Commentary – Pavlik vs. Taylor II: Initial Thoughts

By: Christopher Roche, 1) I had Jermain Taylor winning the fight by a count of seven rounds to five. All of the rounds were 10-9 rounds, as there were no knockdowns and the rounds were competitive. My scorecard read the following way: Taylor: 2,3,5,6,8,9 and 10; Pavlik: 1,4,7,11 and 12..

2) While I am already seeing other writers state that Taylor “faded down the stretch”, I completely disagree. Going into the championship rounds, Taylor was fresh, and I gave him the tenth on my card. However, in the eleventh, Pavlik backed Taylor into the ropes for the only time in the fight, and “The Ghost” landed a vicious body shot. Taylor was forced to hold, and that one shot turned the eleventh around and took enough out of Taylor to help Pavlik win the twelfth. In other words, Taylor did not just “fade” on his own; his momentum was stymied by a brilliant and rare body shot from Pavlik.

3) Taylor’s defense was much improved, and he picked off Pavlik’s right hand, most of the night. Pavlik has a devastating right hand, but it was clear he was not landing it cleanly, because Taylor was never hurt by it. Taylor also did a brilliant job of moving away from Pavlik’s power while jabbing and slipping.

While Pavlik threw more punches, Taylor’s were more accurate and effective. HBO Judge Harold Lederman pointed this out in the middle of the fight, when he reminded Jim Lampley that judges look at “clean and effective” shots, not just number of punches thrown. Lampley gushed about the compubox numbers, but he ignored the subtleties of Taylor’s defense.

4) Pavlik has one of the best jabs in the business. Taylor clearly found a way to escape Pavlik’s right hand, but he had no luck neutralizing Pavlik’s jab. Pavlik’s jab is long and powerful. In the future, I would not be surprised if he scores a knockdown with his jab; it is very effective. Because of those hard jabs from Pavlik, Taylor suffered bleeding from his nose, as well as swelling around his eyes. The jab also won Pavlik the fight in the eyes of the judges.

5) Ozell Nelson designed a brilliant game plan, and Taylor listened to him. Taylor stayed off the ropes, and he moved very well. Taylor also tried to go to the body, as was evidenced by the fact he was warned for low blows. Pavlik’s game plan was the same as the first fight, and his lack of adjustments cost him the fight, in my eyes. Pavlik’s corner was screaming at him before the twelfth round, and they told him he needed a knockdown.

The fight was very close, and the judge who had the fight 117-111 should be invited to retire from scoring major boxing matches.

Undercard…what undercard?

While I watched the Ronald Hearns mismatch, once Showtime’s EliteXC kicked off, I switched over to their coverage. I intently watched Edson Berto, as he tried to climb back into the top echelon of the sport against former top UFC lightweight Yves Edwards. Berto, who boxing fans might recognize as the older brother of welterweight star Andre Berto, looked strong and powerful, but he made one costly mistake.

After landing a hard right round kick, Berto rushed Edwards and grabbed him. Edwards pushed Berto’s head down, while Berto held Edward’s right leg. Edwards balanced himself and landed a leaping left knee to Berto’s head, and Berto was stopped in the second round. Edward’s knee was spectacular, because once he launched it, neither of his feet were on the ground.

Those two rounds were more exciting than the 25 or so undercard rounds from the MGM Grand, and they were not on PPV.

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