stallion, tested his waters, and gave him a beating, which will be applied now to their rematch. On the other hand, you have the undefeated young warrior that is looking to erase the controversy that plagued their first match. And what he will take with him in the ring is his confidence and his newfound experience which he gained from initiation on July 16th. How can I begin to make a prediction? Well, I just can't help myself. Taylor by UD.

Article posted on 19.11.2005



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