19.02.08 – Matthew Hurley: After their compelling rematch Saturday night in which Kelly Pavlik won a twelve round unanimous decision over Jermain Taylor the two fighters retired to the media room in the MGM Grand Hotel and spoke of the fight and their future plans. While Taylor’s disappointment could be summed up in his comment that he was going to “take my ass home and go fishing,” the Arkansas native not only did himself proud in the ring but also continued to do so outside the ropes..
Before taking the podium his promoter Lou DiBella spoke of the fighter’s courage and praised not only his performance but also that of Pavlik’s. The good vibrations were reverberating all over the room.
“It was the kind of fight that was hard to score,” he said, alluding to some of the ringside press that had the fight scored a draw or in Taylor’s favor. (I had the fight scored 116 – 112 for Pavlik.) “You saw two terrific fighters get out there and perform. We’re proud.”
The crowd that had gathered for the post-fight press conference was extremely gracious, acknowledging the spirited effort put on by both fighters.
Taylor addressed the audience from behind a pair of dark sunglasses, but his humble nature shown brightly.
“It was a great fight,” he said, in his halting manner. “I worked 110% in the gym. I give all the credit in the world to Kelly. He fought a great fight.”
When asked if he thought he won the bout Taylor deflected his answer to a noncommittal, “I just listen to my corner.”
But the former middleweight champion refused to take anything away from Kelly Pavlik.
“I remember when Bernard Hopkins did it after out fight,” he said, referring to Hopkins complaints after losing two decisions to Taylor. “He took some of the glory away. Let him (Pavlik) be happy. The man is the middleweight champion of the world, let him enjoy it.”
As for the wicked body shot in the eleventh round that seemed to seal Taylor’s fate, at least in terms of the scorecards, Taylor agreed that the hook was a telling blow.
“He did catch me with a good body shot in the eleventh round. He did hurt me but you got to keep on fighting. It was a great fight all around. I give it to him.”
At that Lou DiBella chimed in that Taylor will now be a permanent fixture in the super middleweight division.
“Jermain will never fight at the 160 pound division again. I expect Jermain to be a dominant fighter at 168. Jermain’s next fight will be on HBO and somewhere down the line we want another shot at Kelly Pavlik.”
After being introduced by promoter Bob Arum, the always soft-spoken Kelly Pavlik continued the laid back festivities.
“I hope everyone enjoyed it,” he said, his smile belying the purple welts on his bald head and face. “I think we put on a good one.”
As to what Jermain did differently that proved to be so difficult for him to counter Pavlik admitted that Taylor’s movement and unwillingness to lay back on the ropes, as has been his habit in past fights, caused him to alter his attack.
“He slid off the ropes. He didn’t stay in the corner. He was making some good spinouts; I’ve got to give him credit for that. I couldn’t get the body shots going until later. I thought I took the first round and then I’d give him two through six, but after that I thought I was dominant, particularly in the last three rounds. But I have to go back and watch the tape because we’re both working in there, thinking of the next move, so…”
After the press conference when asked about a possible third bout with Taylor, Pavlik nodded and alluded to, perhaps, an eventual rubbermatch at 168. But for now he has business in the 160-pound division. Two opponents seem to be vying for Kelly’s first defense of the middleweight crown, aged Puerto Rican icon Felix Trinidad and relatively untested Irish middleweight John Duddy. Although Duddy seems all but a lock, even Pavlik admitted that a fight with Trinidad in Madison Square Garden would be a huge money event that even the blue collar hero might not be able to turn down. Although, he may have no choice as the WBC and the WBO will demand a mandatory defense by June.
As for the man who has given him everything he could handle for nineteen rounds Pavlik smiled, sighed and said, “I think I’m done with that kid for a while.”