17.02.08 – By Phil Santos – Overhandright.com: In a controlled early going Jermain Taylor found success with his jab in between the busier Kelly Pavlik’s attack. Taylor carried the speed advantage with him to 166 lbs but it was Pavlik with more consistent pressure and a rock solid approach. Pavlik fought nearly an identical fight to his first meeting with Taylor and although the knockout didn’t come, his game plan prevailed. He kept Taylor moving backwards and applied the type of smothering pressure that made it difficult for Taylor to mount a suitable offense..
To Jermain Taylor’s credit his back never touched the ropes until the end of the 11th round and he put up enough resistance in the opening rounds to warrant a drama filled end to the fight. Even at 166 Taylor didn’t have sufficient stamina to maintain an assault that could stifle Pavlik’s charge much less move him back. The former champion stung Pavlik repeatedly with his left jab however despite a bloodied nose Pavlik walked right through it.
The final scores were somewhat surprising considering the good work that Taylor was able to do early on. The flip side is that even during the rounds where Taylor had success it was in spots, whereas Pavlik dealt in volume and in turn landed as many shots as Taylor even though he often threw more to accomplish it.
Kelly Pavlik sealed the deal by closing the door on the Jermain Taylor era. Much like Taylor did to Hopkins, Pavlik now stands alone as the sole heir to the Middleweight throne. It is hard to imagine any of the current Middleweight crop, Abraham or Strum included, giving Pavlik a more serious contest than Jermain Taylor or Edison Miranda before him were able to.
For Taylor the future is now in question. Naturally he expressed disappointment following a fight that he felt was close or that he had possibly won. A stint at Super Middleweight could be interesting with names like Calzaghe and Kessler heading the class. Much less likely would be a return to Middleweight where he would be cast as contender unless someone could topple the current champ. Taylor showed he could battle and gave Pavlik some trouble and perhaps that was enough to merit a continuation of a very solid career. I would be shocked to see Taylor hang up the gloves although there were whispers while he was a young champion that he had accomplished his goals and he felt set for life financially. Is this the end for Jermain Taylor? I doubt it.
I saw a very close fight with Pavlik edging Taylor out mostly on work rate and steady aggression by a score of 115-114 with the 5th round being even. The judges couldn’t disagree more with scores of 117-111, 115-113 and 116-112.