Hopkins Loses Another Decision To Taylor! - I want to see fight # 3

03.12.05 - By Izyaslav "Slava" Koza: I can't help but disagree with both Bob Costas and Max Kellerman in their assertion that another fight with Bernard Hopkins and Jermain Taylor is not a public interest. Basically the truth of the matter is I spent every second of this fight either upright, standing and pacing in front of my tv, or running to the bathroom to take a whiz. It may sound gross but the amount of anxiety I feel during a potentially good and nerve racking fight, may be judged, by the number of times I run to the bathroom. Its possible that may seem weird but I am willing to bet a lot of fans who share my sentiment go through something like this as well. If you're a smoker I am willing to bet the cigarettes smoked count for your personal compubox is much higher then during a Ruiz fight. No, it wasn't Morales Barrerra, or Corrales-Castillo, but it was still exciting and exhilarating to see who could out maneuver which fighter.

The first thing we should consider is that Hopkins is a forty year old. Now, overall, his ability has not diminished but his work rate has. In a sense, he is starting to show signs of age, but he is such a brilliant tactician, that if he chooses to keep fighting, he will still be effective. Guys who depend on a high volume of punches would not be able to maintain the same game plan into their early forties, but since Hopkins doesn't, he can still bust up Taylor's face. For Taylor's part, he paced himself better this fight and had a little more left towards the end, which is why he got the decision, again.

As with the first fight, I feel giving either fighter the win is unfair. I had a tremendously difficult time to score this fight and after the first 4 rounds, I abandoned even trying. The first three rounds were impossible to give to either fighter. The first was definitely a draw, where both guys had one single unsuccessful lunge each and did nothing but pose for the rest of the round. That is not to say that it was bad as they were both trying to connect with a single punch that would give them the three minutes, neither did, in my opinion. The next two rounds had Taylor letting his hands go a bit more, but not landing anything wholly significant. It would have been his round had it not been for the cleaner punches that Hopkins landed. To be fair to both guys, it is utterly impossible to give either fighter the round. Hopkins wasn't aggressive enough, while Taylor wasn't effective enough. The fourth was the first I gave to Taylor, yet even then, I could see that it wasn't fair to commit giving either guy the round as the amount of pressure that it would have on the result would be too great.

I have always had an understanding of how hard it is for judges to score fights, especially considering that they have no instant replay or multiple angles but this fight confirmed it. However, at the same time, that does not excuse the fact that, as in the first fight, this fight should have probably been a draw. If you give Taylor all the benefits of the doubt because he is swinging, then it only matters who swings more. In that case, Jose Castillo should have gotten the nod against Floyd Mayweather, and Vasili Jirov should have gotten the points win against James Toney. It's not just a swing fight game, and to make the excuse for a judge that he only has a few seconds to make a decision, is not fair. I strongly feel that in order to be fair judges should have the ability to look at replays of rounds, or portions of rounds, and not have to make decisions like this. Were a judge to have an assistant, or a sanctioning body official, who he can confer with to hold off his scoring a round until he checks a punch in a particular round, then that might alleviate scoring biases whether they are intentional or not.

In a fight like this, yes, Taylor is the younger guy and he can swing, and let his hands go more, and since Hopkins agrees to that format he should pay, but I still don't think its fair, overall. A fight should be judged more carefully and from more angles then the judge usually has. If Judges have to sit away from the crowd up in a booth, where they can see the ring better, then so be it, but anything where the results are more consistent and less arguable.

Still, though, getting back on point, like I said previously, I feel Hopkins - Taylor III would still be a fun sell. I would buy it and watch it much the same way. Bernard Hopkins is a legend in the sport and the more we see of him in the twilight of his career, the better it is for us. Jermain Taylor, for his part, on paper, has two wins against Bernard, so technically he does not need a third fight. Still, I feel that if he is serious about getting better, there is no way to get better as a fighter then to get the better of a guy like Bernard Hopkins. Win or lose, in a third fight, Hopkins will leave the sport, and Taylor will most likely take over the middleweight division. It will happen regardless of a third fight, but if Taylor can get in twelve more rounds with a guy like Hopkins, I feel it will positively serve him as a fighter. Especially if he takes a fight that he doesn't need to take, because he probably feels he has proven himself the better man over Hopkins throughout the course of twelve rounds. I don't feel that is entirely so, but I can't deny his ability, which is why I crave to see a third fight. I truly believe that regardless of what the judges say, there needs to be closure to this conflict not a scorecards passing of the torch.

Undercard action

Quartey - Bojorquez

It's difficult to assess the performance of Ike "Bazooka" Quartey. On the one hand, his hand-speed and connect percentage were phenomenal, as well as his ability to take punches and return fire. On the other hand, maybe Carlos Bojorquez just isn't a guy who is good enough to gauge how much Quartey has left. He had a lot of heart, that is without question, yet as the rounds wore on, he connected less and less and ate more and more.

The stoppage is a difficult issue for me. On the one hand, Bojorquez was eating a lot of clean punches, on the other, he was still moving forward and still throwing. I see why the fight was stopped, but as a fan, I would have wanted him to get his forty seconds to finish it out. No, not because I wanted to see blood or see him get hurt, but because I think his effort should have been rewarded with a points loss, not a TKO stoppage. I know the overriding concern is of the Leavander Johnson variety, but still some of these men are warriors. We may feel it is our fault if something happens to them, but they wonĘłt have any regrets if they are hurt or maybe die in the ring. There is no shame in quitting and a lot of fighters better than Bojorquez have done it because they have families and know in their hearts there is nothing they can do but I feel he wanted to at least finish the fight. The guy reminds somewhat of Wayne Maculough. When all is said and done, Wayne was in tears when they stopped his fight with Larios, and not because he lost but rather due to the fact that he could not say to his kids "I was never stopped in my career." The other side is, of course, without being halted, he might die and not have any kids, but people in general just don't have as much say as who lives and dies, no matter how many precautions are taken. It may not mean much to us, but to Bojorquez, saying that he went the full distance with Ike Quartey, might be another defining moment. I just feel that if he wanted to keep going then he should have been given the chance.

Larios - Vazquez

It looks like Freddie Roach got revenge for Wayne Macullough, as his fighter, Israel Vazquez won on a technicality against the "Pocket Rocket"s' conqueror, Oscar "Chololo" Larios.

Really the issue here is that Vazquez did a great job in attacking early and got the benefit of this, as Larios tried to fight with him and soon realized he was no match for Vazquez's power, as he picked himself up off the canvas. Credit to Larios for not losing his cool and getting on his bike to begin boxing which made the fight very competitive, as Larios was winning from the outside, while Vazquez tried to get inside where he was the better man. It would have been very interesting to see how the fight would have played out but the result took that away from us.

A punch somewhat similar to the one Lennox Lewis landed on Vitali Klitschko, again showed the deficiency of certain boxing rules. Vazquez landed a right inside, that connected at such an angle that the stitching of the thumb of the glove raked Larios's eye, viciously, and caused a huge gash, thereby causing a TKO win for Vazquez. The problem with this is that the same could have very easily happened to Vazquez, and although Larios was congratulating him I am sure that going into the fight, he would not have wanted to lose that way. For that matter, I am sure Vazquez would not have wanted to end up with a huge gash and a TKO loss as well because of it.

Really, the nature of the cut and what caused it should have been evaluated. One option should have been a, "no contest" because I see punches like this as no different than head-butts. It's not the impact or frequency of the punch but rather how it lands and should not affect one fighter negatively. Either that or the gloves that are used should be designed differently so they cannot cause such turning point damage in fights. Either way, there should definitely be a rematch, just like there should have been one with Klitschko and Lewis, which is another debate altogether, because all we can say from what went on is that this result was simply inconclusive.

P.S. Does anybody have any idea what was up with the National Anthem and R. Kelly? I sure don't.

Article posted on 04.12.2005

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