Doghouse Boxing fight picks for Hopkins vs Taylor and Larios vs McCullough
Compiled by Anthony Cocks, Site Editor (July 15, 2005)
The shape of the middleweight landscape will be decided on Saturday night when Bernard Hopkins defends his undisputed championship against highly touted contender Jermain Taylor live on HBO pay-per-view from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada. In a rematch of their fiercely contested first fight Oscar Larios also defends his WBC super bantamweight crown against Wayne McCullough in a battle of the punching machines. Read on to find out who the Doghouse Boxing scribes believe will win and why…
Bernard Hopkins versus Jermain Taylor
Aaron Imholte: Bernard Hopkins will outfox, outbox, and outclass Jermain Taylor en route to a lopsided 12 round unanimous decision.
Rob Scott: I know it's been said before, but it could just come down to Hopkins getting old over night. That may be Taylor's chance to get the win. That is the only way I give Taylor a chance. I do see a lot of potential in Taylor, but him being the heir isn't so apparent. Raul Marquez and William Joppy aren't going to be enough to prepare Taylor for an on point Hopkins. Even with a misstep, Hopkins wins. Hopkins unanimous decision/possible late round stoppage.
Coyote Duran: In light of my totally blowing my Gatti pick, I'm picking what I feel is my safe pick (which would've been my regular pick anyway). I'm going to go with my favorite middleweight of this day and age, Bernard Hopkins, to turn away Jermain Taylor's challenge by taking away the younger man's ability to engage on the inside. This, however, is not the time to grow old overnight for Hopkins because if Taylor gets his superb jab in motion, ‘The Executioner’ will have problems. Long story short, Taylor will do his best to make the fight exciting but Hopkins craftiness and ring generalship will win the day with a split decision. On the other hand, Taylor's stock could very much rise with a spirited loss.
Spud Woollatt: Could this be the “BIG” weekend of shocks? We all do it as fight fans, that is take results of fights for granted. In this case most of us will saying "It is Bernard Hopkins, come on be serious he can't lose!!!"... Have any of us seriously looked at the impressive record and credentials of Jermain Taylor??
Sure, Bernard has sealed his status of being one of the greatest fighters of all time, if you disagree with that, he is certainly one of the top pound for pound boxers in world boxing. However, what I am saying to you readers is every "dog has its day". Bernard Hopkins is now 40 years old; sometime, someday he has to slow up, one day he has to have a "bad day at the office"... will it be this weekend?
Taylor has the reach advantage, he has an impressive range of punches and more importantly he feels he has served his apprenticeship as the "heir apparent" to Hopkins throne for long enough... the question for him is, is he taking on Bernard Hopkins at the right time.
I feel this fight is not going to be as straight forward as some people think; whatever is going to happen it will be very close on the judges scorecards. Despite all what I have said above you really have to side with Bernard Hopkins to take a decision, but it is going to be close, very, very close indeed. It would not surprise me at all if Jermain Taylor emerges as the victor perhaps on a split decision.
Alex Pierpaoli: HBO PPV's second mismatch of the summer ends with an impressive win for the old man. Hopkins by late round stoppage.
Luke Dodemaide: Bad fight for Bernard, he's already committed to not fighting any further into his forties beyond this year and if he was looking for a nice easy stroll into the sunset of retirement, he obviously got on the wrong horse because I'm forecasting a very bumpy and bruising ride. No other fighter keeps proving people wrong at forty, and in this case he can forever silence the argument against him that he picks on smaller blown up welterweights (Trinidad and De La Hoya) and has never proved himself against a strong middleweight force, something Jermain Taylor definitely is.
If Hopkins wins this fight he not only stamps his authority on this era, but in beating Taylor, he stamps it on the next as well.
I think Taylor's jab is made to keep an inside fighter at Hopkins at bay, and this very jab and it's effectiveness I believe is the key to this fight. In his last few fights Hopkins has made it a habit of fighting smaller fighters looking to work on the inside, somewhere Taylor may have next to no intention of doing, which I think will unsettle Bernard greatly. Hopkins is going to have to employ slightly different strategies through this and as an old dog in the game, he better hope those wheels haven't got any rust to prevent them turning another way. It's the young hungry lion up against the lion king and in this situation I just have to go against the grain and go with youth in this match up. Father Time has been watching Bernard from the sidelines for too long, I think now is the time for him to come in to play.
Taylor is the real deal, and if you don't know it now you will by Sunday morning.
Scott Mallon: The eyes of Hopkins are much bigger than his appetite and as is the case with most aging fighters, he thinks he's different. He thinks he can beat father time and that his age doesn't matter. Nobody and I mean nobody ever defeats father time. Hopkins has always found a way to win though and in the past ten years hasn't lost more than a round or two in any of his fights. Jermain Taylor is heading down the learning fast track in this bout and although Bernard may think otherwise, youth does have its advantages. Taylor is not only younger but stronger and faster and most importantly he's skilled.
I see one of two things happening in this bout. Bernard will either befuddle Taylor, nullifying his offense and taking a decision or Taylor will keep Hopkins working the entire fight and the old man will look to grab and clinch and slow the fight down. Taylor is too good, too strong and too fast for Hopkins to nullify his offense. Hopkins has dictated the pace of his last few fights, however in this case, Taylor is not going to allow this. Taylor by a surprisingly easy and decisive, unanimous decision.
Jason Petock: I'm going to go with Hopkins over Taylor because I feel that the seasoned pro has only further established his reign in the last couple of years as the official King of the Middleweight division and is always prepared to fight no matter who his opponent is. On this outing Hopkins will be even that much more prepared so that the younger Taylor can't catch the old pro slipping and try to take his crown. Hopkins has always been a smart ring tactician and unless Taylor catches him early I'm going to say Hopkins by decision. He has too much experience and is just too smart and skilled to let Taylor walk over him.
Sean Newman: Despite Hopkins' brilliance and Taylor's inexperience, this is an intriguing and very difficult fight to call. On one hand, you have Hopkins, who has shown few, if any, chinks in his armor in the last few years. However, he didn't seem to be quite the same ‘Executioner’ against Howard Eastman and Oscar De La Hoya, so the question must be asked if age is finally catching up to him. On the other hand, Taylor has that excellent jab and decent enough power, but has fought no one even approaching Hopkins' level of excellence. Taylor is hungry, and he may eventually develop into the dominant champion that Hopkins is, but I think this is going to be a little too much, too soon for him. Hopkins by close decision.
Martin Wade: I know I shouldn't go against Hopkins in this one *laughing* but I will. Hopkins has everything on his side but time and nature. His insistence on proving a point with a bigger, stronger, younger opponent will be his demise. Taylor ain’t no Joppy, and it's easy to look perpetually young against guys who are also in their thirties. We'll wait for Bernard’s experience to take over but it won’t happen. Taylor by UD.
Benny Henderson Jr.: In my opinion it all comes down to this, if Taylor can pressure Bernard into a brawl he has a solid chance at winning this bout. Age does catch up with you eventually but I can see B-Hop using his experience and out boxing Jermain for twelve rounds by just picking at him keeping his distance.
Julian Kasdin: Hopkins to beat Taylor, too much experience, and power that Taylor has never tasted before.
Anthony Cocks: Taylor is going to have to press the action from the get-go and force Hopkins to fight the full three minutes of every round if he is to have a chance of winning this fight. But even if Taylor takes Hopkins out of his comfort zone early his defensive flaws will give the wily old champ ample opportunity to land his own sneaky shots. I expect the first six rounds to be close before the Old Man starts to assert his authority on Taylor in the back half of the fight. Hopkins by close decision or late stoppage.
Oscar Larios versus Wayne McCullough
Rob Scott: Even though he is a former world champion, McCullough hasn't been having the luck of the Irish when it has come to acquiring titles anymore. Five more attempts at a title has ended with him empty handed. He'll put on a spirited performance and won't be knocked out, but his luck will remain the same. Larios by decision.
Coyote Duran: The ‘Pocket Rocket’ is going into this fight like this is his absolute, last chance and he may be right. Fighting in Vegas can make him a sentimental favorite and could very possibly influence how the judges watch Wayne McCullough handle Oscar Larios on Saturday night. With the outcome of their last outing still fresh in his mind, you can count that McCullough will go above and beyond to insure his win but ‘Chololo’ won't go that easily. For me? McCullough wins via majority decision in an action-packed rematch to capture Larios' very well-defended WBC title.
Spud Woollatt: In the other fight, Wayne McCullough has another stab at glory. He will attempt to snatch away Oscar Larios's Super Bantamweight title. Many people thought Wayne had done enough to win the first fight. Personally, I had Oscar winning the fight in a very close decision indeed, you could have possibly put up an argument for the fight being a draw. I feel with Wayne time has caught him up. He is a supremely accomplished boxer who for me is the one of the most courageous fighters Great Britain has ever produced. But, I do not feel Oscar Larios will take this fight for granted, certainly not this time around. In yet another very close fight, simply based on Oscar being the younger and hungrier fighter I have to say he will win the fight on a unanimous decision on the judges scorecards ... You will not believe how wrong I want to be on this one, Wayne and his wife Cheryl are fantastic people, Wayne has done himself proud would it be great if Great Britain had another World Title holder of a recognised belt?
Alex Pierpaoli: McCullough too old to stand up to Larios. The Pocket Rocket hangs in there for a bit only to be stopped late.
Scott Mallon: Both Oscar Larios and Wayne McCullough are consummate professionals and always come to the dance well prepared. This always makes for a good fight and with McCullough looking for revenge and the title, it just keeps getting better. McCullough has never been one of my favorite fighters though and I haven't yet been able to pinpoint why. He's tough, he's a non-stop punching machine but if you examine his record, he seems to fall short in the big ones.
To be considered a great fighter, you need to find a way to win against other great fighters. McCullough has beaten some decent fighters; Jerome Coffee, Victor Rabanales and Johnny Bredahl but when he stepped up to the next level, he always comes up short. Granted, he's never been knocked out but Larios, Scott Harrison, Erik Morales, Nasem Hamed and Daniel Zaragosa did get the ‘W’ and this counts for alot. Fighters that know how to win the big ones usually do and fighters who lose the big ones usually do as well. McCullough will give it his all again and again, but he will fall short. This said, I stand to make a fair amount of dough on betting parlays with McCullough in them. As a 3-1 underdog, I couldn't pass it up. He does have a chance but I think he's going to have to dig really deep to pull off the upset. Larios via unanimous decision.
Jason Petock: I like ‘The Pocket Rocket’ over Larios. He's a determined, gritty fighter who always brings his A-game and just recently rejuvenated his career when many thought he was completely finished. Top that with one hell of a chin and you've got a winner here, at least in my humble opinion. I'm going with McCullough by KO. I'm not going to pick a round though.
Sean Newman: It's very likely that Wayne McCullough has seen his better days, but Larios is no Erik Morales or Scott Harrison. I think we'll see another action-packed, close fight, hopefully with both fighters healthy, with McCullough prevailing this time by split decision.
Benny Henderson Jr.: Wayne is a trooper, and prying the title from Larios will be just that, a war. I would certainly be happy if Wayne won, in fact I am rooting for my boy. But you would have to pry the title from Larios and I fear that Wayne doesn't have enough left in his tank to do so.
Julian Kasdin: Larios to top McCullough by decision.
Anthony Cocks: I’ve got to go with the younger, fresher fighter here. Larios by close but clear cut decision in an entertaining scrap.
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