NEW YORK, June 15 – After 20 fights as a professional (all victories, with 15 of those wins coming by knockout), Little Rock, Arkansas’ Jermain Taylor is ready for the next phase of his career – a phase that includes world championships and high-profile bouts against some of the sport’s superstars. But to get to that point, Taylor has to beat a man who has already been to those heights and who has a burning desire to get back there – former world champion Raul Marquez.
“He’s fought all the top guys, and if I can get past Marquez, it’s definitely time for a top five guy or a big name guy,” said Taylor of Marquez, who he will face on Saturday, June 19th, in a twelve round middleweight bout to be held at the Home Depot Center in Carson, California, and which will be aired live on HBO’s Boxing After Dark beginning at 9:45 PM (ET/PT).
The 25-year-old Taylor, a Bronze medallist in the 2000 Olympics, has patiently waited for his time in the spotlight, and with each passing fight, he has improved to the point where the top fighters at 160 pounds will be unable to ignore him. In fact, that’s been the plan. “I come to fight,” said Taylor. “I train hard and if I do what I’m supposed to do, everything will work out for the best. Hard work does pay off, and I believe that.” Of course, the biggest name in the middleweight division is undisputed champion Bernard Hopkins, and though many feel that Hopkins will retire after his September bout with Oscar De La Hoya, Taylor believes he will stick around for perhaps his greatest challenge – a fight with the young man many believe will carry the torch for the division in the coming years. “A true champion never quits,” said Taylor of Hopkins.
“Somebody has to make him quit. So if he’s a true champion, he will give me a chance, just to prove to himself that he is the best.” To beat the long-reigning champion, Taylor will have to be prepared for an all-out war. Luckily, in his last bout, an impressive, HBO-televised seventh round stoppage against Alex Bunema on March 27th, Taylor showed his “Bad Intentions” for the entire world to see. “I’ll tell you the truth, he did get under my skin a little bit,” laughs Taylor, who made Bunema pay for his harsh pre-fight comments. “In the ring I’m a totally different person. It did take a lot to bring it out of me, but it’s a warning. Don’t mess with me.”
Houston’s Raul Marquez (35-2, 24 KOs) will do his best to derail Taylor’s progess on June 19, and the former world champion and Olympic Silver medallist, has predicted that Taylor will be fighting in hostile territory come Saturday night. Taylor doesn’t agree. “I don’t consider it as hostile territory because I’m a great boxer and hopefully I’ve got a nice little fan base,” he said. “I’ll probably have a nice little crowd to myself.”
Taylor-Marquez is part of an outstanding night of boxing presented by Golden Boy Promotions, in association with DiBella Entertainment and Top Rank and headlined by the featherweight battle between Marco Antonio Barrera and Paulie Ayala.
Tickets priced at $200, $100, $50 and $25 not including applicable service charges, are on sale now at the Home Depot Box Office. Tickets may also be purchased by phone by calling Ticketmaster at (213) 480-3232.