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Taylor blasts through Rios, Campbell outpoints Attah

Jan 11, 2004: Ringside Report by Alex Pierpaoli ( Photos © Brendon Pierpaoli )

Dubbed the Prospect of the year for 2003 by most boxing writers, Jermain Taylor has a lot to live up to. On Friday night at Mohegan Sun in Connecticut, Taylor took another step along the road to becoming a top one hundred sixty pounder. In a bout scheduled for ten rounds, Taylor stopped Alex Rios with a clubbing right hand high on the head which scored him a TKO at :54 seconds of the first.

Taylor entered the ring with a glaze of sweat and seemed focused and loose for the bout. When Rios took off his robe he revealed a soft and pudgy torso, indicative of the nearly eighteen month layoff since his last fight.

The fighters met at ring center for Referee Richard Flaherty’s instructions Taylor’s face was chiseled stone and when the bell sounded there was no amateurish gesture of goodwill when fighters extend a glove to each other before the fight begins. Taylor has worked the gesture from his system and his m.o. is now one of whistling double and triple jabs and hard body punches.

Taylor’s first punch landed was a grazing left hook which knocked Rios off balance and it was immediately apparent this bout wasn’t going to last long. Taylor pursued the retreating journeyman and after a flurry of several hard body shots Taylor stepped forward behind a jab-right hand: the right hand was a chopping, hooking shot which landed at the top of Rios head. At the instant it connected the right leg of Rios went dead and he crumbled in the corner.

Without a count the bout was waved off so that medical personnel could make their way into the ring. Taylor suffered a few tense moments worried about Rios until he saw that Rios was able to rise and sit on a stool brought from ringside.

Taylor said later he had “wanted a little work” in the fight but had to settle for the quick kayo. “When you go in there and you wanna work you get a knockout… (my plan was) work the body early and go up to the top later, but it came early.”

Promoter Lou DiBella said Taylor had completed his last fight with ESPN after the win and that when next Taylor fights it will be on pay-cable giant HBO. Derrel Coley is expected to be Taylor’s next opponent though the brash Arkansas native said he would take any opponent available. DiBella tempered Taylor’s willingness to fight all-comers with some promotional wisdom. “It’s his job to think he can fight anybody right now. It’s our job to slow him down.”

In the televised co-feature, fans got to enjoy the most competitive bought of the night when Daniel Attah gave a courageous effort against top 130 pounder Nate “The Galaxy Warrior” Campbell. Campbell won a lopsided unanimous decision with the benefit of two questionable knockdowns in rounds one and two. Scores were 116-108, 116-109, 117-107 and the Doghouse card was: 116-109.

Attah pressed the fight in the middle rounds after Campbell had come on hard with lots of straight punches and pressure in the first few frames. When Attah was able to press his way forward into Campbell’s chest he was able to control the inside fighting and score points. By round seven Attah had just about evened the fight on the scorecards after losing the extra points for the official knockdowns. In what was the bout’s best round Referee Mike Ortega took a point from Attah for excessive holding. Unhappy to lose the edge on the cards Daniel Attah picked up the pace and the fighters banged away at the end of the seventh.

Campbell, who tired under the pressure of Casamayor’s late round rally in their fight last year, picked up the pace on this night and swept the last half of the fight to secure the win. Afterwards Campbell said he wasn’t worried about Attah’s rally in the middle of the fight. “I’ve always been a late round fighter,” said Campbell.

As many fight cards develop a similar pattern for the night, on Friday at Mohegan Sun, that pattern or plotline was the early knockout. The first bout of the night was a quick one that set the tone for the evening. Heavyweight Sergei Liakhovich stopped Ron Guerrero by first round TKO and improved his record to 20-1 (14kos) while Guerrero drops to 16-9-3 (11kos).

Undefeated junior middle Sechew Powell ran his record to 10-0 (7kos) after a first round TKO over overmatched James Johnson, 14-9-2 (8kos).

Aneudi Santos finished Johnny Taylor in less than three minutes with a right hand to the belly. Santos goes to 10-0 (7kos) and Taylor falls to 4-3 (1ko).

In other action, New Haven’s Elvin Ayala added a 4 round unanimous decision victory to his record, now 3-0 (1ko). His opponent, Keith Sonley of Canada, falls to 4-9-5 (1ko). Ayala’s short ripping uppercuts and a big round three secured the win for the southern New England prospect.

Ireland’s transplanted native, John Duddy, who fights out of Queens, was the crowd favorite on the night. Soccer songs and wild cheers for the middleweight helped encourage him to wing punches with bad intentions at the rugged Ken Hock for 4 one-sided rounds until Ref. Richard Flaherty rescued Hock from further punishment.

Alex Pierpaoli has been obsessed with the Sweet Science for the past 18 years and is both a fan and a writer. He has a degree in English from the University of Maine. Send comments or questions to:

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