Boxing


Is Jermain Taylor’s Time Ticking?

jermain taylor24.05.07 - By Taj “Yuma” Eubanks: Last Saturday’s middleweight championship bout between the universally-recognized middleweight kingpin Jermain Taylor and the recognized junior middleweight champ Corey Spinks on HBO’s World Championship Boxing did little to convince an increasingly uncaring public of boxing’s well-being. In fact, judging by the chorus of boos that erupted with disturbing frequency from the sparsely populated arena, one would think that boxing barely had a pulse.

Not only did the main event fail to entertain, but also it paled in comparison to the blitzkrieg that was the co-main event. In fact, one would think that the explosion that was Edison Miranda-Kelly Pavlik was the event that people came to see. The boxing world knew beforehand that the Taylor-Spinks affair had the makings of a snooze-fest, so our collective anticipations turned (and rightfully so) to the head-to-head between the division’s top-ranked contenders.

Miranda, the stone-fisted wunderkind whose ascent from the streets of Colombia to the precipice of the sport had prompted many, including former undisputed middleweight champion and current light-heavyweight boss Bernard Hopkins, to christen him the heir-apparent and future of the division, despite the fact that Jermain Taylor is supposed to be all of these things and more.

These foregone conclusions apparently were not lost on Miranda, who spent his turn at the podium during the final presser taunting Taylor for feasting on smaller men during his three previous bouts and daring him to step up to the plate and face the wrath of Miranda.

While engaged in his war of words, however, the Colombian highlight reel apparently forgot that the man he was to face in a fortnight was no slouch. Kelly Pavlik, an undefeated contender from Youngstown, Ohio, has built up a devoted following being a crafty boxer with respectable power. When the bout began, he fought with an intensity that suggested that he was out to punish Miranda for the crucial error of looking past him. And punish him he did.

From the opening stanza, which featured bombs being thrown with abandon by both combatants, to the critical sixth round in which Pavlik’s technician-like skills had Miranda out on his feet, it was clear that not only was someone going to get knocked out, but that that someone was most likely going to be Edison Miranda. From the outset, Miranda eschewed defense in lieu of offense and found himself increasingly tagged by the right hand of Pavlik. Once it became clear that Pavlik possessed a chin of granite, Miranda went into survival mode and seemed to hang his hopes on landing one big shot. This was not to be, however, as referee Steve Smoger wisely halted the contest in the seventh, one round longer than many felt it should have continued.

Pavlik was gracious afterwards, and stated that he would like a shot at Taylor next and if not, then whoever steps up to the plate. Good thing that we had a tasty appetizer because the entrée was horrible. While Spinks bears the brunt of the blame for donning his track shoes and doing the 100-meter dash all night, Taylor also shoulders considerable blame for not letting his hands go. Despite the continued pleading by Emmanuel Steward for Taylor to impose his will on the smaller man, it seems as if Taylor had no inclination to kick it into fifth gear, which suggests terrible judgment on his part at best and, at worst, an inability to reach that level of necessary intensity. Spinks (heaven only knows why) jumped in jubilation at the conclusion of the match as if he had painted a masterpiece. While the cards revealed a split decision in favor of Taylor, the opinion of the boxing’s long-suffering faithful was unanimous: Jermain Taylor had better refine his craft and fast because if he ever is put inside the squared circle with Kelly Pavlik, he doesn’t stand a Ghost of a chance.

Article posted on 24.05.2007



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