Taylor vs. Pavlik
Undefeated WBC/WBO middleweight champion Jermain Taylor (27-0-1, 17 KOs), will be meeting up with middleweight knockout artist Kelly Pavlik (31-0, 28 KOs) in September 29, 2007, at the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Pavlik, 25, is ranked # 1 in both the WBO and WBC, which made it almost impossible for Taylor, who at first wasn’t excited at the prospect of the fight, not to fight Pavlik. To get to this position, Pavlik destroyed Edison Miranda, perhaps the hardest puncher in the middleweight division, in the 7th round in May 2007. The destruction was so complete that it left no question that Pavllik was the top dog in the division, aside from champion Taylor.
Miranda, however, was badly humiliated, so much so that he moved out of the middleweight division altogether, opting to move up to the super middleweight division (168). Before this, Pavlik had beaten notable fighters like Bronco McKart (July 2006), stopping him in the 6th round – the first time Mckart had been stopped in his career – and knockout artist Fulgencio Zuniga (October 2005), knocking him out in the 9th rounds.
Taylor, however, has had a difficult time in recent years, winning two close decisions over Bernard Hopkins in 2005, a 12-round draw with Winky Wright in June 2006, a 12-round decision over junior middleweight Kassim Ouma in December 2006, and a controversial 12-round split decision victory over Cory Spinks in May 2007, a bout in which many people felt that Spinks had done enough to get the decision.
Clearly, Taylor is going to have his work cut out for him, as he tries to find a way to keep Pavlik out of punching range for the entire fight. It won’t be easy, as Miranda found out. Pavlik will be putting tremendous pressure on Taylor from the opening bell and unless Taylor can meet him with some equally powerful shots, look for Taylor to get stopped inside the distance. There’s only been three fighters that have been able to last the distance with Pavlik during his career, and it’s been three years since anyone has gone the whole bout with him. Even then, it was only a eight-round bout, not enough time for Pavlik to catch up with his fleeing opponent. Taylor, however, hasn’t had a knockout since 2005, which is very telling, as it would seem to indicate that he doesn’t have knockout power as a middleweight.