Boxing


Jermain Taylor fails the Litmus Test…Again!

Jermain TaylorBy Coach Tim Walker – It was only a short time ago that I contributed an article to Eastsideboxing.com titled “Jermain Taylor: World Class, Sure, All-Time Great, Not Quite.” The purpose of the piece was not to bash Taylor but to point out that though he is one of the world’s best boxers there seems to be something missing from his arsenal. He maintains a sensational amateur pedigree, a charismatic personality and appears to be an excellent representative of the sport and his family. Still something is not there.

I am never one to kick a man when he is down. I thought highly of Taylor before his fight with Froch and still think highly of him. However, my focal point of the previous article was the glaring problem that Taylor failed to make us really care about his success or failure as a fighter. This is even more evident now being shortly on the heels of his twelfth round TKO loss to Carl Froch. Don’t misunderstand, Taylor fought excellently as did Froch. This was a back and forth bout and if Taylor could have lasted 20 more seconds he would have been on the top side of a split decision win. Still, you must appreciate that Taylor has gone from being the “inevitable heir apparent” to the boxing throne to nearly an “also ran” in only a few bouts. Where is the overwhelming outcry from fans supporting him or even demanding a rematch? I haven’t seen it.

Since beating Bernard Hopkins he is 3-3-1 with wins coming against two smaller fighters and highly touted but less talented fighter: Corey Spinks, Kasim Ouma and Jeff Lacy.

Boxing is considered a science and an art. It is the science of proper technique. It is the art of hitting without being hit. But let’s not delude ourselves into thinking it is only that. I once asked a ref to stop a fight that an opposing fighter was losing badly. The ref genuinely reminded me, “Coach this is boxing. This is the business of hurt.” He was right to remind me of that fact. Boxing is a hurt business and it is difficult to remain at the top if you have a hard time willingly and intentionally hurting your opponent. Taylor comes across as a really nice guy who lacks at least some of that true killer instinct that most long term champions possess.

When I watch Taylor it feels as though he is still in the midst of a learning curve. Not a learning curve in the science of boxing or art of the sport but the brutality that is often needed to totally and utterly dominate a division. We don’t like to hear boxers talk about it but we expect it. We expect hooks, crosses and upper cuts to be thrown with the worst intentions. Maybe it isn't necessary for every boxer to be in possession of Tyson-like power but you must still hit your opponent with the worst intentions. Taylor seems to hit more to keep his opponent away. He isn’t hitting with BAD INTENTIONS (pun intended).

To finish the article I am going to revisit the idea of my last article.

Taylor has not done as much as we would like. He valiantly faced Carl Froch and came up short. To the true fans our supermen of the boxing are not scaled in wins and losses rather in effort and labor for the sport. More apparent than ever, Taylor’s legacy, if any, is attached to Froch, and sadly dependent on Froch’s accomplishments. For Taylor’s part he is the guy that beat Bernard Hopkins, the guy who lost to Kelly Pavlik, the guy who beat a not quite ready Daniel Edouard, the guy who fought Winky Wright to a draw, and now the fighter who lost via twelfth round TKO to Carl Froch. He is forever a cross-reference in those fighter’s careers and now quite possibly relegated to a footnote position to the sport itself.

Article posted on 29.04.2009



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