15.11.05 - By Jim Amato: Jermain Taylor won his first fight with Bernard Hopkins fair and square. Bernard made an error in judgment in starting too slow. He spotted a young and talented Taylor a head start that try as he might, Bernard was unable to make up. It cost the ever proud Hopkins his World's middleweight title. Hopkins is out for revenge and to regain his former glory. Taylor wants to prove that his first win was no fluke and that he is "The Man" at 160 pounds.
As Max Schmeling said in leading up to his first fight with the great Joe Louis, "I see something." I too saw some things that unfolded as the first Taylor- Hopkins bout moved in to the middle and late rounds. I saw the things I needed to see to feel that Bernard has a very, very good chance of regaining his crown.
First of all, I feel that more then ever Bernard is confident he take the best Taylor has to offer. I'm not quite so sure that Taylor can. He was stunned on more then one occasion during the "championship" rounds. Taylor also slowed down a bit and Bernard was clearly outworking the challenger.
In this rematch, I look for Bernard to start quickly and set the pace. Taylor will try to hang with Bernard and I see the first six rounds being contested on a fairly even basis. Then I see Taylor trying to surge ahead but by the end of the tenth, Bernard will have closed the gap.
It will be almost even entering the last two rounds. This is where I see Bernard forcing the action and getting the best of Jermain. Hopkins will force Taylor on the defensive and Bernard's aggression and work rate will push him ahead on the scoring.He may even stop Jermain.