Pavlik Defeats Taylor. Trinidad Next?
Amidst a chorus of boos in disagreement from many of the 11,200 in attendance when the decision was finally announced, Kelly Pavlik defeated Jermain Taylor once again in front of a heavily pro-Pavlik crowd at the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas NV.
It wasn’t that Kelly Pavlik did anything but be the usual Kelly Pavlik to earn the decision. It was Jermain Taylor not doing quite enough in front of the judges to defeat the fighter known as The Ghost. Although Taylor landed the cleaner punches throughout the 12 round war and seemed to have just about everything going according to plan, it was simply not enough to overcome the aggressive stalking and thudding blows of Pavlik who walked away with his “0” still intact. Pavlik defeated Taylor by unanimous decision (117-111, 115-113, 116-112) with 12 rounds of ruthless aggression en route to his second victory over a very game – and decisively more impressive – Jermain Taylor.
Many predicted that the second meeting between Taylor and Pavlik would never go the distance after the war waged less than five months ago found Pavlik brutally dispatching of Taylor in the seventh round of their highly touted matchup. Many were wrong.
Although there were no knockdowns, Taylor/Pavlik II did not disappoint. The ebb and flow of this second meeting keep the crowd on its feet throughout. While Taylor seemed to be more economical with his punches, Pavlik choose to continuously come forward and stalk Taylor and seemed to win over the judges with his methodical approach. The fans were more difficult to win over however as many booed the unanimous decision.
It would be the first time Pavlik went more than nine rounds in his professional career but he looked extremely good going the distance with Taylor.
“It felt good (going past nine rounds) for the first time,” a bumped and bruised Pavlik said during the post fight press conference. “There was definite satisfaction for me and a great learning experience.”
Although the decision was unanimous, many at ringside thought the fight was close coming into the 12th round.
“I never know if I’m winning or losing,” a dejected Taylor stated after the fight. “My corner thought it was a close fight.”
To the naked eye, it definitely was. Taylor stuck Pavlik continuously with the jab and snapped the 160 pound champion’s head back. Taylor also did a fantastic job coming over Pavlik‘s jab with a looping right hand that drew oohs from the crowd. But it was Pavlik‘s methodical approach and significant power that seemed to eventually wear Taylor out.
Neither fighter was in serious danger but Taylor admitted to being hurt by a body punch in the 11th round. Regardless, Taylor and his corner felt that the Little Rock native fought a great fight.
“He fought an intelligent fight, he fought the right fight but he didn’t get the win according to the judges,” Taylor‘s promoter Lou Dibella stated at the post fight press conference.
“I’m not the one to get up here to say I won the fight. It was a great fight,” Taylor stated as he showed good sportsmanship after the fight. “It just didn’t go my way.”
But with Taylor being beaten twice by Pavlik, where exactly does he go from here?
“I don’t know…I’m going to take my ass home and go fishing,” Taylor said.
Dibella did allude to Taylor fighting at 168 against somebody like Jeff Lacy, but wouldn’t reveal the former middleweight champion’s plans.
As for Pavlik, the middleweight champion seems destined to return to 160 to defend his crown against either Irishman John Duddy or Puerto Rico’s Felix Trinidad on June 7th at MSG in New York. Make no mistake, Pavlik seemed comfortable fighting for the first time at 164. However, those belts that he earned, he intends to keep for as long as he can make weight.
“It took a long time to get the belts,” Pavlik stated. “We’ll see how far we can go to keep fighting at that weight. If it starts becoming dangerous to make weight we’ll move up.”
John Duddy seems to be the most logical opponent for Pavlik but Bob Arum recently tossed Felix Trinidad‘s name in the hat. But a question that arose is if Trinidad would be sanctioned for a title fight even though he hasn’t won in the past few years. Arum dismissed that notion.
“The more intriguing question is if Tito can get down to 160,” Arum stated.
The prospect of a third fight still looms but may not happen in the near future because of Pavlik‘s choice to go back to 160 while Taylor will fight at 168.
“I’ll fight him any time, any day,” Taylor stated.
On the undercards…
Ronald Hearns looked good but nothing overwhelming when dispatching of Justin Astorga with an 8th round KO. Hearns had Astorga hurt multiple times in the fight but couldn’t seem to close the show and let Astorga hang around for a little too long. Tommy better show his son how to close the show like his legendary father.
Christian Mijares defeated Jose Navarro in an action packed 12 round fight to retain his WBC Jr Bantamweight title. Although most a ringside could see the fight going either way, the judges must have been watching three different fights as each had a totally different scorecard. One had it 115-113 for Mijares but another had a 120 – 108 shutout for Navarro. A shutout? The third judge had it 117 – 111 for Mijares to give him the win. Everyone at ringside got a kick out of the scorecards as they were handed out.
Fernando Montiel severely outclassed Martin Castillo as he knocked him out in the fourth round to retain his Super Flyweight title.
Pictures by Anthony Springer Jr.