Thursday, December 08, 2005

Taylor ekes out decision win over Hopkins

LAS VEGAS --- Jermain Taylor, 24-0 (17 KOs) Little Rock, 159, won a razor-thin 12 round decision over Bernard Hopkins, 46-3-1 (32 KOs), Philadelphia, 160 in Las Vegas Saturday night, to retain the undisputed middleweight championship of the world.

In a bout that had drama leading up to the opening bell, there was little to cheer about as the pair of counter-punchers rarely engaged in spirited exchanges and left no one with the belief that one man was the dominant figure.

Just as in the first meeting between the two, the first part of the fight belonged to Taylor despite a clear intent by Hopkins to press the action.

Taylor swept the first 4 rounds working behind a much more effective jab than was in evidence in July.

Unlike the first fight, however, Hopkins captured round 5 – indicating a much earlier start than the first go-round. Taylor squeaked past Hopkins again in round six.

Rounds 7 through 10 saw an invigorated and cagey Hopkins making the champion miss and effectively countering, though rarely with combinations.

The key round in the fight for the judges was round 11. Taylor took the round on all cards, scoring solid combinations and appearing to stun the ex-champion.

Round 12 was all Hopkins as Taylor appeared spent and intent on lasting the round. Hopkins was able to throw and land enough single punches to make Taylor repeatedly clinch without returning fire.

Scoring at ringside: Chuck Giampa, 115-113; Patricia Jarmon 115-113; and Dave Moretti 115-113 all for Taylor. JEBoxing scored the match 114-114.

Hopkins, the 40 year-old grandmaster of the sport, entered the ring fully vested in the belief that this bout did not represent redemption so much as rectification. He clearly thought, and will forever believe, that he won in July.

Such is the way for a long-term champion – a champion who labored through 20 successful title defenses, multiple management problems, and a cast of promoters. He seemed to hold to a view that anything short of a devastating knockout was insufficient grounds to remove his crown.

Despite his unparalleled training ethic and a body, even the four-decade old version, that appeared impervious to the ravages of time, it was clear – to some at least – that the other grandmaster, Father Time, was starting to pull ahead.

Hopkins and a great many boxing observers were reluctant to admit what will likely appear in retrospect as obvious. Letting go of a legendary fighter’s status is tough to do.

At the truly elite level of boxing, perhaps more so than in any other major sport, the slightest slippage in skills, reflex, execution or speed is the difference between champions and former champions. Even the tremendous advantage of experience begins fade.

Taylor, it appeared on the night of their meeting in July, lacked only the experience of a multi-defense champion. His physical powers – speed, combination punching, chin etc… combined to overcome the ever so slightly diminished Hopkins. It was the disparity that explains why 40 year-old men so rarely hold boxing championships.

On this December night, Hopkins may have slipped but he certainly retained his competitiveness throughout.

Young Jermain Taylor is now a champion who may move out from the shadow of the great ex-champion but still must prove himself as worthy a champion – a champion for the ages like Bernard Hopkins.

***********////

Israel Vasquez, 38-3 (27 KOs), Mexico, 121, stopped Oscar Larios, 56-3-1 (36 KOs), Mexico, 120 ½, due to a massive cut in the third round to add the WBC 122 pound title to his IBF belt. Vasquez knocked down Larios early in the first round but the rangy Larios recovered quickly. In round two, Larios boxed and moved perhaps edging out Vasquez to win the round. Round three was more of the same until a right hand by Vasquez ripped a gash above the left eye of Larios. Referee Tony Weeks, acting on the advice of a ringside physician elected to the stop the bout immediately. The end came at 2:52 of the round.

***********////

Ike Quartey, 36-2-1 (30 KOs), Ghana, 155, scored a 10th round stoppage over willing Carlos Bojorquez, 25-7-6 (21 KOs), Mira Loma, Calif., 157, in a featured undercard bout.

In this, his third fight this year that followed a more than four-year layoff Quartey figured to use this fighting as a conditioning venture and it served the purpose well.

Each round resembling the one before it with Quartey peppering Bojorquez as if hitting the heavy bag. Although Quartey allowed himself to be pushed to the ropes on occasion, at no time did it appear Bojorquez was in the fight. Indeed he appeared at times to be punching as if underwater.

In round ten, referee Joe Cortez saw enough at 2:12, stopping the bout following repetitive sharp punches from the former welterweight champion to the head and body of Bojorquez.

JEBoxing had the bout scored 90-81 through nine rounds.

The comebacking Quartey scored a significant win in June over former belt holder, and highly ranked, Verno Phillips.

4 Comments:

Anonymous the cruiserweight said...

Excellent read JE.I had it a draw as well.Again.You make the excellent point/observation of the '40 factor'.Some say that wasn't of any consequence or a factor at all.And while (visually) it wasn't an obvious tell-tale 'handicap',I will say this;It was ultimately the main difference between Hopkins WINNING a very close decision,and LOSING one...

1:52 AM  
Anonymous the cruiserweight said...

BTW-As someone who has been hollering that Winky Wright has been VASTLY underrated throughout the years,and has repeatedly won a small fortune off of him at the betting window,and interesting irony struck me a few months back.I now think Winky-esp. at the age of 34-may be SLIGHTLY overrated! I do NOT think he is the world's absolute best middleweight in the world.Should he and Taylor fight in 2006,I would lean towards the younger,bigger,faster,and harder-punching Little Rock native.I-unlike many-don't think that is the best 'style match-up' for WINKY! I would also give Abraham,Sturm,and even Pavlik (haven't seen him much) a fair chance to beat him as well at this point!

P.S-I would expect Taylor to move up to 168 sometime in 2006 or 2007.Pavlik as well.

2:00 AM  
Blogger JE Boxing said...

I think the two would never have a "good" fight between them. Taylor will shine against much of today's opposition.

1:38 PM  
Anonymous the cruiserweight said...

I couldn't agree more JE.I think Taylor-although still not very 'refined'-has gotten a bit of a bum rap as of late.I think that he is definetly the world's best middleweight at this time.

3:02 PM  

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