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Jermain Taylor already looks good enough to beat Chavez Jr., Sturm, Pirog and Geale

Dmitry Pirog Felix Sturm Jermain Taylor Julio Cesar ChavezBy William Mackay: 33-year-old former WBC/WBO middleweight champion Jermain Taylor (29-4-1, 18 KO’s) returned to the ring last night and showed little signs of rust in stopping Jessie Nicklow (22-3-3, 8 KO’s) in the 8th round of a scheduled 10 round bout at the Morongo Casino Resort & Spa in Cabazon, California.

Taylor already looks good enough to dominate the other middleweight champions Felix Sturm, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., Dmitry Pirog and Daniel Geale. I can see Taylor beating all of them without any problems. The only fighter that I would be worried about him facing right now is Sergio Martinez because of his big power. But if Taylor’s chin has recovered from the series of knockouts he suffered in 2007 to 2009, I think he could definitely outbox Martinez. Taylor has better boxing skills and speed than Martinez, and would be a lot of trouble for him.

Taylor hurt his right hand in the 2nd round after nailing Nicklow with a series of looping right hands that had knockout intention on them. Nicklow took the shots but had Taylor not hurt his right hand in that round it’s highly likely that he would have stopped Nicklow in the 3rd or 4th, because Taylor was punching with a lot of power against an easy to hit opponent.

Taylor’s connect percentage of 73%, which is an incredible number for anyone to land, showed how dominant he was in this fight. After the 2nd, Taylor only sparingly used his right hand and controlled the fight with jabs, left hooks and an occasional right. He was still able to load up with right hands from time to time, but most of Taylor’s work came from his left hand.

That was all he needed fortunately. Nicklow constantly came forward leading with his head but didn’t have the power on his shots to really bother Taylor. Had it been a powerful pressure fighter like Arthur Abraham, it might have been a little more interesting. But the way Taylor fought last night, I think he would have easily handled Abraham as well. He looked that good. Taylor lost a point for jabbing Nicklow to the head after the 6th round had ended. Nicklow kind of instigated it by standing there after the round had ended trying to stare Taylor down, but Taylor should have keep his cool instead of tagging the guy. Nicklow’s nose was a bloody mess by the 3rd round and it bled all throughout the fight.

At the end of the 7th round, Taylor landed a huge right hand that clearly stunned Nicklow, as he didn’t look good when he was walking back to his corner when the bell sounded to end the round moments later. In the start of the 8th, Taylor landed two big right hands that backed Nicklow up against the ropes. The referee then jumped in hastily and halted the fight before Taylor could finish Nicklow off. I don’t really have a problem with the stoppage because Nicklow was about to take a real pounding and there was so much time left in the round. Even if Nicklow had been able to make it through the round, he would have been in really bad shape from all the head shots he was absorbing. He was way behind in the fight and didn’t have a prayer in coming back and stopping Taylor because he didn’t have the power.

I have no doubts that Taylor will soon be a world champion in the middleweight division. The hardest part for him is to wait in line to get a title shot. None of the middleweight champions now appear to be risk takers. They all seem to be trying to milk their titles against the weakest opposition possible to try extend their time as champions. I can’t see any of them voluntarily fighting Taylor unless they’re forced to.

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