Redemption Song; Jermain Taylor Quotes and Lead up to one of the years’ Biggest Fights - Boxing
By Phil Santos, (Feb 12, 2008) Doghouse Boxing (Photo © German Villasenor)  
The rematch that we’ve eagerly anticipated is finally here. This Saturday, February 16th, Jermain Taylor and Kelly Pavlik will do battle once again. For the first time since 2005 Jermain Taylor will make his way to the ring devoid of any World Championship Titles. As for Kelly Pavlik he now holds both the WBC and WBO Middleweight Titles, which he won from Taylor , however neither will be on the line in this bout. Fighting at a catch weight of 166 will make Taylor vs. Pavlik II the most anticipated non-title fight of 2008.

This will be the first time that Pavlik is involved in a rematch as a professional, while Taylor has experienced success in his only rematch beating Bernard Hopkins by Split Decision then Unanimous Decision.

Interestingly Taylor, who was criticized for facing softer, smaller opponents, has now been questioned about is decision to jump right back in with his lone conqueror. Why not take a tune-up fight, get back on the winning track and regain some confidence? Taylor answers his critics by stating –

JT: "A lot of people have said to me, why don't take a tune-up and get your confidence back. I don't need a tune-up to get my confidence back, I never lost my confidence. I can beat Kelly Pavlik."

Those who questioned Taylor ’s heart during his title reign may have had it wrong. A couple of his defenses came against questionable opposition, that can’t be denied, but one has to believe that is more due to his being matched too cautiously not because he feared another fighter. Now I’m going to sound like Joe Rogan. If fear was a factor then jumping back in with the man who brutally knocked him out probably wouldn’t be so high on Taylor ’s priority list. Fear is definitely not a factor for Jermain Taylor. So why does Taylor choose to take the rematch so soon?

JT: "I choose to do this rematch because I want to beat the guy who beat me. I don't want to waste anytime with any tune-up fights. That's what the fans want to see."

Their first fight was epic. Both men hit the canvas and the apparent outcome seemed to see-saw throughout the fight. What could Taylor have done differently? Did he expend too much energy early when he had Pavlik in trouble but failed to finish? It is difficult to say considering just how evenly these two match up. Taylor holds a slight edge in athleticism and speed, while Pavlik possesses better fundamentals and a small edge in power. Taylor appears to believe he missed a golden opportunity when he had Pavlik hurt. How will things unfold this time?

JT: "This time when I get him in trouble I will finish him off. He won't get back up. I have no excuses, I lost the fight and I give Kelly Pavlik all the credit."

Jermain Taylor seems more determined than ever. He has parted ways with Emanuel Steward and is back with Ozell Nelson. He appears focused and ready for what may well be the most difficult fight of his life. Obviously focus and determination can only carry you so far meaning that Taylor better have a plan. Within that plan he must have an answer for that double left jab followed by the heavy right hand. That is Pavlik’s bread and butter and everyone knows it yet still guys have a hard time avoiding it. Here are a couple more quotes from Taylor .

JT: "I'm coming to fight, I got my butt kick the last time in that ring and I'm a better fighter because of the lost. We had a great training camp and I'm in good shape. I'm at the top of my game and I know I will come away with the victory."

JT: "I took Kelly Pavlik for granted, I underestimated him and I learned something from the loss. I'm not taking anything away from him, but I'm coming to get back everything he took from me. I'm very focus for this fight, everything is on the line with me for this fight."

Quotes courtesy of Jermain Taylor Los Angeles Press Conference.

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