By Ted Sares: As some, but not nearly as many as one might expect, predicted, “The Ghost” did it again by withstanding Jemaine Taylor’s sporadic explosions and good start to win a solid unanimous decision. My thinking before the fight was that the first icing had gotten into Taylor’s head, and this would be déjà vu all over again. I was wrong..
As Teddy Atlas said on Friday, it helps to get a new mechanic and take one lap around the track before getting back in there with the tough Youngstown KO artist so soon. While he did get a new mechanic in Ozell Nelson (who first introduced Taylor to boxing at his gym in Little Rock), he did not take a warm up fight (read: lap around the track). But he still fought one hell of a fight landing a number of clean rights and doing some good body work.
However, Pavlik’s superior jab, great focus and discipline, and better work rate overcame Taylor’s periodic flurries. In short, focus and consistency won over flash and inconsistency, but both fighters elevated themselves in stature in this crowd pleasing affair. As an aside, when Pavlik’s trainer asked him “are you listening?” his response was “I’m all ears.” When was the last time you heard a fighter be that responsive in a corner?
“The Ghost” showed he could go 12 rounds (for the first time), fight intelligently, and finish strong. He also displayed a surprisingly effective defense as he continued to back up Taylor throughout the fight and test his stamina which began to weaken in the last two rounds.
Kelly Pavlik showed that he is far more than just a knockout artist. He will be a major force for some time to come.
I had it 116-114 with the fourth and ninth rounds even, but 116-112 was probably more accurate. The official scores were 117-111, 116-112 and 115-113.
Postscript: The judge who scorde the fight 120-108 in favor of Jose Navarro over Christian Mijares should be banned for life.