The former undisputed middleweight champion looking to rebound in the Super Six
Jermain Taylor is a popular American boxer, currently campaigning at super middleweight as a member of the Showtime Super Six Tournament. After winning a bronze medal in the Olympics and shocking the world by besting Bernard Hopkins twice to win the middleweight championship, Taylor has faced some setbacks in his career. Here’s a look at his background and major fights to date.
Taylor began boxing at age 13, earning numerous accolades throughout his amateur career. These include winning the 1996 Under-19 Championship. He then won a pair of Police Athletic League (PAL) Championships, National Golden Gloves Titles and finished second and third at the 1997 and 1998 United States Championships respectively. In 2000, Taylor earned a spot on the Olympic boxing team. Competing at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia, Taylor ended up winning the bronze medal.
Early Professional Career:
In December 2000, Taylor signed with boxing promoter Lou DiBella. Pat Burns became Taylor’s trainer as a professional and Ozell Nelson became an assistant. He made his professional boxing debut on January 27, 2001, at Madison Square Garden in New York City against Chris Walsh. Taylor managed to knock Walsh down twice forcing a stoppage with 16 seconds left in the final round. Taylor continued his winning streak through 2002 and 2003.
Taylor’s next bout occurred on June 19, 2004 against former International Boxing Federation (IBF) junior middleweight champion Raúl Márquez. Near the end of the ninth round, Taylor landed a right uppercut that staggered Márquez. Soon after Márquez arrived to his corner, his trainer told the referee to stop the fight, resulting in a technical knockout victory for Taylor. On December 4, 2004, Taylor fought former World Boxing Association (WBA) middleweight champion William Joppy in his hometown of Little Rock.
Taylor landed several punches early in the fight and knocked Joppy down in the fifth round en route to a unanimous decision victory with scores of 120–107 from all three judges. In his next bout, Taylor fought Daniel Edouard on February 19, 2005. In the third round, Taylor landed a 10-punch combination that hurt Edouard to the point that the referee decided to stop the fight.
Fight with Hopkins:
Taylor fought Bernard Hopkins for the undisputed middleweight championship on July 16, 2005. At age 40, Hopkins entered the bout with a record 20 consecutive successful title defenses and had not lost a fight in 12 years. Hopkins entered the boxing match as a 3–2 favorite to win. In round five, a clash of heads opened a cut on the top of Taylor’s head. In the tenth round, Hopkins hurt Taylor with two right hands that caused Taylor’s legs to wobble and forced him to clinch. Taylor won the bout by split decision with two judges scoring the fight 115–113 for Taylor and the other judge scoring it 116–113 for Hopkins. With the victory, Taylor became the new undisputed middleweight champion.
On December 3, 2005, Taylor defeated Hopkins by unanimous decision in a rematch. In a similar situation to the first fight, Hopkins started out slowly and began pressuring Taylor in the later rounds. Hopkins ended the fight with a 101–60 advantage in power punches, while Taylor had success with his jab, outlanding Hopkins 64–29. All three judges scored the bout 115–113 for Taylor.
On June 17, 2006, Taylor fought Winky Wright at the FedEx Forum in Memphis, Tennessee. The WBC had ordered Taylor and Wright to begin negotiating on the fight on December 12, 2005 and if the two sides could not agree, a purse bid would be ordered. An agreement was made 10 minutes before a purse bid was to take place. Taylor received $3.75 million for the fight and Wright made $3.5 million.
The bout was evenly competitive through the first 10 rounds, with Wright winning most of the early rounds before Taylor became more active in the latter part of the fight. By the ninth round, Wright had swelling above both his eyes. Wright was winning the bout going into the final round on two of the judges’ scorecards, but he was generally passive in the round. Two of the three judges gave the round to Taylor, which resulted in a draw. The scores for the fight were 115–113 for Taylor, 115–113 for Wright and 114–114.
Fights with Pavlik:
In his next bout, Taylor fought Kelly Pavlik on September 29, 2007. Pavlik began rising in popularity after an upset victory over Edison Miranda in a middleweight title eliminator to determine the number one contender to fight Taylor. During their amateur careers, Taylor had defeated Pavlik on February 9, 2000 in the opening round of the United States Olympic trials. In the second round of the bout, Taylor landed a right hand and followed-up with several more punches which resulted in the first knockdown of the fight.
Pavlik got up and managed to make it to the end of the round. Entering the seven round, Taylor had a commanding lead on all three judges’ scorecards. With less than a minute remaining in the round, Pavlik landed a right cross that sent Taylor into a corner. Two more left hooks dropped Taylor to the canvas as the referee stepped in to halt the fight. It was the first time Taylor had lost in his professional career and the first time he had ever been knocked down.
One month later, Taylor exercised a rematch clause in his contract with Pavlik. The rematch took place at a weight of 166 pounds. Due to disappointing performances, Emanuel Steward was fired as Taylor’s trainer and replaced with Ozell Nelson. Fighting at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on February 16, 2008, Taylor lost the rematch to Pavlik by unanimous decision.
After the two losses to Pavlik, Taylor moved up to the super middleweight division. On November 15, 2008, Taylor defeated Jeff Lacy to earn a mandatory fight against the winner of a bout between Carl Froch and Jean Pascal for the vacant WBC super middleweight title, a fight that was won by Froch. On April 25, 2009, at the Foxwoods Resort Casino in Ledyard, Connecticut, Taylor fought Carl Froch for the WBC super middleweight title.
In the third round, Taylor knocked Froch down for the first time in his career with a right hand. Dominated through the first nine rounds of the bout, Froch began to stage a comeback by outperforming Taylor in the tenth and eleventh rounds. Entering the final round, Taylor was ahead 106–102 on two of the judges’ scorecards, while Froch was ahead 106–102 on the other. During the round, Froch landed a right hand that sent Taylor to the canvas. He got up, but Froch quickly went after him, trapping him against the ropes and landing several punches before the referee stepped in to stop the bout, earning Froch the technical knockout victory.
Taylor’s current conquest begins on October 17th when stage 1 of the Super-Six Tournament of Champions begins. Taylor will face off against former IBF middleweight champion Arthur Abraham. Despite the fact that this will be Abraham’s first fight at super-middleweight, Taylor will come into the fight as a large but live underdog.
Photo Credit: Team Taylor/DiBella Entertainment