Taylor stops Bunema to retain title


28.03.04 – By Marc Abrams – For the first time, HBO brought its boxing show to Arkansas, which happens to be the home of two of boxing’s rising stars, that being heavyweight Dominick Guinn and middleweight Jermain Taylor. On this night there was a pleasant homecoming for Taylor, as he looked spectacular with a 7th round TKO over Alex Bunema. On the other hand, Guinn was not as fortunate as he dropped a split decision to Monte Barrett.

In the opener, Guinn, 221 lbs, came out strong to try and impress the home folks, landing some hard jabs and left hooks to the body. The fight was going to form as most experts originally thought that Guinn would control the fight with his deliberate power punching. However, in round 3, Barrett came on with some hard rights to the body of Guinn, which had the soft looking Guinn wincing. Barrett, who came in shape 218 pounds, controlled most of the next 6 rounds by connecting hooks with both hands to both the body and coming upstairs to the head of Guinn. Barrett unloaded with a power assault in round 7 and for the first time in Guinn’s much hyped career, he was in danger of being knocked out. Over the last few rounds, Guinn seemed very spent of energy, as he failed to manage any sort of effort to try and knock out Barrett.

Barrett was awarded a split decision by scores of 97-93, 97-93 and some how Guinn won a card at 96-94. I had scored it 98-94 in favor of Barrett. Barrett raises his record to 30-3(16 KO’s) and while Guinn fell to 24-1(17). The fine performance by Barrett should open up a lot of opportunities for him. I see a rematch of his close yet controversial decision that Barrett had with Joe Mesi or maybe a fight with the winner of the upcoming fight between IBF belt holder Chris Byrd and Andrew Golota. As for Guinn, he was exposed for what he is – a 2nd tier fighter! He needs to drop back down and try to lose some of the baby fight that covers his frame, and at the same time, he needs to learn how to box more, as he really looked like an amateur out there against Barrett.

The night cap, Jermain Taylor put on a clinic on how to dominate a fight, as he dominated with a hard, thudding jab, which he planted into Bunema’s face almost from the outset of the opening round. The Little Rock native, Taylor used his 5 inch height, and power advantage by landing the hard shots off of his jab to the head of the eager Bunema. The best work Bunema could get in was a stare down after round 1, and some pushing and shoving after the 4th round. Taylor floored Bunema just 16 seconds in to round 7, when he connected with a relentless barrage of punches. Bunema showed a warrior’s heart by getting up, but fortunately for him, the fight was mercifully stopped at the 44 second mark of the 7th round. Bunema dropped to 24-4-2(12), while Taylor remained perfect at 20-0(15).

This win brings Taylor one step closer to legitimately being a serious contender to undisputed champ Bernard Hopkins. However, Taylor still has a lot of work to do, especially on his defense, as he keeps his guard too low, and he gets hit with way too many flush punches. He also fights like he’s semi-uncordinated, and looks like he has two left feet out there. Not a good sign for someone who us expected to challenge for Hopkin’s title someday in the near future. My advice would be for him to wait until Hopkins retires, because Taylor would get brutally beaten by a professional like Hopkins.