23.10.07 - By Nathan King: Donít jump the gun when you read the title of this article. No news has been released about a rematch between these two combatants. Kelly Pavlik is pretty much set to face John Duddy on January 26th in Atlantic City, unless former champion Jermain Taylor exercises his right to a rematch by October 29th.
Article posted on 23.10.2007
Either way, a Taylor-Pavlik rematch is inevitable, whether they fight each other in their next bout or have a fight in between (the latter much more likely). It is important to analyze what went on during the fight and evaluate what adjustments could be made in the rematch.
On September 29th, Pavlik became the new middleweight boxing champion of the world via seventh round knockout. The bout became an instant candidate for fight of the year, as it was expected to be in the pre-fight buildup. Taylor came out after the opening bell showing a pleasant sign of aggression firing an overhand right as soon as Pavlik was in range. The second round came, and after a devastating combination, Pavlik goes down, and it looked, for the time being, that Taylor would erase all doubt (he more than proved the critics wrong, even in defeat). Pavlik recovered however, and eventually put Taylor out of commission with a freakish display of power in the seventh round.
Itís clear now that Pavlik is the real deal and deserved his win, and it is also evident that Taylor has some kinks he needs to work out. Pavlik executed his game plan to perfection. He survived the early onslaught and began to wear his man down which would ultimately tell the tale. Pavlik wanted to impose himself on Taylor. He wanted to back Taylor up and trade punches with him. Pavlikís trainer, Jack Leow, and himself, both believe that no middleweight in the world can keep Pavlik off of them for twelve rounds. On September 29th, Pavlik proved that to be true. If Edison Miranda and Jermain Taylor couldnít keep Pavlik at bay, then no one can. He got Taylor to stay in front of him and trade. Meanwhile, during the trading, Taylor was against the ropes giving Pavlik the better position and giving him better leverage.
Taylor, however, couldíve made it a little harder. Number one adjustment for Taylor: KEEP YOUR LEFT HAND UP. Taylor was open for that right hand all night. If you have your guard down, you better be able to roll with the punches, ala Floyd Mayweather. Taylor keeps his guard down, but he does not roll with the punches. He stood in front of Pavlik. He needs to use his jab and box a little more. We all know Taylor can punch. He can stand toe to toe, but not against Pavlik. He tried to box with Cory Spinks and slug it out with Pavlik, both equally incorrect. It almost seems that Taylor is struggling to find his identity in the ring. You get the feeling that he continues to fight the other personís fight. Taylor has perhaps the best combination of speed and power in that general weight group, and he has a great jab. Those two things right there could be so helpful in the rematch if used right.
Overall, Taylor needs to box better, work on his defense, fight with confidence, and just fight a smarter fight. Iím not taking anything away from Pavlik. He did his job. He won the title, and no one can take that away from him. I think one of the two things will be revealed in the rematch: Taylor will learn from his mistakes and prove himself, or itís possible that Pavlik just has his number. Taylor has the ability to turn it around and win the rematch. Whether or not he will, can only be determined come fight time.
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