Options For Taylor In 2009

By Boxing News - 12/31/2008 - Comments

taylor454By Jim Dower: After two consecutive losses to Kelly Pavlik, former WBC/WBO middleweight champion Jermain Taylor (28-2-1, 17 KOs) appears to be once again fighting well having moved up to the super middleweight division where he recently defeated Jeff Lacy by a 12-round unanimous decision in a WBC Super Middleweight Title Eliminator in November. At the new 168 pound weight class, Taylor looked good, not showing signs of endurance problems that have affected him in recent years in fights against Cory Spinks, Kelly Pavlik and Kassim Ouma.

Looking ahead to 2009, Taylor, only 30, has a lot of different options available to him starting with fighting for the WBC title.

Andre Dirrell – As of now, former 2004 Olympian Andre Dirrell (17-0, 12 KOs) is ranked #2 in the WBC, making him likely who Taylor would have to fight for the vacant WBC title. That would a very tough fight for Taylor, as Dirrell has a lot of hand speed, perhaps as much as Taylor fights from a southpaw stance and is a classic counter puncher similar to Spinks. Only 26, Dirrell is younger than Taylor by four years, and appears to have excellent power. On the plus side for Taylor, is that Dirrell as of yet hasn’t fought any talented opposition and would be making a big step up in class if he were to fight Taylor. Since having a poor performance against Curtis Stevens in June 2007, a fight in which Dirrell looked overly cautious in winning a 10-round unanimous decision; Dirrell has looked impressive in winning his last five fights. The wins over Victor Oganov and Anthony Hanshaw, both knockout victories, were particularly impressive for Dirrell. Taylor would have his hands full with this guy.

Carl Froch – Ranked #6 in the WBO, the unbeaten Froch (24-0, 19 KOs) would be tough match-up for Taylor, because not only is Froch tall and with a lot of power, he has a pressure style of fighting that is quite similar to Pavlik. Froch doesn’t let up on his opponents, making them either stand and trade or try to run from him. I doubt that Taylor would be able to box for a full 12 rounds against Froch, as eventually Taylor would tire out and be forced to trade shots. With the kind of power and pressure that Froch brings to the table, the fight would likely turn into a big dog fight with the fighter with the better chin coming out on top.

Winky Wright – It’s been well over a year since Wright (51-4, 25 KOs) last fought, but it looks as if he’s going to start being more active in 2009, with a bout scheduled against Paul Williams in March for the interim WBO light middleweight title. Taylor previously fought Wright once before, fighting him to a 12-round draw in June 2006. It looked as if Taylor had won the fight; however, based on his harder shots, better combinations and superior work in the last two rounds. However, there was never a rematch, though Taylor said that he was open to fighting Wright again. Wright, 37, probably won’t be quite as sharp as he was in 2006, especially with the long time away from the ring, but it would likely still be an excellent fight for Taylor and one that would sell well.

Comments are closed.